IFR Flight to Granada

IFR means Instrument Flight Rules.  The flying done is slightly different in that you need to ask ATC permission to do everything and need to stick to certain routes rather than flying where you feel like it.

The weather was quite foggy and a low band of cloud, originally we were going to be flying VFR to Granada then IFR back, but the weather wasn’t looking good and I had to be back at Jerez by 15:00 to catch the 17:30 flight via Madrid back home as I was going home for the in-laws celebration.

So after checking the aircraft in the dark at 7am, we finally got away at 10am and climbed out straight ahead to 5000ft before turning on a 17nm DME Arc (a gradual turn at 17nm radius from the beacon) to head towards Cordoba.  As we climbed through 2500ft we went straight into big fluffy clouds and again it felt quite real watching the clouds come at the aircraft at 130mph.  As we climbed through 5000ft and onwards to FL95 (~9500ft) the clouds parted and we were in a void with cloud below us and cloud above us at about 12,000ft.  It felt really odd because there wasn’t much to see below and the fog made visibility very poor anyway looking out to the horizon, the only thing that made it obvious we were over ground was the 5500ft mountains of Sierra Grazalema poking out of the cloud like little mole hills.

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On reaching Cordoba we made a right turn to intercept the beacon at Granada and were handed over to Malaga approach.  Malaga is quite a busy airport and suddenly we were in amongst traffic callsigns such as Lufthansa and Speedbird (BA).  About 40miles out from Granada we started to descend towards the airport, the cloud was no where near as thick and we decided to request a visual approach provided we had enough visibility.  As we descended through 6000ft it became obvious that we did have enough visibility and so I put a request in to cancel the IFR flight and do a visual approach, this would help me for my QCC (Qualifying Cross Country) next week as it would be a new approach for me.

Granada is quite a strange airport, its runway sits at 1950ft elevation (compared to Jerez at 70ft), and the visual entry point to the Terminal Area is a town that is on a hillside that sits at 4500ft.  Additionally the airport did not have any PAPI’s active so the whole landing exercise was basically done on what my eyes were telling me looked “about right” and cross-referencing it with the altimeter and taking away the elevation of the airport to give me my height above the ground.  It was still a bit of a hazy day, but I got a good glimpse of Granada and the Alhambra as I turned right onto final, then I just had to make sure I missed the tall trees at the end of the runway and not land on the displaced threshold (something I didn’t know about until I saw it).

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Apologies for the picture formatting, I am having a lot of trouble with the network speed and my Live Skydrive connection at the moment.

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~ by globalste on September 23, 2011.

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