Yesterday i was psyched to get in touch with Brigitte, a CFI i had flown with before who had a cancellation and had caught wind that i was looking for some actual IMC.
the first thing i noticed was the lack of VFR traffic on the radio and around the airport. it was just us and a whole lot of corporate jets who i imagine were being rerouted from nearby logan int'l. the weather itself was between 600-1000 AGL throughout the region, isolated rain showers and calm winds. I filed to go from BED to BED with LWM and BVY as the route. i copied our clearance, taxied out, did the run up, set the radios and we departed 11 starting our turn at 500AGL to 050. just after liftoff Brigitte said, 'no looking out, don't worry about the outside, you're on instruments now'. it was tough not to look outside at around 1200 as i noticed some clouds now beneath us, yet the ground was still there. then at 1600 or so, just like that, we were in the proverbial bowl of milk. Brigitte took the plane for a few seconds so i could look around and see just what it's like to have no reference to the ground. awesome.
after that, it was pretty much like a very relaxed lesson. we shot the ILS5 into KLWM, breaking out around 1000 which was pretty anti-climactic as it was a normal VFR approach. we broke off early, going missed, then held at the lawrence VOR for a few turns. my 5 T's were consistently lacking on the 2nd T; time. i kept forgetting to start the timer! part of that was due to the dual garmin 530s displaying a nice purple racetrack to fly around.
we were then vectored for the localizer 16 at beverly (KBVY) after ATC blew us through the final approach course, they turned us around and we set up from the other side. the ATIS was reporting 600 broken and something few below that. the MDA for the localizer is 580'MSL. this was going to be fun. Brigitte said, 'let's do a touch and go on this one, if we don't have to go missed for real.' this was going to be lots of fun. 780 winds by on the altimeter - '200 to go' i say. 'continue' says Brigitte. just at 600 feet I call the PAPI (part of the runway lighting) in sight. glancing at my approach plate (should have done this before the final approach fix!), i see the runway should be on the right side of the lights. i'm starting to make out the runway and we continued in for a touch and go - touching down near the threshold to allow as much usable runway as i could. after leaving Beverly, we went missed as published, held at WITCH for about 4 turns and then headed back to Bedford.
On the way, between layers I managed to snap this (the G1 is a great phone, but not when it comes to taking pictures...)
The ILS11 at KBED was pretty uneventful, although we were at max forward speed for a bit (Brigitte's call) as the parade of business jets was still going on. we broke out at about 450' above the decision altitude and landed. on the roll out i learned something about not using the brakes on a wet runway too...something i'd never had to deal with.
Two more flights in this weekend's crap weather lined up!