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oil to provide lubrication. Once that period of wincing and grimacing had passed I released the brakes and taxied out, making sure I kept the nose wheel exactly on the yellow line.
Upon arriving at the run-up area, it appeared I was not the only one out trying to restore confidence as there were three single-engine piston air- planes in front of me, slowly working their way through checklists. Finally, it was my turn to taxi into position and hold on the runway while waiting for traffic that had just landed to clear. As I waited, my question of confidence again presented itself. So, just to make sure all was right, I pushed up the engines to about 70 percent power. I checked the oil pressure, tempera- ture and fuel flow at least two times, plus dropped my right hand down to the fuel supply valves at least twice (already done before start-up) just to make sure they were on the proper tanks – all the while thinking to my- self, this is not something I would normally do.
The takeoff went smoothly enough, although I noticed it took me much lon- ger than usual to advance the throttles to full power. Maybe this was because I kept glancing at the engine gauges to make sure everything over there was okay before we arrived at anything close to Vr or rotation speed. Once air- borne, I got the gear and flaps up right away, just as the memory checklist items require, but decided to stay in the pattern to make at least one land- ing just to make sure I could still do it halfway safely. And, to my surprise, the approach and landing went amaz- ingly well. Right in the touchdown zone, with the nose wheel on the white line and the main gear just squeaking as they gently arrived at the pavement. I almost regretted not having any pas- sengers on board, such a nice landing would surely have impressed.
Having convinced myself I could still land the thing, I departed the pat- tern and deliberately, on short notice, assigned myself the task of setting up the instrument panel up for one of the local instrument approaches. In a Garmin-equipped airplane this takes quite a few keystrokes that must be done in a sequence, the order of
which is relatively easy to forget. For a few moments I found my fingers on the buttons saying out loud to myself, “Now, let me see, just how did I do this?” But, after just a couple missteps, I managed to program the approach I wanted and select “direct” to the initial approach point (IAP). Then, I turned on the autopilot, activated NAV and ALT, and let the airplane take care of itself while I talked to the controller.
The frequency was strangely qui- et, so just to make sure someone was there, I opened up the conversation with the controller with my N-number, a pleasant “good morning,” and a ques- tion as to whether he could handle a pop-up. Probably bored stiff down there with the lack of traffic, he im- mediately agreed, identified where I was and gave me an IFR transponder code. All of which I acknowledged in what I hoped was my usual confident manner. The approach required a hold- ing pattern, which I purposely wanted to do anyway because IFR currency requires it. I realized it would be a par- allel entry, but I was happy to see the
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January 2021 / TWIN & TURBINE • 19

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