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I try to fly our airplane at least once every two weeks because just as its not good for a plane to just sit in a hangar, its also not good when a pilot doesnt practice their skills. Sometimes, even on clear days, I will fly instrument approaches at a nearby Class C airport. I do this for several reasons: to verify that all of the navigational instruments work properly, to practice working with ATC and if things dont work, I am in VFR conditions and am at very little risk.
Full disclosure: I suck at holds. I can find the fix and figure out the recommended entry method without too much trouble. And I usually turn the correct direction upon crossing the holding fix. Usually. After that, things start to become loosely held, and it might take me a couple of laps to nail the wind correction angles. Throw in a descent while in the hold and my cockpit gets busy. I guess thats why the FAA a few years ago added holding patterns to the maneuvers required to accomplish an instrument proficiency check. Its all my fault.
Like it or not, winter weather is upon us here in North America. After a few brief weeks of not as much thunderstorm activity, were headed squarely into a a couple of months featuring widespread near-freezing temperatures and precipitation. From storing our airplane, to preflighting it, picking a route and ensuring our destination doesnt have any slippery surprises, winter weather will have an impact on our operations, likely even if we stay in the pattern at a Southern California airport.
After overflying the destination runway, the crew made a steeper-than-normal approach to the 3880-foot-long runway due to terrain. According to the captain, a bump was felt near the threshold during the landing but it was not extreme. As the propellers were reversed, the airplane veered to the right. The crew corrected and the airplane tracked straight for about 2000 feet before veering sharply right, exiting the runway and spinning 180 degrees. Inspection of the runway threshold revealed several four-foot-tall piles of rocks and dirt.