And so it proves. Yes, an HSI is quite an improvement on using a separate OBS and HI (and a lot more intuitive, if you ask me), and if it takes you more than a few seconds to "get" it and how to use it IFR or with the autopilot, well, I guess there are web sites, books, or DVDs out there dedicated to explaining it all. I particularly like the slaved compass card -- but I still keep checking the HSI against the whisk(e)y compass every few minutes anyway. Ah, this is the way to fly...
The flight's predictably uneventful, and it doesn't take much time to adapt to 0SP's quirks, but after the flight I feel irritated and a little depressed by the evening. No, I didn't bust any altitudes or headings, and had no problems with the basics or the approaches, but I kept making little errors -- like tuning the wrong frequency, hitting "direct" on the wrong waypoint, or blowing a radio call -- that might cascade into something serious with stress under hard IMC, and I'm a little depressed that after all this time I still make errors like this. I guess I still don't fly enough to get things right as a habit or ingrained process rather than a continuous mental effort.
* * *
At one point on the localiser back into Hayward NorCal vectors a Southwest 737 for the visual into Oakland close in front of me and at my altitude, then calls traffic for me on it. It's a beautiful sight, all flashing lights and slow graceful movement, but I'm worried about wake turbulence. I stay high until past where I judge it's safe to descend, then drop like a rock back to my desired segment altitude. It's not really clear what I would have done if I'd been lower than the 737 at that point (I was higher because I'd been cleared very late for the approach by a grumpy NorCal controller who clearly lost me in the shuffle and vectored me towards the LOC/DME FAF 1,500 feet above the FAF crossing altitude, and who got irritated when I subtly reminded him he hadn't cleared me for the approach even though I was rapidly approaching the FAF...).