June 15, 2011

Instrument Flight Rules Flight Spurs Interest in Instrument Rating

IFR_Flight.jpg
Flying by visual flight references (VFR) into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) often results in an accident and sadly these preventable accidents usually result in the loss of life. The 2010 Nall Report states that 62% of weather related accidents were fatal and that 86% of VFR into IMC accidents were fatal. As a Private Pilot with just a handful of simulated instrument hours more than required to earn my private pilots license, I spend most of my flight time trying to avoid clouds and poor weather conditions.

IFR_Chart.jpgSo when an opportunity to fly through the clouds on an instrument flight plan with an instrument rated pilot presents itself I jump on it. This past weekend my flight club, Leading Edge Flying Club, had planned a trip to Oshkosh. On the morning of the weather was not looking so promising with conditions below the personal minimums of even our instrument rated pilots. However, a few hours later the weather improved enough for us to fly on an instrument flight plan. As we lost a few hours we decided to go to Madison, WI instead of Oshkosh, WI.

On the outbound leg I flew in the back seat and enjoyed watching the pilot, Marc Epner and right seat pilot Al Carrino work the flight plan, radios and prepare for a flight into IMC. Less than a minute after starting our takeoff role we were in the clouds. I expected an uncomfortable feeling or some disorientation going into the clouds, but luckily it felt quite normal, in fact it was beautiful. Even more amazing was climbing through the first layer of clouds and popping on top of the foaming clouds.

I enjoyed watching the procedures for loading the approach into the Avidyne flight system and watching Marc fly the approach. A few miles out we sank below the clouds perfectly aligned for our landing at Madison.

On the return flight I switched with Al and took over the right seat and helped with the radios including copying down my first IFR flightplan read-back. I thought maybe sitting up front I might experience some disorientation but again felt quite alright in the clouds. Much of the time we were free of the clouds and I logged some time flying an Cirrus SR 22 for the first time. I loved the plane except for its extremely sensitive trim which I think might take a few hours to master.

I have been excited for a while about the endeavor of seeking the Instrument Rating, and this flight only stoked my interest. As a result I have registered for the Sporty's Online Instrument Rating Course and am working on a plan to earn the Instrument Rating. I look forward to sharing my progress.

Posted by at June 15, 2011 6:11 AM
Comments

Watching two seasoned pilots fly IMC sounds awesome! I can see why it got you excited about an Instrument Rating, it would do the same for me. Heck, just reading about it got me excited to look into Instrument training myself.

How was it in the right seat during IMC?

Posted by: James at June 18, 2011 2:24 AM | Reply

The instrument rating is worth the work involved. I know everyone says it makes you a better pilot and safer, that's all true. Your flying will become more precise and the ability to use your plane for travel increases.

I am not into flying in the soup for hours on end or flirting with potential ice situations but to get in and out of airports and above the layer is perfect. Riding in the sunshine above the clouds sure beats getting beat up under the layer...we've all been there!

Looking forward to following your progress!!

Posted by: Gary at June 20, 2011 9:33 AM | Reply

This is more or less how I got started as well. Even after all the hard work and money, I can tell you with total confidence that the IFR rating is by far worth every cent. It is also very tough at first and than at some point it becomes easy... My advice, don't over complicate it. I even used fltplan.com for my check ride. This is fine with most DEs but make sure you know how to plan the old-fashioned way.

A few bits of advice:
Holding patterns
1.Ask yourself. Where am I in relation to the holding fix?
2. After I pass the fix will I be inside the hold, with the hold, or outside the hold?
Outside = Parallel
Inside = Teardrop
With = Direct
Check out the video on Mzeroa.com for some other tips.

Fly the simulator (at the flight school and at home)
I used IP trainer. It’s a simple flight simulator that really helps with your scan. It also came with a great book from asa on instrument flying.

Posted by: Mike Bennett at June 22, 2011 1:36 PM | Reply

I very much enjoyed reading about your experiences in earning your PPL when I was considering starting to fly myself, and have continued to enjoy your blog. I'm now a private pilot myself and am also working on my instrument rating. I look forward to reading about your experiences, keep up the great writing.

Posted by: Brian Rice at July 3, 2011 6:30 PM | Reply

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Posted by: Mark at July 19, 2011 6:36 AM | Reply

Hey Todd, I know your feeling. The entire time I was training for my privates I always said "I do this for the view, why would I want to fly IFR" Well now that I have the option to take off when I want I don't want a few low clouds to stop me. The biggest reason however is I have now also seen how fast the clouds can move in on you. I don't want to be one of those 86% if you know what I mean.
Tommy
www.PrivatePilotInsider.com

Posted by: Tommy Eldridge at July 23, 2011 7:20 PM | Reply

What are the minimum requirements to go for my instrument rating? I have 50 total hours so far with 1.5 hours of hood time.

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