Getting Back to IFR After 13 Years...

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Mr.T, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. Mr.T

    Mr.T Pre-Flight

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    New guy here, but I've been around aviation quite a while. Earned my PP/ASEL in 2001, Instrument in 2003. Flew actively until 2005 when "life" got in the way. I've got about 370 hours total time and logged about 18 hours IMC and 50 hours simulated instrument between 2003-2005. Joined a local flying club a few months ago, now that the chicks have all left the nest. So far I've done a few VFR XC flights and some time in the pattern, to the tune of about 20 hours. I'll primarily be flying a C182 from this point.

    Feel like I've got the rust shaken off pretty well for VFR flight and now I'm starting to get anxious to get my instrument skills back up to snuff. My primary mission at this point is the occasional visit to my daughter who's going to college in Dallas - about 400 miles from home in KC. I'm comfortable flying VFR for now and driving when the weather doesn't cooperate, but recent cloudy days have reminded me that I'd be stuck on the ground if I was VFR, while being instrument current would let me get through a 1000 ft layer and on my way.

    But then I pulled out some approach plates and an IFR enroute chart recently and realized I don't remember 95% of what I'm sure I used to know...

    So I'm debating whether to use one of the online IFR prep courses (Sporty's, King, etc.) or just get with a local CFII and figure out what I don't remember as we go. I'd definitely like to hear from anyone who's been in a similar situation and would appreciate recommendations on a good way to proceed. The Sporty's course seems complete though a bit pricey; King offers a "getting back to IFR" package that is a trimmed-down version of their full IFR package. Anyone with experience using either package care to comment?
     
  2. Mr.T

    Mr.T Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the suggestion - not sure why that never crossed my mind; I'll download everything to my iPad and spend some time refreshing my memory... ;-)
     
  3. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson En-Route

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    An exercise I’d suggest is taking an enroute chart and interpreting every item on it. Then do the same with several plates. Anything you can’t interpret requires a lookup. VFR pilots can benefit from the same exercise on a Sectional.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  4. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Welcome. I came back after about 25 years or so. I didn’t do any of the formal courses so can’t give you any advice there. I’d make sure though if you pick one make sure it’s one that is kept up to date. There have been a lot of changes in charting in recent years. A lot of it with how they are named and how notes are formatted. Not all format changes get charted immediately. Some don’t get updated until the regularly scheduled reviews that are done about every 5-10 years. Be sure to look at the Amdt dates on charts if it doesn’t seem to make sense why they do it this way on one and the other way on another.
    Have fun
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2018
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  5. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Over a decade out, you’re going to want to spend some time with a CFII
     
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  6. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Do some reading to refresh and also to see what’s new,then go out with a cfii.
     
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  7. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yeah. I’d want to find one whose experience goes back at least as far as when he last flew
     
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  8. tawood

    tawood Pattern Altitude

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    Sporty's has an IPC course, and King actually has a "Return to IFR" course...I have no experience with either course, although I did use the Sporty IFR written course and liked it.
     
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  9. Tspin

    Tspin Pre-Flight

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    I’m in the process of get back my IFR currency as well. PPL in ‘89...INstrument in ‘90...comm SEL AND MEL, CFI, and CFII followed. Stopped flying around 2005, got back into it a couple years ago because of my wife. Back proficient in VFR flight, bought a plane, now starting g to work on IFR renewal. Not decided yet if I’m going to do one of the online IFR training courses or rely on the studying I’ve been doing of the FAA handbooks.

    I do know that I’m not going to accept the minimum to be signed off for an IPC. I plan on several hours with an instructor to get back to where I feel comfortable.

    One reference point for me is I have a total of 2 GPS approaches under my belt. Both were in VMC when we bought our plane. New animal for me.
     
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  10. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have a ten year hole in my log book. I also took my first instrument ground school and passed the exam around 1984. I got my rating in 2006 or os (after two more writtens that I let lapse).

    Walboy's list of FAA docs are good. I used the Gleim "drill and kill" stuff. I think they (still) have the best stuff out there for getting through the written.

    Once you've got the written under your belt, Peter Dogan's book is the best I've seen on actually flying instruments to get you to the checkride. This is the basis of the PIC ten day course as well (which I highly recommend).
     
  11. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Welcome! CFII here, and Walboy nailed it. You won't know your weak areas until you fly with either a safety pilot or instructor. A CFII can set up a recurrent program for you that will count as your IPC. Good luck, keep us posted on how it goes
     
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  12. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Agree, excellent text. I have a couple editions. I used it the most when I first got my instrument rating.
     
  13. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I've got an idea of some of the advantages/disadvantages of the PIC course for initial certification...do you think there are additional advantages/disadvantages to using them for this type of situation?
     
  14. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, I'd been not getting around to getting more than a lesson or two strung together in the row. Sitting down with the PIC guy made me work at getting it done.
    The good advantage versus being spaced out is you don't tend to forget things between lessons and have to spend a lot of time repeating things you should already know. Of course, after the course is over, you need to keep up that practice (but you would anyhow, really).

    It's intense and probably not for everyone. It worked well for me. In fact, the instructor asked if I was having any problems with the pacing. I said "No, why?" He said I was the first student he had that he thought he was holding back. I pointed out that I had been studying instrument flight for decades, now I just needed to get in the plane and do it. I got it done in 8 days (Yes, PIC gives a refund on the days you don't use).
     
  15. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Same here. GPS hadn’t even been invented yet when I last flew before returning. The CFII said let’s just do the IPC without it and then work on GPS later. I said no, let’s get it all done before the endorsement
     
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  16. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

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    I took IFR ground school in 1991 but never got the rating. I just went through Sporty's online course which I thought did a great job. The only down side is it only prepares you for the written test. In your case, you need a refresher because you don't need to pass the test. I've never used any of the "refresher" courses but they might be better in your case. Remember, sporty's let's you practice the tests without a subscription. Maybe go through that a few times and see what comes back???
     
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  17. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I was in a similar boat. I started my instrument in 2001, but quit flying for years, followed by off and on VFR flying until I finally got serious again about 4 years ago. I still had a lot of the basics for instrument flying, but had to learn the touchscreen whiz bang stuff. Almost felt like I was cheating, and I felt guilty stealing glances at the moving map and magenta line. Its a far cry from VORs, airways, and NDB approaches!
     
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  18. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

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    Godspeed Mr T.
     
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  19. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    +1 for Peter Dogan's Instrument Flight Training Manual. The FAA Instrument Procedures manual is a free download, and also a good reference and read as well. A CFII (if you can find one--they can be as rare as hen's teeth in some areas) can identify areas for refreshment and additional training, and get you to the point you can complete an IPC.

    The books are good for getting up to speed on procedures and regulatory requirements. A CFII is a better way to re-acquaint yourself about instrument flying technique. (I found the FAA description of instrument flying quite turgid and over-complicated. My instructor made it relatively easy to digest and to perform.)
     
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  20. old cfi

    old cfi Pre-takeoff checklist Gone West

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    Got most of these guys beat -- quite flying in '91 and didn't return to last year. With over 6,000 hrs and ATP CFI, CFII, MEI still spent many hours refreshing the mind with books, plates and enroute charts. Obviously anything with GPS involved was a whole new learning curve. Did a lot of chair flying with approach plates and enroute charts. I always pushed chair flying with my students and I think you will benefit greatly.
    I set up my IPC using an instructor that could relate to "the old days" and had the first flight on an approved simulator. Then we moved to the plane for about an hour or two to finish up. I truly believe the chair flying was the most beneficial time spent and also the Garmin GPS training video I spent time with so I was familiar with it's operation. You can do a ton of prep work on the ground and when you do fly with the II like others have said any shortcomings will come out.

    I'll cast a NO vote for the Sportys instrument. My son has it and I was not impressed. Quite out of date. Their Primary program is much better than the Instrument. JMHO.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
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  21. BrianNC

    BrianNC En-Route

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    I got my instrument in '02 and never really used it because I didn't fly much and then quit flying all together for the past 11 years. That's my next step after I take my commercial check ride next week. Get instrument proficient.
     
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  22. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    35 year sabbatical from flying. Got my 3rd class medical up to date and then my PPL and Inatrument rating up to date. That was 1-1/2 years ago. Bought me a plane and have had a blast.

    What others said - it all came back VERY quickly. In fact, back when I quit there was no GPS. I could actually not believe how easy it was to fly, navigate, and flight plan compared to when I quit back in the 1980's!

    Move forward with your plan. It will be much easier than you expect.
     
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  23. Rooster T

    Rooster T Pre-Flight

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    Seems to be quite a little club of us here in this thread. I'm trying to put together my training regimen now also (after 20+ years dormant). Doing similar as recommended by everyone here. Starting on a lot of book study and soon need to choose a CFII. I'm a bit torn on the II choice. Go with a brand new one at my local FBO, or one of the part-time/retired independents who have a lot more experience?
     
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  24. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I went with a 60 year old retired Air Force vet - best decision for me. I was 54 and really did not want to deal with a 22 year old CFI. Now when I was 17 years old getting my PPL, my CFI was a 20 year old college student and that went very well. Depends on which side of the river you are on!
     
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  25. Rooster T

    Rooster T Pre-Flight

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    Oh I'm on the 50-something side of the river for sure. The dilemma is a bit more complicated as the new CFII was trained by the guy I'd choose for a CFII myself. And new CFI is mid-thirties, quite mature, and is doing a career change before it's too late (she's my CFI right now for my flight review). So part of me wants to support her to reach her goals (it's no dream of mine to be a regional/major pilot). And she has direct and recent (and favorable) experience with our local DE.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  26. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    When I was doing an IPC after more than 25 years off from flying I used 4 different CFI's. There was one that I did most of it with, an older very experienced one. But I spent some time with younger, raised in the GPS era ones. My main one had no problem with that and welcomed a couple tips I brought to him after flying with the kids.
     
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  27. Mr.T

    Mr.T Pre-Flight

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    A data point, FWIW...

    I spoke with a gentleman at PIC (Professional Instrument Courses, www.iflyifr.com) today and they offer a "Rusty IFR Refresher" course for folks like me who have a rating but have been out of flying for a while. Essentially, it's the same course material as their full IFR course, but is conducted at your own pace and is usually completed in 5 (or occasionally 6) days. 8 hours per day with the instructor, typically including 2-3 hours per day of flight time and lots of sim time. They're not giving it away, however; the cost is $630/day plus hotel and travel expenses for the CFII, and of course flight time in your plane is your own expense.

    Not sure whether I would go this route or not, but it's good information to have. It appeals to me as a way to to just get it all done at once rather than what I expect will be several weeks of hit-or-miss flying with a local CFII.
     
  28. Rooster T

    Rooster T Pre-Flight

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    Yes that is appealing but probably not for me due to travel, etc. I'm hoping to set up something similar locally, i.e., get a CFII to commit a block of time for me to do much of the flying. I'm thinking I'd do this after a lot of catch-up studying, and also seriously considering building a new PC that will drive X-Plane well so I can practice a lot with that. From what people say, a good XP setup plays well with ForeFlight for a decent procedural home sim. I figure $1K or so for a home sim that I can practice on any time will likely pay for itself in the long run compared to flight time. Plus maybe it'll help me get through another dreary NW winter :cool:
     
  29. PlasticCigar

    PlasticCigar Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I took about 15 years off. I used the Sporty’s online instrument course which was just ok, but what I really found the most helpful was to use a home flight simulator (I used Wing-X) and practice each flight before I actually did it. The plane I used had a Garmin 530 in it (my last plane had a LORAN-C) but the Wing-X has a lot of the new avionics in It. I actually thought that learning how to fly a glass panel with new avionics was the most challenging part of getting back into instrument flying. Garmin also has a GTN 750/650 iPad app which is helpful as well.
     
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  30. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I did my primary instrument course with PIC so if you can take the rigor, I would say it is a very good way. It certainly is likely to be more comprehensive than a bunch of "lets go fly some approaches" with Joe CFII.

    I'd definitely do a lot of bookwork in advance. Read through the AIM, the Instrument Flying Handbook, and the Instrument Proceedures Handbook. Understand any avionics you have in your plane cold.
     
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