IFR rating

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Billnye, May 16, 2016.

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  1. Billnye

    Billnye Filing Flight Plan

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    Hi all,
    I am almost finished with my PPL and wanted to hear from all of you how long/hard getting your IFR rating was.

    I don't want to jump right into it but I would like to work towards it in the near future. Any advice on how much VFR time should be accumulated before taking the step into IFR? Any advice overall?
     
  2. hotprops

    hotprops Line Up and Wait

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    imho if you dont do 100 hours dual when you cant see the wingtips you should fly with a mentor or sic .get your rating whenever, but see beginning of post .it all changes in the clag!!
     
  3. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    50 hours cross country is required for part 61. While some people try to combine it with instrument time, IMO it's a false economy and you'll be a better pilot if you fly lots of varied places VFR for those hours.
     
  4. PilotProficient

    PilotProficient Filing Flight Plan

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    I would recommend the same as above; build some time, experience some new airports, routes, and weather, and become very proficient with the airplane you plan to use for the instrument rating, if possible. You don't necessarily have to complete the whole 50 hours before beginning the IFR, but it's smart to get a leg up on it, and you'll go in better prepared. Some students have done this concurrently also, i.e. fly solo or PIC VFR cross-country flights between IFR lessons.
     
  5. mulligan

    mulligan Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm in the go for it camp. While I respect the opinions of the more experienced, it worked much better for me to have an experienced pilot with me building that XC time. I only have 115 hours under my wing and 90 of that is dual received. Knocked out my 50xc and 40sim and now we are just working locally and quickly together to fine tune before the big ride. The advantage for me was that doing it all together quickly continued to build on what I am learning as I tend to get rusty. Not allowing any time to form bad habits. What is also working well is I am working with 3 different instructors in rotation at my flight school. Each one show me new things and have different perspectives that are all great data points. Basically, what works best for you and your learning style is going to be best for you. An example is accelerate vs traditional. For some people accelerated is a great program but others it is a disservice.


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  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you are comfortable with all forms of cross country navigation (more than GPS direct) and are comfortable operating your aircraft through several regimes of flight, then you are ready to start instrument training.
     
  7. write-stuff

    write-stuff En-Route

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    Generally speaking, I suggest to people that they get in 100+ hours of post-checkride flying before moving on to instruments. But there are the rare pilots who really are ready much earlier.

    Before you start, do two things. First, get extremely comfortable using flight following on cross-country flights. Know how the system works. Second, watch the video.

     
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  8. Cajun_Flyer

    Cajun_Flyer Pattern Altitude

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    I'm glad someone asked this. I'd like to move along into instrument rating once I'm done with my PPC, but wasn't sure how many hours are really appropriate to log before moving forward.

    According to the FAR Bible, the 50 hours has to be solo xc, not dual. Yet it sounds like you are able to log it as PIC time even with an instructor with you?
     
  9. mulligan

    mulligan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Any time you are flying a single engine airplane as the sole manipulator, you may log PIC. Any time you are receiving instruction, your instructor is required to log it as instruction in your logbook. So you can log both. Even the long cross country hours in PPL training count. I believe there was a ruling of this and a change in October of 2009 but there is not an examiner in our area that disagrees that PIC XC hours and Dual Received hours cannot be done in the same flight.
     
  10. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    IMO while that's true about logging PIC as sole manipulator, I think a pilot does a disservice not doing XCs solo. Nothing beats the experience of doing it all by yourself. If you screw something up, so what. Majority of the time you won't do that again. But I reckon I'm old school. Not knocking carrying along a CFI and logging PIC, I just feel solo XCs are great confidence builders where one has to figure things out yourself, mistakes allowed.
     
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  11. RotorDude

    RotorDude Pattern Altitude

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    This. I pretty much jumped right into instrument training after my PPL, and haven't looked back since. You'll pick up cross country tips and the like while getting your IR, so no need to delay.
    I see it like high school and college, all parts of your basic education, no gap needed.

    Just be sure to get as much actual IMC time as possible. Shop around for someone who will give you the most IMC time as part of the course. I did much of my IR training that way, as well as the checkride.
     
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  12. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

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    Took me about 4-5 months. Flew about 2-3 times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less.

    Rather than rent, I bought my own plane, equipped it with a GPS and did my rating and all my XC time in that. Sold it after I got the rating (4 months after actually).

    If you can find a plane with autopilot, do it. Some people on here will say "Well I hand-fly all my approaches after hand-flying 4 hours in hard IMC...blah blah"...You will find that after your first few approaches as a newbie instrument trainee, you are exhausted mentally. And try hand-flying 4 hours in hard IMC and then shooting an approach, that also can be tiring.

    It gets better, but ANY kind of automation helps. You think pilots flying Airbus' and 777's are hand-flying all the time? Nope. Also automation management is built into the PTS so..even the FAA wants you using it or at least demonstrating you know how to use it.

    When I started my instrument training I had about 100-150 hours of flight time. I took time off after my PPL and had fun, then got back into it.

    In addition to everything everyone has already said, don't let your instructor talk you into approaches on day 1. I had one of those, and I found another. Get under the hood and practice basic timed turns, compass turns, Bravo patterns, constant speed climbs, descents, turns, etc. Get all that nailed and approaches will be a breeze.

    When you aren't flying under the hood and you are working on your XC requirements, plan a flight using airways and VOR navigation. Get used to going somewhere without using the GPS, but use that too.

    Good luck, it's definitely a VERY rewarding rating to have and gives you MANY options. The downside is that your go/no-go decision will be a lot harder to make :).
     
  13. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Work on cross countries and holding your heading, altitude and course to higher standards.
     
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  14. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Think I had about 150hrs before I started on my instrument.

    Work on becoming a good VFR cross country pilot, like 300+nm flights, lots of flight following, I think it would help a lot.
     
  15. wayne

    wayne Pattern Altitude

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    I had planned to wait on getting my IR, but having to cancel a day trip with the family 2 or 3 times with very benign IMC and I started it. On that second or third time I walked back into the office and asked a CFII if he had time that afternoon. Booked it with him, brought my family home and came back after lunch.

    If you want to travel on some resemblance of a schedule the IR is a necessity for many places in the US. Now we go pretty much as long as there isn't thunderstorms or ice stopping us. Once you get the IR stay current and proficient. I do "practice" approaches in IMC as much as I can. I don't just do them with a safety pilot. I also mix them up with hand flying and autopilot.

    Get some XC flights in though. It's good to get some practice flying and dealing with all the details once you arrive; parking, fueling, ground transportation, etc. Too often I see no training on that in the PPL or IR. It's important. And the IR is for traveling.
     
  16. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    I agree with the general spirit here that you should go fly VFR XCs and hamburger hops and enjoy the flying. You will accrue some extra experience before jumping into IR training.
    If you want a good excuse to fly, may I suggest PnP? (PilotsNPaws.org) You get to help a good cause, you can write off the cost of the flight AND the best reward you get is lots of doggie kisses. :)
     
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  17. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Pre private, dual may not be logged as PIC. After you get your private, you may log PIC time when you are receiving dual instruction provided you are the sole manipulator. Find an EdFred post and click the link in his footer.
     
  18. farmerbrake

    farmerbrake Line Up and Wait

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    After my ppl, I had a busy year that only let me fly somewhere around 30 hours. Most of that was xc. Then I bought partnership in an arrow. We did my transition training, and jumped right into insturment training. I think I had about 90 hours total, 35 xc. In between some of my instrument lessons I did a few more xc. Ended up getting my last few xc hours the week before my checkride (MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR MATH RIGHT IN YOUR LOG BOOK!!!).
    My suggestion would be to get at least 30 of your xc hours done yourself, then look into instrument training. After you fly with an instructor for a while, grab a safety pilot to split the time/cost and finish the rest of your xc requirements. Then jump back in with an instructor and finish it all up.
    Took me about 5 months start to finish.
     
  19. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    +1 on using PnP as a means to gain the cross country experience. Doing these flights provides the reason to go beyond your home territory and hone many of the skills that are part and parcel with IFR flying: Flight planning, weather knowledge, being on Flight Following and talking to ATC, navigation, safely arriving and landing at unfamiliar airports, and more.

    Like James and some others, I had about 175-200 hours in the logbook with over 75 of those being PnP missions before I got busy with the IFR training. I was just enjoying the the privilege of flying.
     
  20. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did quite a lot of CAP flying before I started instrument training. That really helped the precision.
     
  21. stratobee

    stratobee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ain't gonna lie to you, it's a tough rating. Probably the toughest of them all. But it's also very rewarding and very, very useful. But yeah, get a little flying in and most importantly, some enjoyment out of your flying before you launch into it. IFR training is all procedure, all heads down in foggles all the time. No time to catch your breath when it's ongoing. Stuff will be coming hard and fast.
     
  22. mulligan

    mulligan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Why do you say this is one of toughest ratings? I have found it to be fun and much easier than my PPL. I'm in the check ride prep phase so maybe your referring to the check ride but I feel I will be much more prepared for that than the PPL as I know what to expect. Just curious
     
  23. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    I'm sure I'm the wrong one to ask on this, but I'll let loose anyway:

    I started IR immediately after PPL (2007) ... and then I started getting all kinds of "obstructions" with the rentals immediately after PPL (failure, getting bumped for other checkrides, etc.) ... just non-stop. I got fed-up, stopped training and went into purchase mode. I live in an area where there really isn't any IFR flying (like one day per year *IF* you sync up with that day).

    Currently at 625+ hours with 90 at night. All of the IR time requirements are met and just need the written and IR XC completed. Have wanted to complete it several times, but work gets in the way constantly (I own my own business). Nearly all my flying is cross country (long XC). I've had small 1-2 hour delays for fog in California with my longest being a 5 hour delay leaving San Antonio.

    In my situation it'd save me a little ground time on trips and avoid crossing the desert mid afternoon in the summer on the California trips (turbulence). When I get free time, I'm looking for a way out of town and IR completion takes a back seat still. Hopefully can get it completed this year.
     
  24. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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    In my case, PPL training was FUN. "Look at what I'm doing! I can't believe anyone is letting me fly this thing by myself, I don't even have a 'license' yet." I also really enjoyed the instrument training, but it's because I'm kind of a geek. I'd spend hours practicing copying down clearances from LiveATC, working out holding pattern entries (which, initially, actually gave me quite a bit of trouble) and just generally studying approach plates and figuring out how I'd fly them, what to do if I went NORDO, etc. It certainly felt like there was more knowledge required for the IR and most of it was stuff you'd need kind of quickly when in "instrument conditions" (maybe just foggles, but...). Learning all of that stuff *and* keeping it at the top of my head while I was still trying to not get too far behind the airplane made things seem much harder for the instrument rating than for the PPL. Which is why I'd say it's the hardest rating of the 3 I've done so far.
     
  25. mjburian

    mjburian Cleared for Takeoff

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    Maybe you should head somewhere for a finish up course? If you have all of the knowledge and time (other than the IR XC), I'm guessing you could finish the rating in 2-3 days. And it'd give you an excuse to fly somewhere and maybe even give you some experience in actual IMC, depending on where/when you get that training.
     
  26. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    I found it easier in many ways. Maybe tougher in some ways.

    As far as the checkride, as long as you are prepared, it does seem easier IMO because it's typically shorter. There's just less stuff to do compared to the PPL.

    The toughest part of the IFR for me was the stuff at the edges. Understanding and flying a LOC approach may be easy, but am I gonna remember to ident the localizer or start the stopwatch? The little things will get you on the checkride if you haven't focused on them beforehand.
     
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  27. stratobee

    stratobee Cleared for Takeoff

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    It was for me, at least. But I have very bad memory and am not always well organized, and it seems IFR is all procedure, memorizing and organizational skills. It's less about flying. I always had real easy flying on instruments, as that was 'flying', but I was not very good at remembering. It took cramming and doing a 10-day intensive course to get it stuck in there. Today, if you held a gun to my head, I could not tell you in which order the priorities of a lost comm are. I just don't retain procedural things like that very well.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2016
  28. iRyan

    iRyan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    @stratobee I enjoy your videos. I watched quite a few last night. keep them coming.
     
  29. whattauser

    whattauser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Acronyms helped me a lot. AVEF, MEA
     
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  30. rbridges

    rbridges En-Route

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    I think it would be great to transition into it since you're used to having structured lessons. Personally, I took a break for a year or so b/c I wanted to enjoy my flying time. After several scrubbed flights, I felt that an instrument rating was necessary for me.
     
  31. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is one of those questions where everyone has an opinion and in reality no one is probably right or wrong.

    Personally, I started IFR with 75 hours and did most of the XC in conjunction with the IFR training. I also used a safety pilot for a big part of it (I probably had 20 hours dual for the IFR).

    But, I also finished my PPL with 43 hours, so I did have some time between the two.

    Some will say fly around VFR for 100 hours. But you do what fits you best. You aren't hurting yourself by getting the IFR done sooner rather then later. My only caution would be to gauge how you feel after getting your PPL. If you are burned out, then think about taking several months and just having some fun. Actually go places. Remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing.

    How long the IFR takes is dependent on you. I did it in 3 months. Others do it in 2 weeks with an accelerated program. Personally, I always say get it done as quickly as possible as dragging any rating out can get frustrating and waste time/money.
     
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  32. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    I recommend a few very long distance XC trips before IFR training. Work on holding altitude and maintaining heading in climbs, turns, and straight and level flight. My case- I flew to Oregon and back and that was tons of fun! No rush just have fun and use that new PPL before jumping into the intense IFR stuff. IFR training is useful but NOT FUN!
     
  33. stratobee

    stratobee Cleared for Takeoff

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    Thanks. More will come soon. I've been planeless for over a year, so...
     
  34. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm trying to imagine a few idiotic mnemonics (that's not a slam on you; I'm a mnemonic hater) helping anyone with the amount of procedural and system knowledge and decisional issues involved flying or learning to fly IFR.

    Can't, except maybe for the 5Ts (or 4 or 6 or 8 or whatver modification you like) as a mental checklist when first learning or being away from it for a while.

    S.M.A.L.S.
     
  35. whattauser

    whattauser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You mnemonic hater!
     
  36. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Nice thread, great inputs.
     
  37. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Aww, that was definitely not true for me. I had a lot of fun with it, and the last month with my finish-up CFII was especially enjoyable. We did one training jaunt in hard IFR conditions that was a heck of a confidence builder, and just flat out great fun. Then again maybe I'm strange, but I definitely enjoy hand-flying my plane in the soup, and I doubt that I'm alone (though maybe in the minority).

    I suspect it's very much an individual thing, and for all any of us knows, the OP might turn out to enjoy the heck out of it. :)
     
  38. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It really depends on the IFR training.

    Flying endless Pattern A and Pattern B is not fun.

    Flying real approaches in actual, especially if it's layered and not too turbulent, is entirely different.

    Hand flying through constant turbulence is as fun as (and rather similar to) banging your head against the wall.
     
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  39. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    When I did my IR I believe the minimums were 250 hours for the rating.
     
  40. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    I'd throw in here, to go with the "do some XC" folks and "fly to tighter standards" folks -- that you'll see more real weather if you get on down the sky a ways, with the Private, and have to think about weather more. That's good. The weather decisions are actually harder with the Instrument ticket.

    For the precision stuff, get to where you can trim the airplane and set power specifically for a speed or a specific descent rate etc.

    Make a chart of power settings for various speeds in cruise, climb, and decent and learn exactly what to set things to, and the airplane will perform exactly as planned.

    I like trimming the 182 in cruise so the altimeter hand doesn't move for a long time and then playing with holding the altitude by shifting my weight fore and aft in cruise. Heh. Need a little climb? Just lean your head back or stick your arm in the back seat. Stuff like that is fun on a nice long cruise on a no turbulence day.

    Get good with the trim. It'll help you a LOT later because it'll be automatic to you.