My Struggle for an Instrument Instructor, Help!

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by MBDiagMan, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    My journey toward my instrument rating just should not be this hard! In spite of the number of hold ups I’ve had, my biggest struggle is due to my boondocks location.

    I won’t bother outlining the entire list of holdups. I will go straight to my current background and and then the various instructor, or program possibilities.

    I got my private in 2011 at the age of 62. I was still working and had limited time and resources to fly. I retired in 2016 and started flying more and working at passing the inst written. I passed the written last May and shortly thereafter injured my shoulder that caused me to change planes from my manual gear to an electric gear Mooney which put me into a debugging mode and it has taken time to get the Mooney in solid instrument flying shape. At the time I even considered doing the IR in my 140 which has a completely capable panel and stack. I still don’t completely rule that out although I really want to do the IR in the Mooney in order to establish my skill and confidence in the aircraft. If I do it in the Cessna I will have to spend time later transferring the instrument skill to the Mooney.

    I now have almost 20 hours total under the hood, some of it going back to my early flying 25 years ago. In the Summer I flew with my original instructor who is a Mooney guy as well as a tailwheel guy. I also flew a few hours with an instructor who is marvelous, but unable to fly with me due to his corporate flying schedule. Unfortunately not an option. I had a break in the action waiting on aircraft maintenance and going to Florida for hurricane Michael disaster relief. After getting back with a sorted plane, my 94 year old Mom passed away causing further delay. I finally threw in the towel and flew with the instructor from Hell. He is coarse, abrasive and unnerving, but he has a good track record taking people to the IR albeit in a VERY expen$ive way. You pay him $350 a day plus a hotel room since he is not local, and you will only log a couple of hours hood time per day. He has a DPE that is familiar with him and knows that a student is ready when he sends them.

    So, there are two instructors in my general area I can fly with, and a comprehensive program as a possible choice.

    Instructor A. The old salt guy who taught me to fly 27 years ago and helped me transition to the Mooney. He admittedly knows very little about the 430 and doesn’t have a favored DPE. He basically flies with you by the hour and sends you off to practice with a Safety Pilot saying that you don’t want to pay me to sit and watch for traffic. He also is 45 nM away and I have to ferry to and from him. I have a hail shed hangar on his field and a car to use, and it is close to my ranch where I go at least 3 times a month, so going there is not a total loss of time every trip. Flying with him would probably mean that I am on my own to prepare for the oral and not know as much about what to expect on the checkride. If it would work, it would clearly be more economical than Instructor B or a comprehensive program away from home. How hard would it be to prepare for the oral onmy own? I have some good study material.

    Instructor B. The instructor from Hell; expen$ive, coarse, abrasive and demeaning, but with a track record of success. Obviously he and I have opposite personality types. He makes me nervous and does not teach by reward, but by hammering you when you do wrong. He spends so much time in ground school I feel he would have me prepared, but $50 an hour private tutoring seems like an expensive way to do it. How much is all this ground school really worth? I know a few students he has taken all the way, and they are all extremely well healed to the point that the expense is just absolutely nothing to them. I have enough money to do it, but I am not convinced that this is the best use of my funds.

    Comprehensive Program. There is a school in Kansas that will put you up and train to a conclusion for a fixed price. You fly up there, they give you a car and a room, have access to a simulator and they take you to the conclusion.
     
  2. jsstevens

    jsstevens En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Given your history and situation (as I understand it) I'd vote Comprehensive program. Or iflyifr.com (the PIC program). They come to you, charge by the day and you will get done as quickly as you can.

    I'm looking into something similar for me. I've started my IR at least 4 times. Currently I need to pass the written again. But I'm going to find the time to take off from work (not retired yet) and get 'er done.
     
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  3. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    +1 on the comprehensive program...doesn’t sound to me like either of the two instructors you have available stand a high chance of success for you.
     
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  4. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

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    Sounds like you could use the Comprehensive program. If it were me, I'd just use the 140 and a safety pilot and just fly a lot. You only need a CFII for initial phase and as occasional check(use instructor A for that).
     
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  5. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'm right there with you. I'm 75% done with my IFR and my instructor passed away. There is nobody else local that wants to instruct. Nearest town is about 25 miles away but the instructor there is too busy. I scheduled with an instructor 50 miles away but we've had to cancel twice due to weather. I'm scheduled to fly with him tomorrow afternoon but he told me he's on baby watch. His wife could go into labor any minute. I'm not sure what to do any more.

    Since you have the time, I'd suggest you do the comprehensive program.
     
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  6. Pugs

    Pugs Filing Flight Plan

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    This is your answer given the situation. I have a good instructor and flying 2X a week for it and even still it's attractive.
     
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  7. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Meet the Fokkers
    Go PIC ...deal with 10 more days of stress and get it done.
    Sounds like you've had enough stress with it.
    Work with a CFII afterward when convenient, to stay sharp or fill in gaps.
     
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  8. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    You guys are reminding me that I must finish my Intrument Rating...must finish Intrument Rating. I do have an airplane now with an auto-pilot, which is one of the things I was blaming my procrastination on previously.
     
  9. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Comtact Aggiemike about the Kansas school. PIC may be a better choice for you.
     
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  10. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Mike recommended the Kansas school some months ago. Did he have a bad experience. I was thinking he said he was going in January for his commercial. I had a hangar neighbor who had a bad experience with PIC.
     
  11. Lance F

    Lance F Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    The Kansas school is GATTS. Quite a few on this board have used them and written positive reviews. I got my IFR there and felt well prepared when I left with the rating.
     
  12. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Thanks Lance! Can you point out any negatives about the experience or was it all positive?

    They say 7 days, but will go more for the same price if needed. I like the idea of simulator time because I have been told they can teach and critique more approaches that way.
     
  13. KaiGywer

    KaiGywer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you are willing to go just a little farther north, I really liked my experience at Riggin in Madison, SD where I finished my IFR last month. Very laid back instructors and DPE, and by the time you take your checkride, you know you're ready.

    Edit: I just saw in your signature that you have a Cessna 140. That's another bonus with Riggin. They teach in a Cessna 140 so you'll be familiar with the plane.
     
  14. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    @MBDiagMan - How far are you from Gilmer? Friend of mine has his Arrow there and did his IFR rather painlessly.
     
  15. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I am only 24 nM from Gilmer. If you could PM me any information you can get, I would be most appreciative.
     
  16. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    I am an old salt, but don’t do your training with the old salt you have trained with. Having limited knowledge of a 430 and being an instrument instructor is unexcusable and you need proper training with a 430.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2019
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  17. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

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    You can learn a 430 by yourself in a day using a cheap flight sim software and YouTube
     
  18. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    Yup...so if a CFII “has limited knowlege” of it, he’s not worth the money.

    I did a couple of airplane checkouts/IPCs for guys who claimed they knew how their 430s worked...they used them for their instrument training, after all. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t just be an airplane or instrument instructor, I had to be able to teach the 430 as well.

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the years in a training client’s hangar, reading up on the airplane and it’s avionics. I’d expect the same from anybody who expected to be paid to teach in my airplane. Obviously (hopefully) an instructor’s time is worth something even when they’re studying my airplane, so I wouldn’t expect them to do it for free, but I’d expect them to spend the time.
     
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  19. genna

    genna Line Up and Wait

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    While you are certainly correct, the OP doesn’t seem to have an access to a CFII with a 430 experience that he likes. I was simply pointing out that this shouldn’t be a showstopper as you can learn it by yourself.
     
  20. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Thanks everyone for helping me hash through this.

    Actually my 430 knowledge is not that bad. I am not yet an Ace with it, but I am a lot farther along than a Direct To. That said, I realize how lacking the instructor is if he is not fluent with it. I think that there could be some value in doing some approaches, or even a trip, without it and learning basic situational awareness before becoming dependent on it. I also believe that learning the 430 on the ground is better than learning it in the air.

    I am just thinking out loud. You guys are making solid and valuable points.
     
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  21. catmandu

    catmandu Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just like the fact that you turn 70 this year and call your instructor Old Salt. :)
     
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  22. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    Yeah. Takes one to know one I guess. The old salt instructor I speak of is in his eighties. Everything is relative.:)
     
  23. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    That comprehensive program sounds like the best deal to me. No matter your age, you only have so many flying days available to you before you're not going to fly anymore. The sooner you get the ticket done, the sooner you can use it. Take a trip to Kansas and get it done. Then file and fly with safety pilot or file and fly in light IMC until you get comfortable with the Mooney and the 430.
     
  24. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Although I did not use a program like that, my vote would be for *a* comprehensive program like PIC. Unless I am misunderstanding, at the one in Kansas you would be flying one of their planes and most of your instrument time would be on a simulator. That is not a recipe for success; sims are very different from the actual airplane at best, and you would still have to transition your instrument skills to your plane.

    Now if you would be flying your own plane, that's a different matter. In some respects the Kansas program sounds like an accelerated program, very similar to PIC. That is a good option, as long as you do a lot of instrument flying in the weeks after the checkride. The only downside is that skills acquired over a short time are perishable unless practiced intensively in the following days/weeks.

    Personal note - I had an instructor that sounds a lot like your "abrasive" guy. He had a lot of experience and was very competent. But he was very edgy, swore a lot, acted as the pattern police over the radio in my plane, and just generally had a way of making me nervous in the airplane. I put up with him until I was ready for the checkride, but he procrastinated on setting me up with a DPE until it was too late to do anything before my written expired. That was the last straw; I fired him and finished up with someone else.

    Moral: best to avoid training with someone who really feels like a bad fit. The feeling may be mutual and may lead to delays or other unfortunate outcomes.
     
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  25. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    The Kansas option WOULD indeed be in my plane. They even provide hangar space during the time you’re there.
     
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  26. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Line Up and Wait

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    How can a CFII with any recent experience teaching NOT have encountered a 430 by now? They're everywhere.. for the last 20 years. Or does he have a pad of 430-sized inop sticker covers in his flight bag, so as to avoid the horrors of learning the contraption?
     
  27. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Sounds like an (almost) no-brainer then... as long as you're in a position to do a lot of instrument flying on your own later to really cement your new skills. :thumbsup:
     
  28. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner En-Route

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    The fact that they’re so prolific and he STILL refuses to learn them is a big red flag for using this instructor IMO...what else is he choosing to ignore?
     
  29. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    He is not “refusing” to learn the 430. He is in his Sunset years. He taught me to fly in ‘92. I asked him a year ago how many pilots he has solo’d and how many he has gotten past their checkride sand he said he couldn’t even guess. He’s a good instructor that enjoys flying. He has a lot to offer yet in spite of his advanced years. He had me doing approaches in the 140 with dual VOR’s, in a short amount of time and he’s a great Mooney instructor. He just hasn’t done a lot of instrument training in recent years. If all I wanted to do was pass the instrument checkride and do it on the cheap, he could get it done in the 140. His rate is not ridiculous, he’s effective, he encourages using a safety pilot instead of using him, the 140 burns 5.5 gallons an hour......

    In fact I might talk myself into doing that then get in the Mooney and teach him the 430. Just joking, at least about the last part.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2019
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  30. sarangan

    sarangan Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I would not get too hung up on the GNS 430. It is just bunch of buttons to learn. It's navigation, not basic instrument flying skills.
     
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  31. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    As I understand it, the issue is that it's such a common unit that an instructor not being familiar with it makes you wonder what else he is choosing to ignore. My first CFII (the one I fired just before my checkride) was also unfamiliar with my GPS - but that was a 480, not very common, in fact I've yet to find an instructor who knows it any better than I do. But mine basically said that it wasn't worth his time to learn it, and when a CFII that you're going to be training with regularly expresses an unwillingness to really learn your avionics, that's a red flag too... one I probably should have heeded.
     
  32. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    If your are referencing a school near Kansas State University and Fort Riley, I would consider elsewhere. My experience with them in December of 2018 was disappointing.

    But for what you desire, PIC, www.iflyifr.com, is purpose built for it. And one that sends very organized instructors who do know how to teach both the basics and real world.

    10 days in my opinion is a bit too compressed, especially if you hit a wall learning, the weather keeps you from flying, or the aircraft experiences a maintenance issue. I would suggest booking for 12-13 days.
     
  33. JCranford

    JCranford Pattern Altitude

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    Don't go with the Instructor from Hell. Flying should be fun. That wont be fun.