New Instrument Student

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by TRocket, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

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    Hey Everyone,

    Just passed by PPL check ride a couple of weeks ago and going straight into my Instrument training (same instructor) and hope to get it done over the next 6 months or so.

    Instructor suggested a PC based simulator at home, showed me on his simulator but it is older (Microsoft Flight Sim 2004) to practice approaches at home. I've been doing some research and unless I am missing something, they haven't released an updated version in quite a few years. My research lead me to this, available from PilotMall as a good option, I think...

    http://www.pilotmall.com/product/CH...e-10/X-Plane?gclid=CK-Mgomti8gCFUc7gQod_v0J-g

    Comes with the same controls as my instructor has (from 2004), is this a good route to go or does anyone have any better suggestions? Not trying to break the bank on this one.

    Had my first instrument lesson last week, been reading up on approaches, and even found a Garmin 430 simulator download to get more familiar with it on the ground rather than while in the air (It's actually really helpful).

    Lucky to have a really good instructor (same as PPL) that's been flying for (ALOT of) years and really enjoys teaching people to fly, not building hours. He has me studying ahead, listening to ATC at home, and looking for a good simulator to practice. The guy is a lot of fun to fly with too, hell of a guy, so I know getting my instrument rating will be a great experience.

    If anyone has any good advice on the at home sim I would appreciate it, or just any other advice in general.
     
  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    A sim is not a bad thing, if used correctly. Do know that there is a significant chance of picking up bad habits when simming by yourself that could get expensive to unlearn.

    But with the instructor by your side guiding the lesson, use of an Approved Training Device (note, Xplane and MS Flight Sim are not in this category) can be counted as logged instruction time up to 10 hours. And ATD use is a very effective way of teaching the various skills of VOR Interception and tracking, holds, and more.

    For the moment, I would hold off purchasing the gizmo until you determine you really need it. What you would pay for the item linked plus shipping costs is close to 2 hours of instruction. I'd wager you'd get more out of the 2hrs than the gizmo.
     
  3. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yoke and pedals are not necessary. They don't feel right anyway.

    What you're practicing is procedures and timing. Not control. You already know how to control the airplane.

    The sim needs the right avionics, which can be problematic. You may get more mileage out of a Garmin simulator (if your airplane is Garmin equipped). They have free ones for GNS400/500 series, GTN650/750, and G500. G1000 isn't very expensive. These exist for home sims, but they aren't always turnkey. FSX is well suited for VOR navigation EXCEPT that the VOR needles are too steady. Real VORs move around a lot more than that.

    Honestly, the hard part about instrument training is figuring out the workflow, including where you keep all your crap. It's just not the same experience in your living room for ATC to deny your approach and give you another, and for you to dig up the appropriate chart (either on an iPad or paper), while still trying to control the aircraft. That, and trying to execute a handoff in the middle of a procedure turn while configuring for descent.

    Mike is right about the habits -- the one to watch for here is fixation and other scan deficiencies.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  4. d5by5

    d5by5 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Check out XPLANE and the volunteer ATC VATSIM.
     
  5. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou Final Approach

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    A stick with throttle should be minimum. Yoke and pedals will feel more natural but are not an absolute necessity. Careful, you might find yourself falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole, buying radio panels, switch panels, A/P panels etc. :)

    The last version of Microsoft Flight Simulator was 10, aka FSX.
    Microsoft did not release anything useful afterwards (but yes, there was the fiasco called "Flight", don't bother).
    However, LM bought the platform and released Prepar3d (or P3D for short). It is practically a slightly improved FSX with a few bug fixes. It is a very expensive toy but can be easily found on torrents.

    FWIW, I have a set of yoke, pedals and throttles with a set of FSX discs, if you are interested.
     
  6. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    CONGRATS and Welcome!!!!
     
  7. dmspilot

    dmspilot En-Route

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    Microsoft Flight Simulator X was the update to 2004, and even that is quite old, but it can be had cheaply. MS sold the Flight Simulator IP to Lockheed Martin, and the product is now known as Prepar3D. X-Plane is a competitor.

    The CH rudder pedals are terrible. The yoke isn't too impressive either. You're better off with a $25 joystick. Hopefully you already know how to use the rudder and won't need the practice anyway.
     
  8. noahfong

    noahfong Pre-takeoff checklist

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    MS flight sim is also very good for practicing instrument interpretation. They have the compass errors modeled correctly, for example. VOR indications, etc. are right on. I would not worry about the controls.

    Use it for partial panel work, etc. I covered up the attitude and heading indicators and only used the compass and turn-and-bank. (It's amazing how well you can fly without them). Challenge yourself by putting yourself on an approach at the IAF and THEN open the chart. Do it until you can get all briefed by the time you get to the FAF.
     
  9. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Sims are great but my recommendation is to get at least 10 hours basic instrument hood time first then use the sim for approaches and procedures. That is my plan. If you have the cash, I hear good things about Fly This Sim from fellow pilots.
     
  10. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Get down basic instrument flying first then work on the procedures. Your CFII should not be starting off with approaches and holds
     
  11. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You could use a sim for Pattern A and Pattern B, though.

    Not that it would be terribly interesting.

    At least as long as the dynamics model is decent. I seem to recall the "default" 172SP in FSX as not being able to reach 2400 RPM, but it's been a long time since I've looked at that.
     
  12. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    Try this book along with your simulator training.

    [​IMG]

    Work on your SCAN. If you can hand fly down to mins with no more than 3/4 needle deflection and +/- 100', you'll be well on your way. The yoke/throttle/rudder pedals aren't necessary. But, they'll make it more realistic for you. Aileron sensitivity and null spot have never been very good for me with the Saitek yoke. And, pitch is far too sensitive no matter how I tweak it. This makes it imperative that your scan be perfect and corrections are as small as possible. Start out using autopilot to get it trimmed up straight and level.

    BTW, Kudos to Bruce. I hope to meet you sometime!
     
  13. TRocket

    TRocket Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks everyone for the advice. I realize the controls are unrealistic, that's not the point. It's just a supplement to get more familiar with the approaches, holds and procedures and work on my instrument scanning. Like I said I am coming straight from my PPL so I have little XC time. So the lessons now are cross country flights under the hood to work on instrument flying to airports with instrument approaches to get familiar with them, haven't even done any holding yet. Some good info here, thanks everyone.
     
  14. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    The sim is going to come in handy to practice what you've already learned in the plane.

    Get a few lessons under your belt, then use the sim to practice procedures, approaches, holds, timings, etc. as your instructor introduces them.

    All you need is a joystick with a throttle ($30 or so) and I'd suggest buying an addon plane from A2A. If you fly a Cherokee buy their 180. It's excellent. If you fly a 172, they have one as well that's very good. The procedures, from startup to shutdown are all there so you can practice flows at all phases of flight.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2015
  15. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    My suggestion would be to do x countries without the hood. Get flight following and get comfortable talking to ATC. Pick a heading and altitude and nail them both.
     
  16. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Practicing approaches on a sim before learning basic control with instruments only is getting WAY ahead of yourself.

    Can you hold the airplane at constant airspeed, altitude, and heading in light turbulence during a handoff or while adjusting the nav instruments (GPS being significantly more involved than VOR)? You'll have to do that BEFORE you start doing approaches.

    It doesn't make you ahead of the curve. It makes you do it wrong, especially fixating on nav instruments.
     
  17. Blueangel

    Blueangel Line Up and Wait

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    Agree with MAKG here. I did my third IFR lesson today working on timed compass turns abd partial panel. It was challenging but fun! I'd wait until you have at least few lessons and have basics under control. I'm using a sim but not until few more lessons.
     
  18. asgcpa

    asgcpa En-Route

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    OP- The above is excellent advice. Also make sure you have power profiles memorized for different air speeds. That will help.
     
  19. Gsxrpilot

    Gsxrpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is what I did. Just use this free browser based simulator to get really good at using VOR's, HSI, flying holds with interesting wind, etc. It has options to hide the little airplane and then unhide later to see your track. See if your holds are shaped right. No need for any special software or controls. This teaches you the theory and the math involved. After that, doing it in the real airplane under the hood is easy.

    http://www.luizmonteiro.com/Learning_VOR_Sim.aspx

    Get the free Garmin simulator if you have a 430/530 you need to learn.

    All of this is free... spend your money on flight time.
     
  20. Caramon13

    Caramon13 Pattern Altitude

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    All above is great. For the OP, I started in on my instrument training strong, did some timed turns, etc, then we went right into holds and approaches. Needless to say I did horrible since so little time was spent on the basics.

    I found a new instructor and we went back to basics including compass turns (same as before), but we did Vertical S manuevers climbing and descending constant airspeed, then constant airspeed/vertical speed, then combined all that with turns. Super helpful in learning power settings and how to control both vertical and airspeed.

    Did some Pattern A and B work then (and only then) after all that we went into holds and approaches which, by the way are super easy once you've got the basics down.

    Before all that work, I'd be lucky to hold a loc needle in one place for 2 seconds, now I can fly an ILS/LOC needle centered all the way down to minimums.

    Point is, work on the basics get those nailed and everything will be cake. For flight simulator work, I used Prepar3D and the A2A PA-28-180 model..which is exactly the same as the plane I actually fly. I use a stick not a yoke, but it is helpful for practicing on any off-days I have.

    The only other item I use is the free GTN Trainer for the GTN 650 I have in the plane. Cannot emphasize enough the value of learning the equipment you will use IN the plane ahead of time. Saves a TON of training time, fuel and instructor dollars.

    Congrats on getting into it and good luck!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2015
  21. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    This is great advice. DO NOT JUMP RIGHT INTO APPROACHES. You need the get your airplane's power settings down and be able to hold constant airspeed, heading, and altitude before you can even think about approaches and holds. I only started approaches and holds until I was more than half way done with my training. Cross countries should be the last thing you guys do.
     
  22. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Congrats,and welcome to the forum good luck on the IFR training,it can be fun.
     
  23. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    I recommend FSX with the American Flyers IFR course. They have IFR training scenarios that can be loaded into FSX that are very helpful for both training and currency.

    I would invest in a yoke/stick and throttle at the very minimum. Pedals aren't such a big deal but add to the 'realism.' Add a Saitek radio and multi-panel. (dialing in all the numbers is a PITA without some sort of hardware interface). The multi-panel also has a trim wheel which is nice as well.

    As far as aircraft I would recommend the A2A Accusim products (C172, C182T, PA-28-180) they are the best flying sim airplanes on the consumer market IMHO.

    Be prepared to drop a few hundred bucks and be prepared to curse the damn thing. That said, the time and money saved in the long run is well worth it. Plus it's kinda fun. Whenever I finish an instructional flight, I usually boot up the sim and fly the same mission just to reinforce what I just learned in the real world.

    Good luck and happy simming.