PPL to IFR

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by cocolos, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hi,

    So I am pretty close to finishing my PPL and was wondering what are your opinions about starting IFR shortly after? Thanks.
     
  2. LDJones

    LDJones Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think it's just fine, but would also encourage the exercise of those PPL privileges to gain some real-world experience.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2012
  3. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    Seen folks do both. Personally I think the best experience is longer XCs multiple States away across weather systems, doesn't matter if its VFR or IFR.
     
  4. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I would say get some x-country time under your belt since you'll need it before your check ride anyhow.
     
  5. douglas393

    douglas393 Pattern Altitude

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    I started my ifr just after my ppl. I flew twIce a week once for fir training and once for vmc practice, x countries, maneuvers, etc. It worked well for me.
     
  6. rbridges

    rbridges En-Route

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    I don't know if it matters. Experience after the PPL is nice and you need a minimum number of XC hours for your instrument ticket.

    Personally, I was a little tired of lessons when I got my PPL. I ended up waiting a few years before starting up my instrument training. On a side note, when you start using your PPL, you start to realize its limitations. I have a fear of being stuck somewhere because of light overcast, and that has limited my use of the plane. That was probably my biggest motivation to resume training. One of the perks to the additional training is that I'm a much better pilot than I was 4 months ago. My landings and radio skills are much sharper through practice and repetition.
     
  7. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Nothing wrong with that, as long as you realize you'll have to either do it under a Part 141 program where all the instrument time is with an instructor, or do it over a longer period of time while you build your cross-country PIC time to the minimum 50 hours required before you take the practical test under Part 61. My personal experience based on over 1500 hours of instrument flight training given is that most folks do better if they spend a few months just flying different places and building their experience and comfort in the plane before starting serious instrument rating work, but YMMV. You might also want to start doing your instrument ground training and taking/passing the written test before pressing on with the flight training.
     
  8. DrMack

    DrMack Line Up and Wait

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    My landings went to pot. It took me a couple of weeks after earning my IR to land without a bounce. Never could figure out why.

    VFR XC is good experience but if you have the energy, time and money, I recommend starting your IR training immediately. Your training will be in three major phases:

    1. Basic Attitude Instrument flying (BAI), where you will learn how to keep the blue side up and brown side down. This is the part of your training that will save your life more than the other two phases.

    2. Instrument procedures. This is where you learn how to fly departure, arrival and approach procedures, and how to interact with ATC in the terminal environment, your new full-time partner in the air.

    3. Cross country. Where it all comes together and you see for the first time what it's like to fly in the system from end to end.

    If you don't have the time, inclination or money for anything else, I highly recommend that you at least get through BAI because what you learn there will have a huge impact on your ability to stay alive. By definition, VFR-only pilots do not experience much BAI so it is an emergency situation when they inadvertently end up in IMC. VFR into IMC is never a good situation, even for IR pilots, but the BAI training will greatly enhance your ability to safely execute the 180.
     
  9. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    I got my PPL and then needed 20 hours dual for my airplane. We did instrument stuff but nothing formal, mostly XC stuff. Then I needed another 30 hours without passengers (or dual) for insurance so I did a lot of XC's by myself and some actual instrument ones with a CFII. I learned tons. Without all the XC time I think that the IR would be difficult.. not to learn and get the ticket, but you put it to use. 1 long XC as an IR student isn't enough IMO. Luckily I had several so I feel more prepared to go fly a real IFR plan when the time comes.
     
  10. Gubbins

    Gubbins Ejection Handle Pulled

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    Depending on what kind of flying you do, you may end up doing it sooner than you expect. In my case, when I was done with the PPL I also had the idea that I wanted to take a break from the whole lessons thing and enjoy some flying. I did a bunch of local flying, taking friends up, etc, then that got boring in a hurry. Then I started going a little further and had a couple of delays/cancellations and, shall we say, "stressful moments" brought on by weather changes. So about three months after getting my PPL, I started the IR really out of necessity because I could see that in my case not having one was not going to work out for what I wanted to do.
     
  11. NineThreeKilo

    NineThreeKilo Ejection Handle Pulled

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    I'd wait until you have 100hrs or so, you'll get much more out of it if you have some x-country hours and just some more experience under your belt first.
     
  12. PBristolJr

    PBristolJr Line Up and Wait

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    I find that doing a long multi-state XC (as posted above) you will learn much more than doing 51nm XC's just to build time.
     
  13. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Speaking as someone resembling the remark I'm about to make:

    I don't think most newly minted PPLs have sufficient training to make prudent weather decisions.

    There are exceptions of course, but the curriculum is sorely lacking.
     
  14. Apache123

    Apache123 Line Up and Wait

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    Hey, Steve!
    I agree, and I'm in the same boat. I'd love to just jump into instrument training, but I'm going to explore XC and really just get more comfortable with everything I can for now. Plus, I've only landed in: Illinois, Indiana, and southern Wisconsin. Everything has been flat as a pancake with unlimited "potential landing" locations thus far.

    I did get an interesting response from my DPE. I asked him his opinion on any avionics I should pick up to get familiar with prior to starting instrument training. I have the standard 6-pack and 2x KX-170B w/ 2x VOR (one with GS). I was expecting a DME response, but he actually said to skip the DME and get an instrument-approach approved GPS since there are more and more LNAV/VNAV approaches, and DME is dying out.
     
  15. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    Good advice in terms of what will be most useful to you in the long run. And while there's no requirement to get that GPS before you do the IR training (what you have is sufficient for that purpose), doing the IR training with it already in the plane will improve your proficiency with it once you get the rating and start flying IFR for real -- laws of primary and exercise at work.
     
  16. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    I'd recommend waiting some ... I tried directly after PPL and ended up hating it ... it felt like I was at work (which I use flying to get a break from). Not much IFR in my area ... I basically have 95% of the requirements completed. It will help fine tune your flying skills ... I just feel if I had held off a bit I wouldn't have felt like a burn out trying to run my own company, family duties and applying what I feel is the true time committment to complete this rating correctly. So instead, I concentrated on getting my own AC and flying the living crap out of it - much funner! Now if you live in a heavy IFR area and don't have huge work/family demands, I can see where things would be different.
     
  17. cocolos

    cocolos Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I believe I am going to take a short break, i.e. at least 3 months. This will give me some time to use my PPL and also save up for IFR. :) Thanks for the input everyone!
     
  18. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    During that interval, try to rack up as much XC PIC time as possible, preferably to places you haven't been before, and using flight following as much as possible to develop your radio comm skills. That will really pay off when you start the IR training.
     
  19. jdwatson

    jdwatson Line Up and Wait

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    I was given the advice to wait. The CFI-I at the school had a minimum of XXX, I don't remember the number, hours of PIC. I used the time to really really really make flying the plane automatic. Practiced holding headings and altitudes as perfectly as conditions will allow. My goal was to fly to 1/2 the tolerance of Commercial pilot standards. Every landing, heading, altitude. Honed my cockpit procedures, minimized wasted effort, motion. Got organized too. After about 50hrs of flying like that, the physical part of flying was much easier and a lot more precise. I loved training for and flying IFR, still do.
     
  20. poadeleted20

    poadeleted20 Deleted

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    IR trainees who show up with that level of proficiency are much easier to train.
     
  21. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    Wow...if that's true, then please, stay on the ground! If you didn't learn to make the call when you were a student, it's really late in the game to start doing it when there's nobody to countermand you on a bad call.

    On IFR - everyone says wait. I say go for it right away. Use the IFR training to launch out on that multi-state IFR trip and fly the IFR training of what you want to fly anyway. You didn't do that during your private, you flew what your instructor said you would fly. You have to get 40 hours for the certificate, there's no reason to have 40 when you start.
     
  22. Jaybird180

    Jaybird180 Final Approach

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    Interesting....and you don't even know me (LOL). I'm not thin skinned, but are you rude or psychic?
    Let's see:

    The new PPL doesn't know what they don't know. The curriculum cannot convey this to the new pilot. He gets by on being cautious and conservative; a wise choice.

    I stand by my statement.

    I've used the time since getting my ticket to expand my envelope, with an eye toward getting my IR. I did a 600nm same day round trip last month. Took an advanced Wx course the month prior. I learn more each time I fly, but I am well aware that there are things in aviation...questions I haven't even yet formed in my mind. So excuse if I'm as naive as a babe.

    Those that have flown with me have commented that my airmanship and judement seems above the level that my # of logged hours would suggest. But, I welcome (well reasoned) challenges to the contrary. I can always sure up my weaknesses.
     
  23. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    Jay,

    I don't think he was trying to insult you or impugn your judgment. I just think he was saying that with the PPL, you should have learned enough of about the weather that you should be reasonably safe, and that you might as well start on the IR training while you continue to use your PPL to gain experience and knowlege. I certainly have every reason to believe you are a good pilot with judgment beyond your hours. I think the same of myself, (perhaps egotistically) and have been very cautious about limiting my exposure while expanding my experience. But my thought is simply: Why not start to study the IFR course materials and work some with a CFII while at the same time I continue to build experience on my own? I don't know that it's the right answer for everyone, but I think it works for me.
     
  24. jbarrass

    jbarrass Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    As soon as possible I'd recommend getting the first couple lessons done from a CFII that uses Peter Dogan's book who will work with you to develop your "numbers". That is, specific configurations for different phases of flight. These will help you tremendously, even VFR. I also like the PP idea of flying twice a week, Once for fun and one IR lesson, at least initially.
     
  25. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies En-Route

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    I'd recommend doing so. Once you get outside of the training environment it can be difficult to get back in. Easier while you are still in the training mindset.
     
  26. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    It's good to have some friends (used to be folks you trusted from around the airport FBO weekend coffee and BS crowd, but nowadays PoAers seem to fit the bill, thanks to the Internet and declining active pilot population) on speed dial in the cell phone for those questionable days. Preferably someone who's flown with you.
     
  27. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    I went into the IR with a heavy weather background and was still surprised, but thinking back, shouldn't have been, by this simple statement:

    IFR doesn't make the weather decision easier, it makes it harder.

    Think about it for a minute. You're deciding if you should launch into conditions you'd NEVER have even gone up and looked at VFR.

    One other comment... Someone said the IR felt like work, and I agree. It is. It kinda has to be. Think about that one for a minute, too.

    When you finish the IR you're showing proficiency in taking a perfectly working airplane aloft in conditions that remove a significant number of "outs" and options available to a VFR pilot, and then landing it with half the instrument panel broken.

    It ain't a cakewalk. It can't be.

    Mental health wise, I'm super happy to have done it, but there's a significant life effect of burning that much time out of a typical American's already puny vacation hours. If you've read my threads on it, you know I did basically an "accelerated" style over about a total of a week and a half and showed up with a LOT of sim time and some airplane time that was ten years out of date from previous attempts.

    Personally, unless you have an incredibly flexible and available CFII, I highly recommend that full-immersion process for recreational pilots. It feels like it "stuck" very well for me, personally anyway.

    I got a chance a couple of weeks ago to go fly six back to back different ILS approaches for 1.9 hours on the Hobbs and I was concerned that it had been a while... As expected, real flyable IMC around here is scarce and currency will always be a problem for me.

    Afterward, unlike in the training environment, I felt good about it. Not overwhelmed, not overloaded, flew five of the approaches to better standards than the bar I'd set for myself and only one was iffy... vectored through the Localizer and didn't catch it until a dot on the other side.

    Still passable, but I'm hard on myself. I know flying an approach someday RIGHT may mean the difference between a good day with an increased heart rate and a very bad day. ;)

    What was funny was my co-owner's comment to his wife later... He's been toying with getting his IR for years. He told her later, "I don't know if I want to do that... That's WORK!" Haha. And I didn't even toss myself partial panel stuff... (But will soon... I wanted to make sure things went well with everything working properly first!)

    So... Just thoughts. I really think the full-immersion accelerated type training (either customized by a CFII as in my case because of all the previous work, or systems like Ron's employer does... where they take you from start to finish...) is a good way to hammer it into your cranium hard enough it'll really become second nature. Just my opinion.

    Save up the bucks, plunk 'me down, and hit it for a week or so like that, and it'll really feel like a LOT of work... But highly rewarding at the end.

    This year I may just have to go sit on a beach for a week though... Doing that every year, trading my only vacation time for flight training, would be rewarding and fun to a point, but you really do need a real "turn all the gadgets off and go on a real vacation" once in a while too, or your noggin will be unhappy. :) Sure, pros do it all the time... But recreationally you gotta throw some fun in or you're going to burn out.

    So fly a bunch for fun and save the sheckles and then go hit it, IMHO. Do NOT allow yourself to spend any pennies from the training jar either. I even have a separate account at my Credit Union for flying/stuff like this... Once $ goes in. It's gone. It doesn't come out until time to do stuff. (And monthly aircraft bills and maintenance, etc...)
     
  28. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    And that for a new PPL, cautious and conservative is the correct judgement and is prudent. If you can't be cautious and conservative as a new pilot, please stay on the ground.

    Regardless - go fly the IFR training. Get some actual IMC. Then be conservative when you start.

    Like anything else new - you edge into it, you don't jump in.
     
  29. CaptLabrador

    CaptLabrador Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Id say the difference in knowledge between a PP and and IR pilot is pretty big and worth it just based on that. XC time is good but if you plan on getting a commercial ticket there is plenty of time for that later. After my ppl I went into instrument, my confidence and knowledge greatly improved; especially seeing the big picture around you. When you are flying with commercial traffic around you it really helps to know what they are doing and being able to anticipate where they are going. Oh and it makes you alot better on the radio as well. Id always suggest getting an instrument rating.
     
  30. Tony_Scarpelli

    Tony_Scarpelli Pattern Altitude

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    I went right to flying xc after getting my PPL. I have never been able to get back to training mode again. Here I am 9 years out 1000 hrs, no IFR training to speak of.One way or another you will get xc training and experience.

    I think I wish I went right into IFR training while I was in that mind set.
     
  31. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I wish I'd done that too. Or at least within a year or so. I was already thinking and talking about it when I was getting checked out in a friend's Cardinal the next year, and I made the decision to go ahead with it after a VFR into IMC occurrence in 2005. Here I am, almost as many hours as you and still working on it... but it looks like it will be soon now. :)
     
  32. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I didn't know what an instrument rating was and didn't care for the first 10 years after PPL training. If the weather was bad I didn't go. When the oil embargo forced me to find a way to travel in a GA plane, my interest level changed overnight.
     
  33. Tony_Scarpelli

    Tony_Scarpelli Pattern Altitude

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    True, my alternatives are wait or drive......I refuse to fly TSA hell.
     
  34. Z06_Mir

    Z06_Mir Pattern Altitude

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    I said that too when I started my PPL. I'm now just over halfway with my IR and have recently realized that not flying on the airlines isn't an option until I get a faster airplane... and I already have an R182. No FIKI is probably my biggest worry and the thing that keeps me from flying around the country in the winter months. I can go around mountains, but ice is a little more difficult to predict than a mountain that has been there millions of years. I'm still fearful of the airlines though.
     
  35. Tony_Scarpelli

    Tony_Scarpelli Pattern Altitude

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    I'm not into FIKI on small craft. Turbo to help you climb through the clouds quicker I would be up for.

    My travels are not imperative so I can easily wait or drive. I got more miles than a truck driver.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    I was a VFR only pilot for 21 years. The IR was done simply as a personal challenge. My equipment and my level of currency/competency will always be a limiting factor even with the ticket in my pocket.
     
  37. wabower

    wabower Touchdown! Greaser!

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    For successful trips, VFR pilot needs good weather here, there and in-between times the number of legs to be flown. IFR pilot can safely tolerate marginal to poor weather (excluding the killers) on any particular phase of a trip. If you need the plane for travel, get the IFR as quickly as possible.