Instrument training advice

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Ok, I don't have even my PPL yet, but I'm trying to plan for the instrument rating.

Are there any disadvantages to doing the 20 allowed hours in a sim? More than one person has told me that flying a sim is harder than flying an airplane, so getting sim time can be a good thing.

Would it be bad to have different instructors for sim/ground lessons and flight lessons?

Any opinions on whether it's better to get instrument flight lessons out of a controlled vs. uncontrolled airport (an old argument, I know)?

I'm planning on starting by getting the written out of the way first and then just putting in time flying to build proficiency before I start flight lessons. Smart or dumb?

I also considered doing one of those accelerated courses, but I don't see any big advantages to that other than satisfying impatience. And it seems to me that one would get a broader experience from training over several months rather than slamming it out in 2 weeks. Opinions?

-C.
 

paulsalem

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You are right a frasca 142 is much harder to fly than an airplane. If you lose your scan for just a few seconds you will soon be off heading and altitude. However there is no substitute for actual instrument. Most people who get their instrument ratings are not ready to go shoot approaches in actual solo, because they probably only get a few hours of actual duing their entire instrument training. Most of it is simulated instrument.

At our 141 flight school you have to pass the written before you can being your flight training. However, I don't agree with this policy because, in my opion the test will be easier and questions will make more sense after having done some holding and approaches. However, I see no harm in getting it out of the way ahead of time, it just may take some more studying. Just don't spend time studying for your instrument test when you should be studying for your private oral.

I'd would recommend against the accelerated courses (although I've never taken one, nor taught one) the main reason goes back to the actual instrument. Odds are if you get yoru insturment rating in a week you won't have time to wait around for bad weather to shoot approaches into.

Controled field or un controlled. If you do it at an uncroltrolled field make sure ther is a controlled field somewhat near by. Either way, if you are on an IFR flight plan you'll be talkign to ATC, the only difference is if you are out in the sticks you may not get vectors to the approach, so you'll have to do the procedure turn/hold (which you'll need to know how to do anyway). The only difference between controlled and non controlled under IFR is you don't talk to tower before you land. I really wouldn't worry about this one.

My biggest suggestion is make sure you get some actual, both in cruise takeoff and approaches. There is a huge diffrence between simulated instruement and actual.

Hope this helps. And if you have a computer go and buy flightsim and a joystick. Helped me out qutie a bit with NDB appraoches.
 

midlifeflyer

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clumpinglitter said:
Would it be bad to have different instructors for sim/ground lessons and flight lessons?
I think the same considerations apply to having multiple instructors for sim and flight lessons as for having them for just flight lessons. You're really learning flight procedures in the sim anyway, just more efficiently and with more options for the instructor in setting things up, whether they be emergencies or approaches at different airports. So long as the techniques are compatible, no problem.

But once you get away from the basics, most of instrument training is about procedures. If, say, the airborne CFII teaches one method of figuring out how to figure out which way to enter a hold, and the sim instructor "insists" on a completely different way, confusion is bound to result.
 

NYCPilot

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In terms of advantages using a sim, it is true that a simulator will be more sensitive and probably increase your awareness and scan of the instruments and their indications / trends/ etc. I find that this increased sensitivity will do wonders for your flying skills. There was a point where I hadn't flown in an airplane in almost 5 months but kept proficient on my home sim and flew two ILS' down to minimums in IMC to ATP standards.



Using the sim will also help keep your cost down as well. I would suggest a home PC sim program like ASA's "On Top 8" or one of the other IFR trainer programs they have available. Both are excellent in learning procedures and such on your own time and at your own pace at home. Their program is very user-friendly and the flight parameters (winds, clouds, A/C, turbulence, etc.) are quick and easy to set up. IMO, much better than MS flight sim versions. I would also advise on investing in a CH Products USB yoke. It works well with the program and is much more realistic than using a joystick. The yoke has a throttle, prop and mixture lever as well as several buttons for your timing, flaps, gear and so forth. The CH yoke should be about 120 bucks on Ebay new. Well worth it.


I don't necessarily think its a bad idea to have independent instructors for these two lessons. I've always come away with something new when I flew or worked with a different instructor. You'll gain different perspectives on how to do things which I think is important as you may be more receptive to one style over another and should be exposed to both of them.




Controlled vs. uncontrolled. Well, I think a little of both would be ideal. Flying IFR is a little different going into an uncontrolled field then it would be at a controlled field. The procedures and responsibilities are a little different. There may be times when its IFR but where the ceilings do not preclude VFR planes to be in the vicinity of the field and this requires you to be more vigilant and your self-reporting responsibilities are increased. VFR pilots may not be familiar with IFR markers and fixes that you'll be reporting as you begin an approach into an uncontrolled field. You'll also be looking for possible VFR traffic and making position reports as well as having to cancel your IFR clearance on your own.



If you think that you can attain a high score on the written, by all means take it, but there’s no rush until you're ready for the checkride. It can be a good idea to read through and study the written test guide as it will surely help in understanding all of the rules and procedures you'll be performing during the lesson. I highly recommend the red Gleim book for prepping.


Those accelerated courses can be overwhelming unless you're really prepared and proficient. I don't think you'll learn or retain as much from such a program either. It takes time for ideas and procedures to cement in your head. If you've got the X-cty time, a passed written, studied all you need to know and have been working with a sim at home on your own, you might be able to get through it, but I don't think you learn much nor are you safe after completing your rating in so little time.


 

Goose Egg

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clumpinglitter said:
Ok, I don't have even my PPL yet, but I'm trying to plan for the instrument rating.
And there's my advice to you. Do one thing at a time. Get the private before you worry about the instrument. Believe it or not, you can plan out your instrument training in about a half an hour. There's no reason to worry about it now.

But since you ask...

Are there any disadvantages to doing the 20 allowed hours in a sim? More than one person has told me that flying a sim is harder than flying an airplane, so getting sim time can be a good thing.
The most advantageous thing that you can do while working on an IFR rating is to fly as much time as you can in actual instrument weather conditions. The sim doesn't come close to it. This will benefit you the most in your future flying. Sims are good to get the procedures down, but they can only get you so far.

Would it be bad to have different instructors for sim/ground lessons and flight lessons?
Not necessarily, but if you've gotten ahold of an instructor who is an effective teacher, why jump around?

Any opinions on whether it's better to get instrument flight lessons out of a controlled vs. uncontrolled airport...
I'd lean towards controlled, but that's just me. And it is important to know how to fly IFR out of an uncontrolled airport.

I'm planning on starting by getting the written out of the way first and then just putting in time flying to build proficiency before I start flight lessons. Smart or dumb?
Hmm... wouldn't the reason for the lessons be to build proficiency? Under that plan wouldn't you be building proficiency in order to build proficiency? That isn't making a whole lot of sense to me.

And it seems to me that one would get a broader experience from training over several months rather than slamming it out in 2 weeks.
One word: AMEN!!!

-Goose
 

BRIGADEAVIATOR

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I agree with all the above statements, and highly recommend getting a flight sim. I used mfs2004, and since i flew a plane on the list, very helpful, fly down to minimums, and it definetly helps build your instrument scan.
 
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Guys, thanks for your responses. I was really surprised to hear anyone recommend PC flight sims. If I had a computer I could run such a thing on, I would try one out.

And yeah, I should focus on the PPL stuff right now. But my checkride is coming up soon, and I guess I feel prepared enough for the ground part of it. Goose: what I meant by proficiency was just practicing the really basic navigation and flying skillz I learned for the PPL. I am so new at this.

Dunno what I'm going to do about instructors yet. I had more than one for my PPL, and as much as I didn't like switching around at the time, I think it ended up being more useful than not. Anyways, I'm thinking it might be good to learn procedures and such from more than one instructor.
-C.
 

Goose Egg

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clumpinglitter said:
Goose: what I meant by proficiency was just practicing the really basic navigation and flying skillz I learned for the PPL. I am so new at this.
Gotcha. Staying proficient in VFR stuff is definitely a good idea.

-Goose
 

jafo20

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As the other guys have said, staying up to speed on VFR stuff is the best thing you can do. Always have a field in mind to glide into, and practice engine failures as often as you can. Drill maneuvers 'til you can fly 'em in your sleep. All of this requires you to divide attention among many things, and still get the job done.

When you start on your instrument training, this will help you maintain "the big picture" of what's going on.
 

check6

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Goose Egg said:
And there's my advice to you. Do one thing at a time.
In my professional opinion, I agree whole heartedly. Remember, FARs require you log 50 hours of PIC Crosscountry before you can apply for an Instrument ticket. That's a lot of weekend trips.
 
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