19.6h IR – Trust in Instruments

Can I trust an instrument that is filled with schnaps*? I admit, until now I believed the magnetic compass and turn coordinator were instruments that randomly tumbled around. The magnetic compass has so many errors, I rather only used it in cruise to reset the directional gyro every 15 minutes. During the last flights I…

16.4h IR – When Everything Fails

This double lesson showed clearly what I am capable of and of what I am not. The full panel approach into Aspen went smooth and precise but as soon as I lost my directional gyro on a simple approach I got into trouble. Today’s approaches into six airports were exhausting – on the last approach…

13.2h IR – Any Approach You’d Like

A change in the FAA’s rules affects my flight training. Since last week 20 hours of simulator time, instead of ten, count towards the instrument rating. As soon as I heard about it I contacted my flight school. They checked my links and were convinced. The students can now save a bit more money: In…

9.9h IR – Three Approaches

This time I flew an ILS, VOR and GPS approach – even without becoming airsick. My confidence is back and I am eager to finish this rating within the next two months. I scheduled about six flights now before Christmas and until then I also intend to get the written exam behind me. Today’s flight…

8.6h IR – Airsick Pilot

Motion sickness caught me on my last flight, although it has never been an issue to me before. The turbulent air over Denver, the hothouse effect under the goggles and my brain trying to make sense of the pitching and yawing moments of the aeroplane – it was too much. It happens fast but takes…

EASA Struggling to Change

EASA’s new Executive Director Patrick Ky says (in the IAOPA Newsletter Nov. 2014) the whole approach to the industry must change, thus saying what the whole industry was pointing out for many years. I believe they can only excel if they are aggressive with the change and if they are determined towards the national CAAs….

SERA Implementation in Switzerland

There is some information about the implementation of SERA in Switzerland that might be news for some of you, at least it was for me. Since Google delivered zero hits on that topic, despite the significant possible changes, be it positively or not, I want to discuss it briefly. The Standardized European Rules of the…

7.6h IR – Vacuum Pump Failure

After today’s flight it is all repetition until my oral and practical test. It is impressing how much one can learn in 8.1 hours and a bit of ground school. Now I need 31.9 hours simulated instrument time to meet all requirements for the test. Almost all of it can be done with another student…

224.9h – Advanced Decision-Making

Runways, weather, terrain, wake turbulence and many factors more affect a pilot’s decisions. Some decisions significantly effect the outcome of a flight, but other in-flight decisions go even beyond that. Let’s talk through the insignificant stuff first. Last week I had a wonderful navigation flight which went so well that I was finally confident enough…

222.5h – Confident Flying

Yesterday I did my first solo flight in the United States since 2011 and it all went great. Back then, just after my checkride, I did only one flight as a private pilot in this country. The flight to Ocean Shores, WA, was quite eventful. I had direct crosswind on landing, deer on the taxiway,…

6.6h IR – NDB Approach and DME Arc

This time I flew a non-directional beacon approach and a DME arc. It was a lot of fun and very rewarding. I am making good progress and I understand less and less why the instrument rating has such a rocket-science reputation in Europe. It probably is more difficult over there because everybody is saying that…

5.2h IR – Non Precision GPS Approach

I am having a lot of fun flying on instruments. This time I flew my second ILS precision approach and two GPS non-precision approaches. My learning curve surprised me and I hope I won’t have a learning plateau as I had – and I think every student had – during the PPL course. Saturday night…

First Approach down to Minimums

A precision approach down to 200ft/60m above the airport in the fourth lesson, I didn’t think I would progress so fast. To say the least: It would have been scary in a real plane. 😉 Standard instrument departures and standard arrival routes are pretty straight forward. An approach not so much. There is a wealth…

1.8h IR – Increasing the Workload

VOR and NDB navigation, copying my first clearance and manoeuvering in IMC at night? When my instructor told me about this lesson I got a bit nervous. This was going to be tough, I thought. Josh made up an easy clearance and I started to copy it on my kneeboard. An acronym called CRAFT helped…

0.9h IR – Let’s get started

The instrument ground school will soon come to an end, so I thought it might be time to start flight training. I had a lesson in the Redbird FMX full motion simulator which will be the training device for my first ten hours in instrument meteorological conditions. We called it an introductory flight but there…

213h – Lightnings

The weather in Denver was again hot and convective. I scheduled a usual VFR flight to become familiar with the area. During taxi I realized the Skyhawk had a lightning detector built in. After departure, my instructor asked me if I had seen the lightning ahead of us. In fact, our “strike finder” indicated it…

211.2h – A Flight Review and an Americano, please

My FAA pilot’s license is current again, after flying three years on an EASA one. I thought it might take a few flights until my logbook would be signed by a flight instructor but it actually took only two hours of briefing and 1.6 hours of flight. Furthermore I have gotten a few job offers…

Looking Back and Ahead (Video)

Next Monday I am going to fly the first time at Centennial (KAPA) and I am happy to get back in the air. First I need to do a flight review because I am not current on my FAA license anymore. Gosh, it is already three years ago when I was training for my private…

EASA asks for your opinion

EASA is finally addressing general aviation in a new approach and they ask you for your opinion. Online Questionnaire Consultation period: 23/05/2014 – 15/09/2014 I post this here on my blog because I believe that this very questionnaire will change future regulation in Europe and only few pilots are even aware of this survey. In…

The Land of Virga

The heat and altitude at this place is astonishing. It is so dry that rain usually evaporates before reaching the ground, a phenomenon called Virga. The place I am living at now is Denver, Colorado. They call it the Mile High City and the density altitude is breathtaking. This is the place where I am…