37.3h IR – Partial Panel

Today we had another standard session of ILS, localizer and GPS approaches at Front Range and Centennial. This time only the ILS with full panel and during the latter two approaches I had a simulated vacuum pump failure. Or to make it sound less dramatic, my instructor put sticky-notes on some important instruments. On the…

36.3h IR – When it doesn’t Feel Right

Knowing that my concentration wasn’t at its best I headed to the airport. There was no reason for it but even driving the car over the pass needed more attention, my focus simply wasn’t there. It happens very seldom but today was one of the days I possibly wouldn’t have flown solo. Because it simply…

35.5h IR – Getting back on Course

The last weeks have thrown me a bit off my plans. I had in mind to finish up my instrument training as soon as I could and then my car broke down and my new roommate’s new used car wasn’t driveable as well. We ended up having no car at all, instead of two. Now…

34.2h IR – Written Exam and Long X-Country

“We don’t have an instrument test scheduled for today,”, the lady at the test center said, “but in that case we schedule one for 15 minutes from now.” At 10.0015 my written test began, thanks to the American can-do attitude, and I noticed there was a whole book with figures I had never seen before….

26.8h IR – Unexpected Clouds

I flew the first time through clouds! Even if it was only for a moment, I am happy about it. I already believed I would go through instrument training without ever seeing a cloud from the inside. Since the last blog entry I had two flights and there is a lot to de-brief on the…

21.8h IR – Half Way Through

The 20 hour sim-time regulation came just in time and now I am half way through the training. I am looking forward to fly the airplane starting with the next lesson until I am at the 40 hours of simulated instrument time required for the test. I like it how the pieces come together –…

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…