Que Sera, Sera – IFR Minimum Equipment in Switzerland

Que Sera, Sera. –  It isn’t just a popular song from 1956. It also isn’t just a great remix by French Hip Hop producer Wax Tailor. “Whatever will be, will be”, so the translation of the title, is the answer to a girl’s question to her mother about her future life. When she becomes mother herself, she tells…

344.5h – Routine and Night Flying

Flying every day this month really got me in the routine of making decisions, and decisions is all flying is about. Especially interesting were the flights during night time. Night flying is so smooth – much smoother than driving a car – that it gives me a very comforting feeling in an environment that seems…

Commercial Pilot Certificate

Compared to the instrument rating, the commercial was simple. It is basically the proof that you can put your airplane where you want it and you understand its systems in depth. You also need to master a few legal terms – surprisingly no more than a few. The first question of an oral usually is:…

2.5h CPL – Maneuvers

Can you point out design maneuvering speed (Va) on this airspeed indicator? This airspeed is important to know if you are flying maneuvers or flying into turbulence; it is the airspeed at which the airplane stalls at its G-limit. In other words, it is the speed at which the stall protects your airplane from structural…

1.2h CPL – Complex Airplane

The past three weeks I had been studying intensively for the commercial written exam. It turned out that nearly all knowledge was already covered by previous courses for the private pilot license and instrument rating. Still, I wanted to work through the entire online class and immerse myself in my new goal: the commercial pilot…

45h IR – Instrument Rating, done!

So there it was, finally in my hands, the temporary airman certificate. I am an instrument pilot now, it says. But as always, it is just a license to learn and I stand at the very beginning. This spring was quite eventful, as I tried to get the flight training done before I got married….

39.8h IR – I Follow Roads

“Cessna 43L, cleared into Class Bravo airspace at 7’500, follow interstate I-25 to Centennial”, Denver Center told me while flying in simulated instrument conditions. The sky was blue but I had to wear foggles, glasses which restrict the view outside. While trying to fly IFR, with vectors from my instructor, I had to follow a…

38.3h IR – Phase Check

My flight instructor scheduled the examiner for next Wednesday and I was on the final stretch. I arrived at the flight school for a phase check with a senior instructor. First thing I heard when I arrived was: There was a regulation change by the FAA. Regulation Change On December 3rd the FAA changed its…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…