Real Answers from Real Pilots

Instrument Training- Will Post Updates Here

Hello all!

As I did in the Private stage of training in a different thread, I will post updates on my experience w/ instrument training here. Please feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

Week 1:

So many sims! There are about 2 sims for every flight in instrument training. The King Schools Instrument Ground course is also pretty hefty- I just finished it yesterday and it took me about 50 hrs to get through. You’re expected to have King Schools and your IRA/FII written finished very quickly, within the first 2-3 weeks of instrument training. I’m starting in on studying for my written w/ Sheppard Air now.

I wish I had knocked the King Schools ground school videos out beforehand. My life would be 1,000% easier right now had I done that… Also, if you can get the written out of the way beforehand, then definitely do. It’s all I can do right now to study for my flights and get the ground school/writtens knocked out while staying on track. It’s doable, but extremely difficult. For your own sake and quality of life… Get your ground school and writtens knocked out! It’s been said so many times on this forum before, and I can’t understate how much better my life would be right now had I taken this advice!

All of that being said, I’m really enjoying instrument flying so far! It’s less about stick and rudder flying and more of a mental exercise. You’re constantly trying to anticipate what’s coming next and trying to stay “ahead of the plane”. It’s a lot of fun! During week 1, we’ve focused on instrument basics (flying precisely while scanning the instruments) and approaches. Studying approach plates beforehand has been instrumental (pun intended- ha ha) in being prepared for my flights. It’s a really cool feeling to take the foggles off and see the runway pop up in front of you!

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Amanda,

Thank you for starting this thread and showing your insights.

Chris

Keep up the advice we are listening lol

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Update:

I took the IRA and FII on the same day and passed the IRA with a 93% and FII with a 94%. I exclusively used Sheppard Air’s IRA study bank to study for both. Sheppard Air advised me to take the IRA and then buy the FII study course separately and take the FII a few days later because the questions are different. My instructor and a few other students told me that wasn’t necessary and that Sheppard Air’s IRA study course would prepare me for both very well and both should be taken on the same day. I decided to take the advice of my instructor/fellow students and am glad I did, because I ended up getting a better score on the FII than the IRA in spite of not studying for the FII. Buying the FII course separately and taking an extra two or three days to study would have been a waste of time/money IMO.

I’ve finished Instrument Basics/Procedures and am in the Instrument Cross-Country phase right now. One of the things that has helped me the most so far has been studying the instrument approach plates/procedures thoroughly before each flight. I started seeing a huge improvement in my confidence and instrument flows when I started sitting down and mentally flying the approach plates before my flights. It also helps you to figure out any questions you might have about the approach before actually flying it, which makes your flight time more constructive.

Probably the best advice I’ve gotten so far is staying ahead of the airplane. You need to constantly think about what you’ll be doing next and ask yourself if there’s anything you can do now to lessen your workload in the future. Getting approaches briefed early, frequencies tuned/ID’ed, etc. is how you set yourself up for success and a smooth approach without any surprises.

This instrument know-all handbook lays out the highlights of regulations and procedures in a way that is easily understood. I found it very helpful in the beginning of training.

I’ve mostly been using Pilot’s Cafe IFR Quick-Review Guide and the ACS to study for the checkride oral so far. Once I have all of the content from Pilot’s Cafe down, my plan is to dive into the ASA Oral Exam Guide book and check out other oral exam guide PDF’s.

Amanda,

As always thanks for the update. That all sounds like very good advice. Keep it up and let us know how the checkride goes.

Adam

Amanda,
Great advice studying the plates and chair flying the approach before you even get there. That skill will help you for the rest of your training and for your career to come. Always remember:
“Never let an airplane take you somewhere your brain didn’t get to five minutes earlier”.

-Hannah

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Amanda,

Thank you for the update. When is your check ride scheduled for?

Chris

Amanda,

Glad to hear your writtens went well! Sheppard Air is the way to go, I remember I watched all of King School IFR videos before even looking at SA, and it was definitely much different.

One piece of advice I can give for plates and such, any airport you’re guaranteed to use, spend a night and just review those plates. Highlight key things such as minimums, missed approached instructions, frequencies. Doing this will set you way above the game because you’ve familiarized yourself with most if not all the local plates.

I never saw the “Know-All Handbook” before, that is very interesting, thanks for sharing that. I loved Pilot’s Cafe when they finally updated it, the format is so much better now! Best of luck with your Instrument Cross-Country!

Brady

Amanda,

Thank you for sharing this with us. Brings me right back to training. I always loved instrument training because it was challenging and beautifully choreographed. That said, now that I’ve been flying IFR for 3.5 yrs straight I REALLY miss flying VFR. Aahh the freedom :grin:

Tory

Tory,

Do you fly into SFO? Are you familiar with the “Bay Tour”?

Chris

Chris,

Funny you should ask, my FO just told me how to ask for it. I am totally going to next chance I get.

Tory

Tory,

I do it all the time. It helps greatly to be on 1L for departure, although I have gotten it off of 1R. Just ask clearance for the tour and also ask for 1L. You will most likely be cleared to level at 3,000, fly over Yerba Buena and Alcatraz Islands, then out the goal posts of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there they will turn you on course and start your climb. Passengers absolutely love it.

Chris

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Amanda,

Hope everything is going well, haven’t seen an update for some time and just checking in on your instrument phase.

Brady

Hi Brady,

I unfortunately got covid and have had to take some time away from training until I’m fully recovered. I’m hoping to return soon and will keep the updates coming when I do!

Amanda,

Sorry to hear about the health complications involving covid. Wishing the best for your health and continue in training.

Please let us know if there’s anything we can help with.

Brady

I second the Bay Tour departure - such a great view!

I STILL haven’t been able to do one yet. The last time I was in SFO we departed before sunrise. Crossing my fingers for good weather and no delays when I’m there next week.

Tory

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Tory,

No need for sunrise, the Bay Tour is usually available anytime there is good weather. In fact, I think it is equally pretty at night.

Chris

Well there was also a cloud layer that day, but good to know.