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Instrument Proficiency Tips/Ideas?

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General Aviation, Instrument Rating

I have flown well over 200 hours in the last three years - all but about 10 in gliders.

I got an instrument rating in 2007 and was able to stay legal until the following year when I deployed to Iraq for a year. I did an IPC and stayed legal for the next year. Then, I went to Germany for two years - hence the glider flying - and actually got a German power license - but did minimal power flying; it was over $300/hour for a nice 172! I returned home last year and began some refresher training towards doing an IPC. A health issue cropped up, real life got in the way, and eventually I got the special issuance medical in the mail.

I recently spent about three productive hours in a Redbird simulator and 2.1 hours in the air. I'm now ASEL and IFR current. I instruct a couple days a month in gliders. My budget can support about two hours of power flying a month.

I'm now "legal" but I want to become better, smarter, safer at flying in the IFR system. What ideas do you have for a developmental plan that will allow me to grow and maintain currency without the "gotta get six and a hold in today" mentality? I don't mind doing some/all of it with a CFII or a safety pilot.


1 Answers

  1. Mark Kolber on Jun 19, 2014

    Bearing in mind that currency and proficiency are two completely different things:

    1. Plan on an IPC regularly. Going through the required tasks with a CFII is a great way to maintain a decent level of competence. No need to wit until you are not current.

    2. Find a flying buddy. Fore years a friend and I would go up once a month after work, do a couple of approaches and other tasks and then go out for dinner. Caveat – it’s too easy for this one to become about currency without necessarily adding to proficency.

    3. Fly with a CFII periodically without it being an IPC. I think the FAA’s decision some years back to require specific PTS task coverage for an IPC had an unintended consequence of limiting what CFIIs cover. Doing a session with a CFII as part of 6-in-6 currency gives the CFII more leeway to focus on certain tasks without doing everything.

    Then there’s the general admonition to at least file IFR on every cross country flight. Even if in visual conditions, it gets one operating within the “system” which IMO is most of what IFR flight is really about.

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