Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

4 Answers

Private and Instrument at the same time?

Asked by: 6358 views , , ,
Instrument Rating, Student Pilot

Let me first start with the fact that I think flying without a visual reference is about the coolest thing in the world. One of the things that makes flying so cool: not only can you move in three directions, you can do it without seeing where you're going and still get home! Try that in a car (hyperbole, I know).


All that's to say when I started to plan on getting my ticket, the instrument rating was as as I could after.


Fast forward today, for various reasons I had to take a break from my initial private training. I'm due to start back up in the spring. This time I have budgeted six lessons (with instructor) a month. Not quite the 8 recommended (twice a week), but, enough that I could keep going as long as, I dunno, I don't lose my job or the mob finally finds me and makes me pay them back.


So here's the question. Can you train for both at the same time? I know I could set up my private cross countries to work towards the 50 for the IR, the 40 sim/actual time, sure..no prob.


I guess the follow up, is: is it smart to do so?


Lastly, if you were going to attempt this, how would you ask your CFI to train you? Similarly: If you wouldn't attempt this, what would you ask your CFI to do to prep you for it (e.g. maybe train to the IFR PTS standards, not the Private?).

4 Answers

  1. Wesley Beard on Feb 18, 2011

    There are approved part 141 private and instrument courses.  These courses make extensive use of scenario based training and researchers have found that the end product makes safer choices when it goes to the go / no-go decision.  See this AVWeb Article.  There is a company at KTUS that has an approved Part 141 private/instrument course.  I am sure there are others like the in Mountain State University in the article.
    The private pilot certificate is all about learning how to fly the airpane using OUTSIDE references.  I think too many pilots don’t remember or didn’t learn what cues to use on the outside of the airplane to set the proper flight attitude.  In my opinion, only after the attitude is set outside do I confirm with the instruments I am doing what I want to do.  The technique is, when transferring to instrument flying, is to use those same cues on the attitude indicator.  In fact, using the primary and secondary method or control and performance method, the attitude is primary when adjusting the flight attitude.  Only once that attitude is set, the other instruments are cross checked. 
    Can you train for both at the same time?  Yes… but I would advise using an approved private / instrument course. 
    Is it smart to do so?  If it is an approved course… absolutely.  If it is not, I would make sure I learn first visual flying outside the airplane for the private and then instrument flying.  The dual cross countries for your private pilot certificate cannot count towards the 50hrs needed for the instrument rating.  The 3hrs of flying by reference to instruments will count towards the 40hrs necessary. 

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  2. Earl Kessler on Feb 18, 2011

    Although you want to shortcut the cost and time of training for your instrument ticket, you are shortchanging yourself with what I believe is the most complex airplane rating you can achieve.  I suggest your shortcut your training time by using a simulator pc program at home to become familiar with the ins and outs of the IFR system while studying for your written exam.  Since the time requirements haven’t changed in many years, but the system has become more complex, augmenting your training by immersing yourself in a homestudy as I suggested will make your training go faster, help reinforce your formal CFII training and save you time and money.

    +5 Votes Thumb up 5 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  3. Micah on Mar 02, 2011

    I’ll start my response from the backend, with an anecdote from a conversation I had a few days ago with a friend:
    “I don’t think I would do IFR training in a Baron… that’s two difficult things to master at once (flying the Baron, flying instruments”
    later in the conversation, my response (more or less):
    “I would never advise a student to take on IFR training in a new airplane. Learn the IFR system (system of thought) in a platform you know; if you already know how to fly a Baron it’s not much that extra work”
    Another anecdote: A seasoned instructor told me early on that he enjoyed teaching instrument students because they all knew how to fly.
    I don’t think I would ever advise any student to combine instrument training with any other aspect of flight training. I know that Instrument/Commercial combos are pretty common, but I wouldn’t do that either. To boil down the objectives of each piece of training, I would say that
    Private Pilot = learn how to fly
    Instrument Rating = learn how to fly the instruments / fly the system
    Commercial = prove that you can fly with precision
    For most of us, these can be some pretty large steps. There are certainly some specific cases where doing more than one aspect of training at a time does not have negative effects, and you may be one of those cases, but generally speaking I would not advise anyone to take a combined approach. It’s just too much at once in almost all cases. Or, to put it another way: how can you ever expect to learn to control the airplane solely by instrument refernce when you haven’t yet learned to fly the airplane?
    Plus, the reward of achieving your license is usually a major advantage. Now you know you can fly–you’ve proven it to yourself and the world–and you’re ready for the next challenge.

    +1 Votes Thumb up 1 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  4. Charles Copley on Jun 19, 2011

    If you had the time and money I highly recommend combining both Private and Instrument in one syllabus if you were going to use your license for personal transportation or a profession. It is more difficult to fly 6 times a week and make the type progress you would otherwise do at 10-12 times/ that can increase time and money requirments because some reteaching will be required.
    The Private Pilot courses are mostly designed for small aircraft, low tech, and weekend flying from the 1950’s. Most of my clients are using the aircraft for personal transportation around the country in modern TA aircraft with high tech nav systems.
    faa.gov/training_testing/training/fits,     All FITS products are non-regulatory and incentive driven. FITS is focused on the redesign of general aviation training. Instead of training pilots to pass practical test, FITS focuses on expertly manage real-world challenges. Scenario based training is used to enhance the GA pilots’ aeronautical decision making, risk management, and single pilot resource management skills. We do this without compromising basic stick and rudder skills
    Cirrus has developed a scenario based combined private/ instrument syllabus, Access to Flight, it’s OK and it works. You will still need 50 hrs of XC PIC. I feel you will become a better pilot for todays flying and todays problems. What ever you do, good luck and have fun doing it.

    0 Votes Thumb up 0 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.