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6 Answers

Minimum frequency of flights for IFR training?

Asked by: 3069 views Instrument Rating

I'm interested in getting my instrument rating, but I don't think I'll be able to schedule more than one flight a week. Is that frequent enough, or will I just be throwing money away and never progressing?

6 Answers

  1. Ernest R Ortner III on Mar 15, 2012

    When I first started my instrument training I had myself on the once a week plan due to budget issues.  It was not horrible but I could tell, as I’m sure will be pointed out on any number of comments following mine, I spent the first quarter or so of the lesson catching up to the current lesson.  After my first 10 flights I decided to find a way to finance the expense and went with Pilot Finance.  At that point I was then flying about 3-5 times a week and I felt a lot better about what I was getting for my money.  My comfort level was sky high and I had the ability to begin my next lesson learning new information or just progressing upon the proficiency I had gained in my last flight.
    If possible I would say save up your money until you have enough to pay for about 3/4 of your lessons and then start your training from there.  Or attempt to secure some financing from somewhere.
    I am not speaking from a professional stand point, just from experience.  I hope others on here will have different options or ways to work it out.  I am in the same boat now wanting to start my commercial training with a thin bank account.
    Good luck and fly safe.

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  2. Nathan Parker on Mar 15, 2012

    “Is that frequent enough, or will I just be throwing money away and never progressing?”
    It depends on the student and the instructor.  Can you practice on a PC during the week?  Can you spend time during the week chair flying?  If you can only fly once per week, you need to make darned sure that flight happens, which will depend on airplane and instructor availability.  Can you schedule multiple sessions to give you a fallback position if external factors prevent one of the flights from happening?
    Yes, it’s doable, but it will cost you more money and take you longer.  If it’s a cash flow issue, it would be better to save your money for a few months and then start training at least twice per week.

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  3. Kyler Dalton on Mar 15, 2012

    I’d say most of instrument training is learned from books and charts. Agreeing mostly with previous answers, I’d say don’t invest into your flying until you’re sure you can do all of your flight training in one chunk, flying at least 3 days a week. Once your book knowledge is solid, your focus can be on muscle memory which will do much better without the chasm of lost time between flights.

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  4. Bill Trussell on Mar 15, 2012

    Given that every flight is a learning opportunity, whether it is dual with a purpose or just out for a trip around the pattern, I would go with “no” your once a week flying is not a waste of time.  With work pressures the only time I had for instrument training was 7-9PM and I averaged about 1 flight a week even though I owned the plane I was using at the time.
    All time that goes in the log book stays in the log book and the experience does not go away.  Also, I am not sure I am a supporter of the idea that most instrument training is done on the ground.  A solid foundation of instrument scan, workload management, communications experience, familiarity with the aircraft are all gained in the aircraft.  Putting all that with knowledge of process and procedures clearly requires some time on the ground, but a good balance is required to be successful and comfortable, especially in actual conditions

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  5. Ernest R Ortner III on Mar 16, 2012

    I know I already answered but to add a point.  If you have a flight school near you that has a simulator ,and the cost is reasonable for the simulator, I would say use that for the maximum hours you can.  Which all depends on the type of simulator.  If you are looking to do training part 61, §61.65(h) & (i) will tell you the hours you can count from the varying simulators.  If you are looking at doing your training part 141, §141 Appendix C (b) references the hours you can count from a simulator towards the rating.

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  6. Brent on Mar 18, 2012

    Thanks everyone for your thoughtful answers. The primary constraint for me is time. I will try to fly as often as I can, but you’ve helped me realize that even if I have to repeat some lessons and progress more slowly than I would like, I’ll still be getting value out of spending time flying!

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