Instrument Rating – December Update

The weather in Michigan has been pretty rough for flying over the last 4 weeks.  A typical winter day has been an overcast layer of around 1000-2000 ft and temperatures around freezing.  Not the best conditions to be hopping around the area doing instrument approaches.

Since I haven’t been flying much I have been studying for my instrument written.  My typical studying technique includes reading the ASA text books and also using the ASA Prepware iPad application to study possible questions for the exam.  I ended up reading through the entire apps database of question just to see the variety of questions they might throw at me.  I needed a 70 to pass and ended up with a 97. That’ll do.

I have about 8 hours of pilot in command cross country time and simulated instrument time left.  Due to the holidays I imagine I’ll try and finish those up in January if I can get weather good enough to fly consistently for over the course of a week or two to get enough preparation for my check-ride.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to setup my cameras, audio equipment and do much editing. The last couple flights I’ve just slapped up a camera to have it captured. I’ll try to classy it up again in the near future. I would like to get some more flights recorded from the tail of the plane.

A couple hours edited down to 10 minutes on a nice afternoon. No audio.

Flew to GRR, MKG, MBS, FPK in some IMC. No audio.


MSU scenic flight with Huddy

Went flying with Alison and my buddy Paul the day after the MSU OSU game.  Our original plan was to fill the plane up with a few more folks and head to Shorts Brewery up north. But after looking at the forecast we decided to just do something short and easy.

Since he is also an MSU alumni a flight over campus is always a good first flight.  It’s easy to get from Charlotte to East Lansing via a trip by the Capitol and overflying Lansing.

As I’m still building up PIC/XC time after flying over campus we flew the extra 20 minutes or so to Flint and did a touch and go to get that 50NM distance minimum out of the way.

For being an overcast day we ran into a bit more general aviation traffic than I would have expected.  There was someone in the pattern when we left Charlotte, a nice looking Cirrus flying into Lansing and a few other planes we eyeballed on the way there.

Didn’t run the GoPro today, but did get some photos.


250NM IFR requirement complete, and I’m now free to fly my plane!

I needed 2.2 hours to complete my checkout due to insurance requirements for my Cherokee 6/300.  Patrick and I utilized this time to do my 250NM IFR cross country flight with 3 different instrument approaches to fulfill my training requirement.

We flew from Charlotte (KFPK) to Toledo, Ohio (KTOL) via the JXN VOR and flew an ILS approach into Toledo.  We then flew north towards Saginaw (KMBS) and did a VOR approach with a circle to land.  After Saginaw we flew back to Charlotte and did a GPS approach.  The weather was overcast when we left and I was able to get an hour of actual instrument conditions, the remainder of the time I flew with the foggles in simulated conditions.  Total flight time was 3.1.

250 NM cross country


Instrument Training Reality Check

Whoa. Patrick my instructor challenged me to take a practice instrument rating test to see how my proficiency was coming along. I was pretty astonished that I passed (a practice test). I have been reading through the books here and there but haven’t been really studying.  However, this was a great move on his part, because it definitely gave me the boost of motivation I needed to stop just reading the material and actually start studying for the exam.

What I also realized is that my log book is filling up pretty quick.  While we have been working on my required 10 hours of flight required to solo in my Cherokee 6 (insurance requirement) we have also been using that time to continue working on my IFR proficiency.  Last flight I was really feeling that things were starting to click. We flew a couple VOR approaches and a GPS approach.  The GPS approaches I got pretty quick because the Garmin 530 is usually in GPS mode. It took me a little while to get past going through the motions to really understanding setting up the VOR and LOC approaches. Which, I think, was working out pretty well for me during the last flight.

With the boost of encouragement from my practice test I did some hour totaling in my log book and found out I have the following to accomplish to wrap up my IFR training.

  • 2.2 left of flight time in the Cherokee
  • 250NM cross country flight flying 3 different approaches
  • 12.7 hour of simulated / actual instrument conditions time
  • 17.3 pilot in command / cross country time

I thought I had a lot of time left, but this actually isn’t that much since I am hoping to fly to Nashville and also Florida in the next couple of months.  Wow, this was a real dose of reality. I was thinking around April, but if I keep up some of this momentum I might be able to take my written in November and checkride in late December.

After I did the above numbers I shot Patrick a text to change our flight plan for tomorrow. Instead of just working on some local work and knocking out the remaining dual time required in the Cherokee I decided we should probably go ahead and do my 250NM flight and get that out of the way.  Based on my calculations that should be 2.2 – 2.5 PIC/XC and 2 of instrument.

Should take care of the last bit of my Cherokee requirement and my 250NM flight.