Staying Instrument Proficient

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Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by John Munn on Mar 15, 2017 9:30 am

Hi everyone, I recently got my instrument rating and I've been told the hard part is staying proficient and current. How do my fellow IFR pilots keep up on those skills and not get rusty? 
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Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Elizabeth Linares on Apr 28, 2017 1:17 pm

This is going to sound really weird and is more tangentially related to IFR flying, but bear with me....

Video games.

Stay with me here. My first couple of flights under the hood were no fun. I got really nauseated and embarrassing enough did throw up (Only a little though!). I rarely ever got motion sickness so it was a bit of a surprise despite warnings from my instructors that it might happen. 

Fast forward a year or two. I’m a rated pilot a couple of months out of currency dating my husband. I ask him to teach me how to play Halo so I could join him in this video game stuff he does. After figuring out that I move through 3D digital worlds like a plane moves through the air (pitching forward to look down etc…) we were on our way! But twenty minutes later I was so dizzy I had to stop. I didn’t throw up this time, but it was the same feeling as my first IFR training flight. Subsequent attempts played out similarly to training. Each time I lasted a little longer until eventually I could play just as well as everyone else.

So while it’s not a substitute for practicing approaches in real life or at least in a sim with proper controls. It might be something that could help maintain your IFR scan which in turn will allow you to focus on other things while flying and hopefully make getting back into IFR flying after an absence a little smoother. * 
 
*This is not to say you should buy the latest video game console and first person shooter game. Save that time and money for proficiency flying!

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Jon Gandy on Apr 28, 2017 1:23 pm

Yeah, I used to live on a flight simulator and oddly enough I have been told I have really great handling of an aircraft.

You have no frame of reference when it comes to "feeling" what the airplane is doing, so you are forced to be solely dependant on what your seeing.  Which is EXACTLY what you need to do in the IFR environment.  So SIM it up!
Where'd he go? Hollywood said, Where'd who goooooo?

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Elizabeth Linares on Apr 28, 2017 1:38 pm

Yeah, I would agree there are cases where it's easier to fly the plane than to fly a simulator. It's also cheaper so you get more training for your buck!

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Todd Shellnutt on Apr 28, 2017 8:43 pm

Probably the best, and most economical, is the use of a quality flight simulator that closely resembles the aircraft you are currently flying. In addition to the sim, a CFII who can work closely with you in a scenario based environment dealing with real world situations is also an absolute must. If your training seems easy, then interview another CFII in the sim and see if you start to feel challenged. This is what I do, and it seems to work good enough for me stay proficient. 

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Jon Gandy on May 1, 2017 8:46 am

Elizabeth Linares:
Yeah, I would agree there are cases where it's easier to fly the plane than to fly a simulator. It's also cheaper so you get more training for your buck!

So whats great about that challenge is, if you can get good or even adequate in the sim you will be great in the aircraft.
Where'd he go? Hollywood said, Where'd who goooooo?

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Joshua Morowitz on Jun 3, 2017 4:48 pm

There is no substitute for the real thing. Every two or three months, if I haven't had enough IFR approaches, I pick a rainy/cloudy day and go fly three or four approaches. There is no pressure to get somewhere, and you can pick weather appropriate to your needs. One down side of looking for bad weather- a couple of times I could not get back into my home field and had to land elsewhere and wait foe the weather to lift a bit. Hey, thats real world experience too.

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Karol Zadora-Przylecki on Jun 3, 2017 9:19 pm

Agree with Joshua, but there is much more that you can do.Check out http://www.eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=5098598038001 

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Ronald Levy on Jun 12, 2017 9:26 am

Joshua Morowitz:
There is no substitute for the real thing. Every two or three months, if I haven't had enough IFR approaches, I pick a rainy/cloudy day and go fly three or four approaches. There is no pressure to get somewhere, and you can pick weather appropriate to your needs. One down side of looking for bad weather- a couple of times I could not get back into my home field and had to land elsewhere and wait foe the weather to lift a bit. Hey, thats real world experience too.

There's no need to wait for a rainy/cloudy day.  You can still get a lot out of filing IFR and requesting to fly one of the published approaches rather than a visual approach when you fly somewhere.  You're still exercising the procedures including navigation and communication even if you're not flying solely by reference to the instruments.

Re: Staying Instrument Proficient

Posted by Aaron Swank on Jun 19, 2017 7:50 am

In addition to the items in the other posts:  make friends with another IFR pilot. Trade off flying right seat for each other in simulated IFR  (hood, foggles etc) and practice approaches.  I find I always learn something while sitting in the right seat.  You will get even more out of it if the avionics are similar and the planes are similar.