Do I push for my IFR now, or spend a month or two building hours?

So I’m well into my IFR training at this point and have I believe at least performed most of the necessary skills. I’m getting better with my scan and correcting for errors as well as getting more comfortable dealing with “unexpected” issues. Did two longer lessons where I was logging XC time and had more interaction with ATC. Nothing that made me feel like a failure. ūüôā
My concern at this point is that I still only have about 35 hours XC time and around 30 hours simulated instrument time. Last weekend I flew the family up to NJ to drop my girls off at “camp grandma” for the week so that helped get some additional XC, but I still need Simulated Instrument time as well.

Do I push to get my IFR completed now, or do I take a small break from training and pick up again later (fall / early spring?). My IFR test is good till fall 2018 and I’m sure if I look around I can find someone to split time with. As much I as I want to just get it done, I also don’t want to keep throwing money at Instruction time just for the sake of building hours.

Any, enjoy some photos from my most recent flight!

Networking and opportunities to fly

While not “technically” part of my IFR training, I was given an opportunity to fly in a TBM 700 as it was being delivered to it’s new owner. ¬†Basically the conversation with my friend went something like this:

Friend: ¬†“Hey, you want to go for a flight in a TBM tomorrow”?

Me: ¬†“Are you serious? ¬†If you are I can totally be available.”

Friend: ¬†“Yes I’m serious.”

Next I took to youtube to get a bit more familiar with the TBM. ¬†Not that I was expecting to do anything, but more so I could follow along without asking so many questions. ¬†I brought my flight bag with me but was a bit nervous mounting cameras since this wasn’t my plane and ended up just taking some photos from my cell phone. ¬†(I’m trying to be respectful of the new/old owners as well as to my friend by keeping identifying information out of my posts / photos. ¬†I wanted to share how awesome the aviation community is, not get anyone upset.)

Did practice some of my IFR clearance copying skills and helped out on the radios and got a little bit of time “hand flying” the plane. ¬†Biggest takeaways? ¬†Flight Directors are VERY COOL, the plane is fast, and the controls are heavier than I expected. ¬†I would LOVE to own one of these, or be in a partnership where I could have access to it, but for now this is outside of my financial means. ¬†Doesn’t mean I can’t dream.




Back on the IR training horse

Well after a series of long breaks due to my schedule as well as my instructors schedule not lining up, I was able to get in an hour of IR training yesterday. ¬†I’m amazed at how quickly the skills I was building up have vanished! ¬†My self-debrief was basically that I was disappointed in my performance and am not where I want to be. ¬†Feedback from my instructor (as well as some others at the airfield) were all similar; ¬†IR training is hard and it take time for it to “click”. ¬†If you are not regularly flying twice a week (or more), you can’t expect to progress. ¬†Difference between logic and emotion. ¬†Logically I completely understand, but it still doesn’t change how I feel. ¬†ūüėõ

The remainder of the day was pretty awesome. ¬†I was able to hang out for a bit and give a debrief of S&F to my instructor and a local RV pilot (Robert). ¬†Who doesn’t love talking about aviation, or about the cools things they saw at the latest airshow / vendor booths. ¬†Also retold the story of how my opportunity to fly the Vans demo RV10 didn’t happen. ¬†A few more stories later, and Robert offered to take me up in his -7 for a quick flight from VKX to Cambridge and back before our IMC Club meeting. ¬†DONE!

Quickly file our FRZ / SFRA flight plans and it’s time to pull the plane out of the hangar. ¬†This was a whole bunch of firsts for me. ¬†Taildragger, CS prop, Glass, High Performance, Stick vs Yoke. ¬†I’ll admin, I think I was drooling most of the flight. ¬†Did I get an RV Grin? ¬†Yep!

Robert was awesome and took me over to a quiet area to practice some maneuvers to get a feel of the plane.  I was totally nervous as this thing had so much power, and was EXTREMELY responsive on the controls.  I think the most jarring was when he was having me do a stall in the -7.  I was rightfully nervous applying full power to recover from the stall, so I was totally wimpy in my stall and recovery.  Robert then demonstrated it and I swear the power compared to the weight is insane.  He really knows his plane and was very generous in letting me tag along!  Luckily I was able to provide a small amount of value as I helped fix a minor issue with his on-board GPS.  If only I could get my piloting skills up to the same level as my Tech skills!

Finished up with a great discussion in our local IMC Club where I continue to learn a lot and ask what I’m sure others consider “silly” questions. ¬†Hey, this is how you learn right?

Overall it was a great day of flying and hanging out with fellow pilots at the airport. ¬†Can’t beat that.


IR training, Weather and Schedules

So I have only had one lesson in the last 3 weeks due to my work schedule as well as weather. ¬†(I really don’t want to see what’s it like landing with the winds are 20G35 in my Cessna 172!)

That one lesson I did have however made it clear just how quickly you can take a step backwards in your training.  First half of the lesson I was having difficulty keeping altitude and heading, but slowly got back to where I needed to be.  Got to try a VOR approach as well as some hold entries.  Overall not my finest hour, but at least I did it.

Question becomes do I try to get in a handful of lessons knowing that I’m going to have a few weeks between now and the middle of April where I can’t fly, or do I just go up on my own and do some pattern work / VFR flights.

IR Training… continued

So I’m getting along in my IR training. ¬†I’m getting much better and am able to hold altitude, heading, airspeed. ¬†Granted when I’m asked to enter an approach into the GPS, I’m not keeping my scan up as well as I should. ¬†Progress to be sure, and basically at ACS standards from what my CFII is telling me, but it’s not as good as I want to be. ¬†Just need more practice and hours.

1/2 way done with my XC hours, and only 1/3 of the way for instrument hours. ¬†Weather and work schedule have made flying a bit hit or miss, but I’m moving forward.

Starting my IR rating

Decided I wanted to get my IR rating and continue my education in aviation. ¬†Bought the Kings IR ground school videos and finished going through all the lessons over the last month or so. ¬†Decided to just schedule my IR written and get that knocked out while it was all still fresh in my mind. ¬†Honestly it’s just one less thing I need to worry about. ¬†Was pretty confident, and ended up getting over 90% on it.

This afternoon I did my first IR Lesson. ¬†Let’s just say it was a humbling experience. ¬†I was so mentally drained by the time we were headed back to the airfield I ended up going around and needed an assist from my CFI. ¬†Not how I really wanted to start, but I understand that I’m learning and that’s why I’m paying my CFI. ¬†(Granted I was in an unfamiliar airplane so I think the deck was a little stacked against me. ¬†Nothing unsafe, just a lot of new things being thrown at me all at once).


I’m a Pilot! Passed my PPL Check Ride

To start off, I’m truly excited that I have passed my check ride and am now hold a vaild PPL license. ¬†The last few months have been a bit of a struggle between my schedule, the weather, and my instructor moving to the west coast.

Overall, the check ride was not as bad as I made it out in my mind. ¬†Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a “walk in the park” and I was sure I was going to screw it up, but I had an AWESOME DPE. ¬†Oral Exam was the easy part in my mind. ¬†Basically just me sitting down with the DPE and talking about airplanes and what I would do in different situations. ¬†He also spend time talking about the ACS and how even the DPE’s were getting additional training on how to administer the tests to be in compliance with the new rules. ¬†Honestly it sounds like the changes in the ACS while easy to read, are being applied differently by the different DPE’s. ¬† Lucky my DPE knew his stuff (and basically “knows” everyone) to the point where he had to take a call from the local FSDO during the middle of my oral exam.

The practical was for me nerve racking.  HOT day with swirling air over the field (unstable air) made my pattern work difficult.  My air work away from the field felt like I was spot on.  Good radio calls and control of the aircraft.

First landing was good (soft field landing) but upon landing it looked like the wind shifted and I should change runway direction.  My personal opinion, this is where I should have just followed through with what I wanted to do (pull off the active, and get myself reset) vs just taxing to the other end of the runway.  Nothing that failed me, but I let myself get rattled and allowed myself to defer to the wisdom of the DPE (who I completely respect).

I had a bit of a wide / long pattern (due to me being nervous) and was so focused on the short field and slip to land techniques, that I didn’t pay close enough attention to the cross wind and had to demonstrate my go-around. ¬†Again, I am harder on myself than my DPE was.

End of the day, all maneuvers were good and I did show good control of the airplane as well as good judgement as PIC.

Time Keeps Marching On

So my flight training continues, however I seem to be hitting a wall. ¬†I’ve done my first XC solo, Night flights, Night landings, Towered landings, etc. ¬†I’m have been attempting to do my long XC solo, however mother nature and my schedule have made that difficult. ¬†Due to work schedule and family commitments, I only have a few days per week that are available to me for flying. ¬†Six times I have attempted to launch on my long XC, only to have the weather not work in my favor. ¬†Such a bummer. ¬†My hope is that tomorrow may FINALLY be the day to complete my long XC. ¬†After that I have a stage check as I’ll have all the necessary hours (short 1 hour of simulated IMC). ¬†This means I’m in the final stretch as I go back to practice my power-on and power-off stalls, steep turns, etc.

On the work-shop front, I’m trying to create some storage space to get all of our CRAP out of the garage. ¬†Putting plywood in our main attic (with some additional insulation) to create some storage for non-heat sensitive items. ¬†Also installing a pull-down attic ladder in the garage so I can then add insulation above my garage and plywood to move things up off the floor so I have space to build. ¬†Goal is to have all the attic work done over the summer so we can start using this space.

No movement on tools or the first kit. ¬†Been taking the kids to different aviation events. ¬†Udvar-hazy, local fly-ins, etc. ¬†Got to meet Mitchell Lock from Vans Aircraft at a local event and sit in his RV-10. ¬†Already have a standing offer to take me and the wife up for a test flight as soon as we are ready. ¬†I personally can’t wait, but don’t think my wife is there yet. ¬†Oh well.

Hopefully next update I’ll add some photos of my storage project as well as an update on my check-ride!

Training continues

Training continues on my PPL.  Next flight is my solo XC and looking forward to it.

Saw an ad up for a Emp kit for $1000 that someone on was looking to unload quickly. ¬†I REALLY wanted to snatch it up, but at the end of the day I really need to wait to make sure this is the right path. ¬†Also, I’ll just say that as much as I want to save a few $$$ and hours, I really want the right to say I built the WHOLE THING by myself. ¬†Every success and failure will be mine.

I’m about 40 hours into my training, and have solo and XC’s that I need to get knocked out. ¬†After that it’s time to buckle down hone my skills before my flight test. ¬†I’m really looking forward to getting my ticket and taking the family up for a flight!