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).