Instrument Rating

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IFR Fix: Dangerous game

IFR Fix | Aug 03, 2012

With heartbreaking regularity, VFR pilots, often flying high-performance aircraft, continue to tangle with instrument weather despite odds that never improve for that dangerous game. Whether the result is a graveyard spiral from spatial disorientation, or colliding with terrain in a bid to escape weather, pilots keep trying, often with passengers.

Pilots: Spencer Suderman

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2012

Ask Spencer Suderman why he is an aerobatic airshow performer, and he’ll tell you straight out: “Because I’m a narcissist. I like people to watch what I do.” He’ll tell you that with a self-deprecating grin and a twinkle in his brown eyes because, although he talks a big game, he’s actually a big, fun-loving softie who was nauseated every time he went under the hood while working on his instrument rating.

IFR Fix: Checkup to Chester

IFR Fix | Jul 27, 2012

What's the reciprocal of 235 degrees? What's the short-field landing procedure for the aircraft you usually fly IFR? All of that's relevant today because you are taking a proficiency flight to the serene country airfield in Chester, Conn.

Topsy-turvy course hooks lifetime flyers, customers

Article | Jul 11, 2012

In the skies over northern Massachusetts, generations of pilots have taken their first taste of a world turned upside down, an introduction to flight inverted that leaves a lasting impression. Many have gone on to learn aerobatics, or get a taildragger endorsement: this kind of flying is pure fun. There's also a serious purpose behind unusual attitude training--just ask any small airplane pilot who has been caught in the wake vortex of an airliner. Learning to master spins, and spin recovery, is another step to building confidence as a pilot, and the skills needed to stay in control no matter what.

IFR Fix: Routine ride, or psychological thriller?

Article | Jun 29, 2012

To hear the passenger talk about it, it had been one harrowing flight. No words of distress had been spoken in the cockpit or on the radio, but you know what they say about cutting tension with a knife. Was the cover-up worse than the crime?

IFR Fix: What's 'visual'?

IFR Fix | Jun 25, 2012

All it take is a cross-channeled radio to blockade the airspace and breed bedlam. On any IFR flight in moderate weather, pilots face the decision: Cancel aloft, possibly speeding up the arrival, or remain on the IFR flight plan to touchdown.

Resuming the Journey: Wrapping up the flight review

Article | Jun 25, 2012

After nearly a decade on the ground, a pilot wraps up a thorough five-lesson flight review. On to soft-field landings, short runways, no towers, and lots of adventure in Alaska.

FAA accepts knowledge-test reform plan

Advocacy | Jun 21, 2012

The FAA has embraced the majority of an advisory committee's recommendations for improving its testing materials in a prompt show of its support for the joint effort with the aviation industry to improve pilot knowledge tests.

IFR Fix: What's 'actual'?

IFR Fix | Jun 18, 2012

A pilot turns to the current page of his logbook to enter the day's data after a two-hour, 30-minute IFR flight. How much actual instrument time should he log?

Resuming the Journey: Short- and soft-field takeoffs, Alaska style

Article | Jun 12, 2012

Can short- and soft-field practice at a 5,200-foot pave runway prepare this pilot for operating on a 1,700-foot grass runway, with the last 500 feet sloping downhill at a 15-percent grade?

IFR Fix: Sigmet surprise

IFR Fix | Jun 11, 2012

You hesitate to cut off your friends' chatter as a short radio call (a Center Weather Advisory) comes and goes. Whatever. You'll have to try to catch up with that radio call at some point. But it's getting bumpy--and surprise, it's raining! Your right-seat passenger is dying to ask you what a "convective sigmet" is, but refrains because you appear preoccupied.

American Flyers partners with university on aviation program

Article | Jun 01, 2012

American Flyers and Nova Southeastern University are hoping to train more pilots at a time when many in the aviation industry have predicted a pilot shortage.

IFR Fix: The value-added pilot

Article | Jun 01, 2012

An instrument rating opens doors, but with privilege comes obligation. When IFR and VFR worlds collide, instrument pilots whose pride of place has gone awry have been known to evoke the ire of others.

Safety Pilot: Landmark Accidents: Three strikes

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2012

In baseball, it’s three strikes and you’re out. In aviation, after a critical foul-up you might get another chance.

'Snoopy 1' travels country, visits DC area

Article | May 31, 2012

The MetLife blimp travels with a crew of 13, including the pilots, mechanics, and crew, along with three trailers that carry all the equipment. Snoopy 1 films PGA tournaments, football games, and horse races.

Resuming the Journey: More takeoffs and landings

Article | May 30, 2012

Her confidence shaken after a bruising round of touch and goes, a pilot returning to flying after a long hiatus sought the wisdom of two experienced pilots.

IFR Fix: The Casanova overshoot

IFR Fix | May 25, 2012

Of all the ways an IFR flight can get off to a rocky start, hearing air traffic control ask where you think you're going must be one of the most painful.

IFR Fix: Power and forgiveness

IFR Fix | May 18, 2012

You have an instrument rating, and now, a distant destination. Time to book your old IFR trainer for a new kind of outing. Wait - here's a better idea. It's time to start flying aircraft designed with long-distance travel in mind.

IFR Fix: And, what are we forgetting?

IFR Fix | May 04, 2012

The voice checked in with approach, reporting "out of ten for three with Foxtrot," or something like that. He received and acknowledged instructions to expect the ILS. Then the voice made a curious request. "And Approach, how about saying the localizer frequency for that."

IFR Fix: The way it WAAS

IFR Fix | Apr 27, 2012

Remember curved approaches? Pilots of a certain age recall a time when pilots flew their ILS approaches with the thought in mind that, someday, a technology called the microwave landing system would change the way aircraft got down through the stuff. Now, thanks to satellite-based navigation, GPS approaches are doing the job.

Many pilots play roles in next chapter of spaceflight

Article | Apr 26, 2012

A successful test of parachutes that will safely ease the Orion manned spacecraft to landing was overshadowed by the final flight of the space shuttle Discovery on April 17. In Houston, the Arizona desert, and elsewhere, Orion's test and development crew, many of them pilots, were focused on the future.