Instrument Rating

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Hone your IFR skills

Article | Sep 19, 2012

Flying IFR is a dynamic undertaking - and not just because of the weather. Find out how to keep your knowledge and skills up to date.

Working group to offer training reforms

Advocacy | Sep 13, 2012

A committee advising the FAA on ways to enhance flight safety with improved training and testing materials has established a working group to propose initial revisions and reforms by September 2013, with the aviation-training industry playing a major role in the project.

Best-selling author injured in aircraft accident

Article | Sep 01, 2012

Pilot and author Richard Bach is in serious condition, according to media reports, after his aircraft reportedly crashed while attempting to land in Washington State.

Safety Pilot Landmark Accident: Pointing fingers

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2012

This month's Landmark Accident is notable not because of the accident; visual flight into marginal VFR or instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) is not as rare as it should be. There are constant reminders by the Air Safety Institute and most aviation publications and websites that this is not a life-prolonging activity. Rather, it was the legal maneuvering afterward that nearly changed the training landscape.

Veteran flies veteran on milestone mission

Article | Aug 23, 2012

Don Catalano says the best days of his life are when he gets the chance to transport wounded warriors and other patients in his Piper Meridian as a volunteer pilot for Patient Airlift Services.

Airport (and a dream) for sale in Illinois

Article | Aug 09, 2012

It all started when a Midwestern farmer plowed up his corn to pursue a dream. People came. But there was still a cold, hard world out there, and eventually the dream fell into jeopardy. Now, Galt Field is up for sale for $2.9 million, not bad considering it comes with a renovated farm house, 19 other buildings, FBO, hangars, maintenance shop, and 2,500-gallon fuel facility.

Resuming the Journey: Alaska mountain flying

Article | Aug 08, 2012

The two pilots took off in a Cessna 172 from a private 2,200-foot grass strip in Alaska and headed for Wiseman, about 40 miles east. The pilots were going to fly through the mountain passes of the Brooks Range, not over them, using that tried and true navigation: pilotage. The highest peak on the chart was 5,903 feet.

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.