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Book review: ‘Single-Pilot IFR Pro Tips’

Beyond the pink shirt

Don’t let the dry title fool you. Single-Pilot IFR Pro Tips by Gary Reeves is a lively read full of unconventional wisdom.

Photo by Chris Rose.

Reeves, the FAA’s 2019 Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year and the force behind PilotSafety.org is a thoroughly knowledgeable, insightful, and memorable teacher who backs up his recommendations with real-world examples. I’ve flown with Reeves, and he’s got encyclopedic knowledge of IFR procedures; he’s a wizard with aviation technology; and if you ask him nicely, he won’t wear the Pepto-Bismol pink shirts that have become a hallmark in his videos and live presentations.

The 183-page book’s large print makes it seem relatively short. It only takes a few hours to read, and those of us who have attended a Reeves seminar or two will hear his distinctive voice in our heads throughout the process.

Some of his points are:

  • Declare aerial emergencies early and often.
  • File and fly IFR on just about every flight.
  • Tell ATC “unable” if you feel an instruction jeopardizes safety.
  • Fly simulators.
  • Use your autopilot extensively.
  • Lower your landing gear far from the airport.
  • When practicing instrument approaches in visual conditions, notify the controlling authority.
  • Listen before you talk.
  • Make your own aircraft checklists.

Personally, I agree with Reeves most of the time—but even when I disagree (I like VFR; fly fast on IFR approaches, don’t lower the gear until glideslope intercept, and use manufacturers’ checklists), his points are provocative, well-argued, and backed up with examples from his vast experience. He tells you what he thinks, and why he thinks it.

Reeves is a highly sought-after instructor and lecturer. Reading his book is like taking a two-hour lesson with him—and that makes the book’s $29.95 price seem like a bargain.

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
Topics: IFR, Training and Safety, Gear

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