Last night I attended the first night of a 10 week course (3 hours for 1 night each week) to prepare for the FAA's Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) knowledge test. As part of reinforcing what we cover each week, I'm trying to write up a quick summary of each night's topics.
Introductions & Overview
Most of the first night was spend on introductions (meeting each other and our instructor), an overview of how the class will work, and some refreshers on various topics we all learned during our private pilot training.
For additional reading, he suggested Jeppesen's Instrument/Commercial Manual and the FAA's Instrument Procedures Handbook. I'm told that those two do a better job of understanding the whole air traffic system and rationale behind why IFR operations work the way they doing.
Since I tend to remember things better when I understand why they work the way they do, I'm tempted to pick up those as well.
Finally, I have the King Schools Get It All Kit for the Instrument Rating. I've used their videos in the past and found them to be far superior to those from Sporty's.
VFR vs. IFR
- Charts have altitude info you need
- Get through weather
- Don't get stuck as often
- Longer routes (takes more gas and time)
- Have to deal with controllers and radio
- Higher workload
Human Factors and Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)
We spent a fair amount of time reviewing human factors, including medical issues, illusions, disorientation, night vision, and stress. We also talked about the FAA's IMSAFE (Illness, Medical, Stress, Alcohol, Fatigue, and Eats) self-assessment checklist.
In the real of ADM, we briefly recalled the FAA's DECIDE (Detect, Estimate, Choose, Identify actions, Do, Evaluate) model for dealing with situations. Everyone has to learn it, but few people actually think through it that way in reality.
Cockpit/Crew Resource Management (CRM)
Cockpit or Crew Resource Management is going to be a much more important skill to develop in IFR flight than our normal VFR operations. There's more paperwork in the cockpit, instruments to watch, and radio communication to deal with. So having a logical and predicatable system for organizing the physical objects (checklists, books, charts, flight plans, etc.) and other information is critical.
Having your flight plan handy is good for when the controller says "cleared as filed" rather than giving you a set of waypoints to copy down. :-)
We concluded with a review of basic aerodynamics, including: indexing the airplane performance (for speeds and descent rates), angle of attack, flight path, pitch attitude, lift/drag/thrust/weight, and the various V speeds that come into play. We also talked a bit about the region of normal command and aircraft speed & pitch stability when using trim.
I learned that following the VASI exactly at an airport will set you down at the 1,000 foot mark on most runways. That could be a very useful bit of trivia.
We also had chances to share stories about being, uh... surprised by weather in our flying.
Posted by jzawodn at September 20, 2007 11:09 AM