Flight Training – Instrument Enablement Basics – Crucial Early Hours

Today I am going to write about one aspect of IFR training, and one of the most vital aspects of instrument qualification out there. This concerns both CFIIs and pilots. The need to be able to fly the aircraft accurately. That means training what I like to call zero tolerance, zero. That means killed at an altitude, killed on a heading. Pilots pressure to rush to make approaches, holds, etc. It will end up being completely detrimental to them in the long run, and as of yet, they are unable to understand the negative impact this will have. Pilots new to IFR training must understand the need to master precision flight skills before learning to fly holds, holding entrances, and more.

I get questions from pilots all the time, like, “Why do I have to spend all this time doing this? When can we move on to the good stuff?” and similar questions. These questions are indicative of a pilot who has no concept or understanding of the absolute need to master this skill before advancing further in the program of studies. As CFII, it is our responsibility to convince new IFR students that without this skill, probably the most important skill in IFR, they will never be good and safe IFR pilots. Acquiring this skill will allow them to fly safely, allowing them to manage their instrument flight workload effectively and efficiently.

IFR student pilots, embrace this phase of your training, learn to fly the aircraft accurately in any configuration, learn to adjust the aircraft for climb, decent level flight, airspeed. Clipping skills will be the most valuable weapon in your IFR arsenal. Once you have mastered that skill, it will make the rest of your IFR training that much easier. If you decide to take shortcuts and rush, you will consequently be fighting the course to the end, your confidence will suffer, and you will feel dejected and disappointed.

You will spend a fair amount of time without your fingertips to perform other tasks, you will not be able to do this if you have to make corrections to maintain your desired bearings and altitudes. In smooth air, your aircraft will adjust exactly to maintain an altitude and you can maintain an exact heading with your feet on the rudder pedals. A consistent and competent demonstration of these skills will be the cue for your instrument instructor to advance you to the next phase of your training, without allowing your newly acquired skill to recede. If you haven’t realized it by now, you have now mastered a great skill and are already well above your VFR peers. Later in your qualification and embarking on actual IFR flights, you should have already realized how essential this skill is. In busy airspace, typically Class B, “Air Traffic Control” takes altitude deviations very seriously, an altitude deviation could cause a violation. At the very least, one call to the control tower.

Instrument flight rules and instrument training should not be taken lightly.