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Thread: Private IFR rating and Commercial IFR rating ?

  1. #1

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    Private IFR rating and Commercial IFR rating ?

    Correct me if I am wrong but flying in the clouds, with the help of instruments, started as a neccessity for commercial (mail, passengers cargo, etc) and military operations. 1929, Doolittle did the first ''blind approach''. From this time, instruments and airplanes improved. My guess is that IFR operation was mostly done by professionnals and private pilots slowly started to get their IFR rating. The IFR rating is a big step from flying VFR and after earning your rating you need to continue to practice and to be sharp....like a professionnal but in general, a private pilot is not a professionnal pilot. Some private pilot with put the energy, and the money, to get their rating but after some time some of them will stop flying IFR because they don't use it, practice it, anough. On the flight test, and at recurrency, we need to execute approaches at 200 ft AGL, do holds (offset, parrallel, direct, standard and not standard), etc, etc. I don't think that most of us need to do an approach at 200 ft. 1000 ft ceiling is good anough for me. If we could have a lighter version for the IFR rating, a private IFR, then I think more pilots would continue to fly IFR and more pilots would take the rating. A private IFR rating would help increase SAFETY and UTILITY of GA airplanes. I know, and I knew, pilots who prefer to hit the ground instead of the clouds. Today, we have GPS, autopilot, weather and traffic in the cockpit which help us a lot. Why learn ADF, VOR, LOC, GPS approaches? Maybe the GPS and another type of your choice will suffice. Why hold inbound on the 235 degrees radial non standard when holding southwest of XX VOR would do the job....

  2. #2
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    The UK has a seperate IMC rating from the Instrument rating (which is now aligned with the EU standards). However, I don't think the training for their "light" rating is a whole lot relaxed from what a US Instrument Rating is involved. The IMC rating allows for approaches/departures with higher minimums. There's also an EU lite-IFR rating that only involves enroute (no approaches).

    There's no requirement on the flight training part of a US instrument rating to learn all those approaches. The only requirement is for one "precision" (which for this part) and two non-precision approaches. You could do them all with a WAAS GPS only. Of course, finding a WAAS GPS that doesn't also have a ILS and VOR in it is going to be difficult and if you are equipped for it, it is fair game on the checkride to be asked to fly it.

    I disagree that an "autopilot only, GPS only" instrument rating is warranted.
    Last edited by FlyingRon; 03-25-2018 at 07:42 AM.

  3. #3

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    Autopilots fail, usually at the worst possible time. Don't ask how I know.

    To safely fly in the clouds you need to be able to hand-fly and know how to use all of the equipment in your panel. An autopilot is a great aid. But it should never be your primary means of keeping the airplane upright. And there may come a day when you only have your ship's battery, one comm, and one nav, to get down out of the clouds. Autopilots take power to run and you might not want to run down your battery that way knowing that it has to last until you are on a runway.

    Best of luck,

    Wes
    Last edited by WLIU; 03-25-2018 at 07:52 AM.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Andre Durocher View Post
    A private IFR rating would help increase SAFETY and UTILITY of GA airplanes.
    Exactly, which is why ~25 yrs ago an alphabet pilot group successfully lobbied the FAA to decrease the number of total hours required to obtain an instrument rating, THE instrument rating. Since then, more pilots have continued training after obtaining a Private Pilot certificate and today more private pilots have an instrument rating. That sounds like win-win. Creating a "sport pilot" version (i.e. lower standards for completion) of the instrument rating? Hopefully, someone would study that thoroughly before making such a petition. Could be some issues that would need to be resolved....... but good luck!!!

  5. #5

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    I agree 100% that a pilot flying in the clouds shall be able to hand fly the plane and fly safely to his/her destination. The private IFR rating (PIFR) would have higher take-off and landing minimas for the initial test, recurrencies and the real life flying. And personnal minimas are always the best choices. This would be a first step towards a commercial IFR rating (CIFR) if the pilot wants to climb this ladder later. Yes, in Europe (EIR= Enroute Instrument Rating) and in Australia (PIFR= Private Instrument Flight Rating) they can take-off VFR, fly into the clouds and land VFR. This is what I call the EFR (Enroute Flight Rules) and this could be a first step towards a PIFR. The step from flying VFR to flying IFR is huge and having a middle step would increase the SAFETY and UTILITY of GA.

  6. #6

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    My first instrument training was to meet the basic PVT check ride. and I logged 14.7 hrs of hood to comply with the FAA. It was in the J-3 Cub "instrument trainer" (not making a joke) I passed. I was hooked on instruments. Of course, I increased in experience and it became routine. If you have ever been weathered in and got to the point when you said " I'd rather die than spend another day in ....... (fill in name of your least favorite place) With an inst rating, just file and go when the wx looks right. Its the safest way to go.You will not have to sacrifice yourself. I am rated in airplanes and helos and there is little difference. If you become certified, it would help to file on vfr days or take an old hand with you.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Dingley View Post
    My first instrument training was to meet the basic PVT check ride. and I logged 14.7 hrs of hood to comply with the FAA.
    Well that was a bit overkill! Were you a really bad student Bob? Or was the instructor trying to make his rent payment from your hood time?

  8. #8

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    "you need to continue to practice and to be sharp"

    Rereading the first post there is an assumption that enroute IFR is easier than flying an instrument approach to an airport. I will suggest that the assumption is not correct. There is more to it than simply following the artificial horizon. Every pilot is expected to fly an IFR clearance like a professional. A sloppy pilot who incorrectly copies a clearance or wanders away from the route expected by ATC causes problems for the controllers and nearby traffic. The reality is that there is a lot more IFR traffic in the US, particularly the northeast, than there is in Canada or Europe. That is not to say that IFR in those places is not challenging, but I invite you to fly through NY Center airspace in IFR weather and observe the performance level expected of all traffic by ATC. There are a LOT of airplanes aloft that are expected to perform at a high "professional" level. NY doesn't cut the guy in a GA Cessna any slack because they only burn 100LL.

    The other aspect of flying IFR is the cost of maintaining the equipment. I suspect that the cultural differences between Canada, Europe, and the US result in the expense being handling differently. In the US, renting an IFR current aircraft comes with something like a 20% premium price. But I believe that at least half of the pilots here who fly IFR own their ships. So you have database updates, equipment checks, currency flying, all paid for by an individual. Actually getting the Instrument Rating is a relatively small part of the cost(s) of flying safe and comfortable IFR.

    Someone that I know, who has a Instrument Rating, once said that it was 250 hours of instrument time before he was really really comfortably ahead of the airplane. Which suggests that there really is not shortcut to competency, even just when enroute.

    None of us really knows what we don't know. It is easy to look up and wish that there was an easy way. But when working with/against Mother Nature, there rarely are shortcuts that work. Mother Nature and her friend Murphy always lurk, waiting for us to have a weak moment.

    Best of luck,

    Wes

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by martymayes View Post
    Well that was a bit overkill! Were you a really bad student Bob? Or was the instructor trying to make his rent payment from your hood time?
    I was in H.S. in 57 and had completed everything for the CAA check ride. My CFI was old school. Taught on Stearmans for Embry Riddle. I got spins on the 2nd hop. Then spent all the time on on ground ref manouvers, slow flight stalls x-wind landings, etc. The cub had a full swivel tail wheel, no connection to rudder. Only one ground loop logged. Then I joined the Marines and didn't come back till 1960. Clyde, my CFI told me that there were NEW requirements under the New FAA. Had to communicate w/radio, Had to maintain control by instruments and had to nav by radio nav aids. He showed me the J-3 instrument trainer:
    A venturi was added to the L. boot cowl, A T&B was added to the panel. A battery was bolted to the floor in front of the stick (like a Birddog) a generator was on the left lift strut to power an ancient comm and a L.F. rec. She was a bit heavier now so the engine was upgraded to a A-75 and a new prop was added. It was a Beech R003 controllable prop. There was what looked like a window crank from a 48 DeSoto on the L.side wall. This was 1960. Guess what nav aid was still in service. Amber seven a LF airway still ran up the eastern seaboard. Off we went. Yeah, I logged 14.7 of hood, but I sure liked the "grunt" that this cub now had and spent some of that time just doing STOL takeoffs. I latter bought a Lusc 8A with one of those props. By 1965, the LF airways were converted to NDBs in my area.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by WLIU View Post
    ...And there may come a day when you only have your ship's battery, one comm, and one nav, to get down out of the clouds...Best of luck, Wes
    You had BOTH a comm AND a nav? Piece of cake! 1982. T-28, we started out with only 1 comm and 1 nav installed. Generator failed in the clouds with bases reported 300'. The battery was getting really weak before we got on downwind for the approach, but the guy in the other seat had a ham radio in his survival vest. As avionics and instruments dropped off line he got a phone patch to the GCA controller at NAS Corpus for a no-gyro PAR. Wet compass, altimeter, airspeed, and slip/skid ball were still working when I saw the water over the bay beneath us - then picked up Ocean Drive off to the right - shook the stick to take control and down we went.

    What would the next step have been if that hadn't worked? Procedure was to ask for someone else to join us above the clouds, form up, and follow that aircraft's rotating beacon down. Yep, we'd practiced that. In the clouds.

    Fun times.

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