Learning to fly IFR

Learning to fly IFR

Postby MikeN87 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 3:38 pm

Im always amazed at how sim pilots, even young kids, are able to fly complex, heavy aircraft, single pilot IFR. My question is, Where does a sim pilot begin when learning how to fly IFR.

I am a low hour (120) pilot and would love to someday work on an instrument rating. I would like to learn as much about IFR flight in the sim environment as possible before even starting training in the real world. I've been doing this just as a bucket list item, so there's no rush. And I have a ways to go before I feel like a proficient VFR pilot.

I got my PPL using Sportys' ground school course and surprised myself by getting my ticket. I decided to buy the instrument course just to see if I could learn about instrument flying at my leisure, but found that my eyes would glaze over after a while watching some of the videos. Not knocking the course, I'm sure there are people who benefit from it, but it was a bit rough for me. Maybe I was just too lazy since I probably will never get a real world instrument rating. But I would love to learn how to fly IFR on a sim.

Where do you begin?

Thx
Mike
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby Scott Medeiros » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:52 am

Mike,
The sim is an excellent tool for learning instrument techniques, and practicing a good instrument scan. If you do take instrument lessons, you’ll save yourself time and money having already practiced some in the sim. Basic instrument flying can be a little dry at first, but the benefits of having solid basics pay huge dividends when you begin to add complex instrument maneuvers and procedures. Believe me, you don’t want to spend brain power on keeping the airplane upright and headed in the right direction in those scenarios. Just as with anything mechanical, it can break, and instruments are no exception. It’s improtant to understand the mechanics of how the instruments work, so that you can spot a faulty instrument and eliminate it from your scan, flying “partial panel”.

If the videos start to get a little too boring, I’d say search out something interesting on the topic online, or switch over to the sim and practice what you’ve seen so far. Then, head back into the video. Better to break it up into manageable chunks rather than lose focus and miss out on some of the info.

Again, I know the basics can be dry, but they really could save your life one day. I would argue that getting your instrument ticket makes you a better all around pilot with the skills you’ll learn. Even if you don’t think you’ll actually fly IFR, if you are VFR and happen to fly inadvertently into IMC or experience spatial disorientation, you’ll be able to fall back on and trust your instruments to help get you out of a sticky situation. Having an instrument rating could also lower your insurance costs.

If you can get through the basics, there’s something very satisfying about flying a full flight IMC, in mountainous terrain, and breaking out at minimums to see the runway right where you want it to be.

Scott
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby rtataryn » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:35 am

MikeN87 wrote:I would like to learn as much about IFR flight in the sim environment as possible before even starting training in the real world. . . . Where do you begin?


You're in the right place for sure. Probably no better place than PE for this request.

Start with these . . . https://www.pilotedge.net/workshops

And then move on to the I-ratings . . . https://www.pilotedge.net/pages/i-ratings
Rod
PPL, Instrument, ASEL, ASES
2013 Cirrus SR22T N877MS
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby Keith Smith » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:06 am

Mike,

Off the shelf ground school products are designed to help you pass the test more so than preparing you for how to fly in the real world system. We've received feedback many times that the workshops and/or Real World IFR product have helped people really understand IFR flying in a much more practical way. I'd have to back up Rod's suggestions above.
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby MikeN87 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:01 pm

Thx for the replies and especially the links. Good stuff!

One of the biggest problems I have is with sim flying. I wish I could fly a sim plane as easily as I fly a real plane. My biggest problem is with views. I the real world I just turn my head, not remember what button to push. Ive been at this a while with some improvement but I still find it very frustrating at times. I would love to look into the area of VR but I use a mac and it seems like everything out there is geared toward PCs

One thing I have to say is that PE is an amazing place to learn. My hats off to everyone reponsible for putting this together and maintaining it.
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:21 am

Mike,

It's all about the quicklook views. Take a look at the Sky High Charters cockpit videos. Those contain a lot of end to end IFR flights with pretty solid examples of which views can be used throughout the flight to achieve a successful outcome. I don't use VR or TrackIR. I use the quicklook views in xplane to their full potential and am able to do pattern work or IFR flying equally comfortably.
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby RogerW » Mon Jan 07, 2019 12:17 pm

MikeN87 wrote:One of the biggest problems I have is with sim flying. I wish I could fly a sim plane as easily as I fly a real plane. My biggest problem is with views. I the real world I just turn my head, not remember what button to push. Ive been at this a while with some improvement but I still find it very frustrating at times. I would love to look into the area of VR but I use a mac and it seems like everything out there is geared toward PCs.


I don't use any outside add-ons for viewing around the cabin. I set up camera views every 45 deg, left and right, including rear view. I moved the head Up/Dn, Lt/Rt, Fd,Rr also to simulate where your head would be while performing said view and use a Lt/Rt paddle switch on the right handle of my yoke. I just toggle left or right to look out of the plane. I've been gnawing on the idea of getting track-ir but the cost stings a little so I haven't yet.

My biggest problem even after decades of simming is the final 5 secs of the flight, the landing. I can never judge the flare. I either flare too soon, ballooning back up in the air or slam it on the runway tearing a wheel off the plane. Every so often I slide one in looking like quite the professional but they're rare. I just upgraded to a 32" LED screen so maybe that will help.
Roger W.
Home: Valkaria, Fl (X59)(but lost in SoCal)
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby redge » Mon Jan 07, 2019 3:06 pm

MikeN87 wrote:One of the biggest problems I have is with sim flying. I wish I could fly a sim plane as easily as I fly a real plane. My biggest problem is with views. I the real world I just turn my head, not remember what button to push. Ive been at this a while with some improvement but I still find it very frustrating at times. I would love to look into the area of VR but I use a mac and it seems like everything out there is geared toward PCs.


Presumably you’re using X-Plane. You may already know this, but in Settings > Graphics, you can change your field of view. The default is about 60°. Real vision, including peripheral, is a lot more; if I recall correctly, closer to 180°. It might help to expand your X-Plane field of view, although this may have frame rate repercussions if taken too far.
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby bobshopsupreme » Thu Jan 10, 2019 7:50 am

Agree with what's been said. I have spent many hours watching Keith's workshops (people wondered why I would spend a long train journey staring at the same Skyvector chart for an hour at a time) and that was the first time everything became fully clear. I'd built up knowledge by myself since flying flightsims as a kid, but Keith's workshops give you the 'trunk of the tree' to base all subsequent learning on.

I agree with the books teaching to pass the test. One I did enjoy was the Rod Machado Instrument Pilot Survival Manual. If you can put up with the rubbish jokes, I learned a lot and he is pretty old school in the sense of really wanting you to understand 'why' and not just the steps to follow. Incidentally I rate his 'how to fly an airplane' book on stick and rudder skills that filled in gaps that I had for VFR flying.

I feel reasonably confident during IFR flights despite having only a few hours of real life PPL training (VFR obviously). Am working through the CAT ratings on PE so we'll see if that holds true when I get to the I-ratings.

For the views - Too bad about your mac and VR. Maybe in the future it'll change but I bought a Windows PC for X-Plane even though I'm firmly in the Appleverse.

A halfway house you could try is head tracking. I used Track Hat for a while before VR (cheaper than Track IR if you want to dip your toe). It worked very well and I would never fly now without either head tracking or VR.
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Re: Learning to fly IFR

Postby Keith Smith » Thu Jan 10, 2019 8:05 am

+1 on Rod Machado's Instrument Survival Manual, he does a great job of imparting practical fundamentals.
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