On June 13th, 2020, I passed the Instrument checkride and officially became an Instrument Rated pilot. While all my flying has in some way or another prepared me for instrument flying, my formal training for this rating started in the summer of 2019 when I started studying for the Instrument Knowledge Exam. I determined to first complete the FAA required knowledge exam prior to starting the flight training for two reasons. First, having this exam completed would allow me to completely focus on the flying portion and further develop my knowledge learned studying for this exam. Second, the knowledge exam is valid for two years. If you do not earn the Instrument Rating within the two years, you have to take the knowledge exam again. Therefore, this put me on the “clock” and helped motivate me to complete the rating. On August 14th, 2019, I passed the Instrument Knowledge Exam.
In late October of 2019 to February 2020, I started the formal flight training in an actual aircraft. I completed 4 flight lessons with a Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument (CFII). Upon completing the 4th lesson, he recommended that I spend the next few months flying with a a safety pilot to build time in order to meet the 40 hours of simulated time required for the rating. I was able to fly with a pilot friend for three additional flights before focusing most of my next phase of instruction using an Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) to build time.
Staring in January 2020 through April 2020, I had the opportunity to use Precision Flight Control’s CRX Max Advanced Aviation Training Device and receive flight instruction from a CFII friend to log 20 hours of simulated flight time. The FAA allows pilots to log and credit 20 of the 40 simulated instrument condition hours needed for the rating to be conducted in an Advanced Aviation Training Device. Once I reached the maximum credited hours in the simulator, I transitioned back to training in a Cessna 172 to finish out the Instrument Rating requirements.
From May to June I completed the required 250 nautical mile cross country with three different instrument approaches conducted 6 more flights to refine my skills and prepare for the checkride.
On June 13th, I completed my Instrument checkride out of Cable Airport (KCCB). An FAA checkride consist of two components; oral and flight. The oral portion was reasonable and pretty straight forward. The examiner worked through a series of questions to assess whether or not you are knowledgeable, thoughtful, and safe in your planning and decision making. The flight portion was also straight forward in what is required. We took off from Cable airport and flew a simulated departure procedure that the examiner created for these checkrides. After departure, the examiner gave me some altitude and vectors to comply with and then conducted two unusual attitudes. Once that was completed, we contacted SoCal approach and set up to fly the practice ILS into Chino airport followed by the Localizer approach into Chino, and then the VOR approach back into Cable. The two approaches into Chino were last minute changes made in the air after the ILS went out of services at Bracket Field (KPOC) just prior to departure and then the wind direction become unfavorable at San Bernindino (KSBD) when checking the ATIS enroute. That is what flying IFR and aviation is all about, being prepared for the unexpected.
Next step, the Commercial Rating!