• IFR Training Part 1

    IFR Training

    By Chris Liddell

    On 13th October 2010 a series of four articles entitled 'Going Solo' (read it here) appeared on FlightSim.Com written by yours truly - how time flies! I doubt you will have read them unless you are a true veteran! But feel free to do so, as it gives some background to my current series. By way of introduction, my name is Chris Liddell, and I am a keen flight simmer and real world private pilot living in Scotland UK. Going back to my childhood, I always had the ambition to be a pilot, and the previous articles described the process of discovering the world of flight simulation, which then led to my achieving that dream.

    The final part of the 'going solo' series ended with me passing my PPL skills test, and gaining my licence.

    This article will describe some of the things I have been up to since then, by way of a warm up for the next event in my aviation adventure!

    Like many pilots, upon gaining my licence, I was keen to take my friends and family flying. All my training up to this point however, had been on two seat aircraft - the Diamond Katana, and the Cessna 152. The club I rented from also had Cessna 172s - so I got checked out on this new type by my instructor, and then experienced the pleasure of taking passengers into the air! To be honest, I had, like many simmers, probably seen the C172 as a bit of a 'toy' aircraft, and was more interested (in the virtual world) in flying the big jets, and aerobatic types, but as I was to learn, the humble 172 can need careful handling, particularly in the landing phase.

    IFR Training
    Checked out on the C172

    Don't believe me? Well, I was amused to read in a flying magazine an article written by an ex RAF fast jet pilot and combat veteran, who described the difficulties and embarrassment he had when trying to land a 172 on a short grass strip, when he took his family flying one day! In fairness, he had little time logged in the 172, and like all aircraft, it has its own little ways and gotchas which you need to become familiar with - hence the need for 'differences training' when converting to another type - regardless of your experience.

    I flew some great flights with various passengers, and in the process notched up more hours and experience. I had become good friends with a fellow PPL student during my training, and we flew often together - which of course halves the cost! My friend (let's call him Tom - to protect the innocent!) had a very different agenda to me though. He was a young guy, and his plan was to become a commercial pilot. I followed his progress through the various ratings, and was really impressed to see first hand how much his flying improved, and became much more professional.

    Flying with him was great for me, and of course I learned a whole lot myself as a result of seeing how he flew. He worked his way through his night rating, multi engine rating, instrument rating, commercial pilot rating, and multi crew rating over a period of time, all the while working various jobs to cover the training costs. I went along with him on his long cross country navigation flight which was a pre-requisite for starting his commercial course. I am glad to report that he has now been flying as a first officer for three years with a certain Scottish Regional Airline!

    The good thing about flying with another pilot (apart from cost sharing) is having another person to verify decisions, keep a look out, help with flying duties like ATC, changing squawk codes, and of course being a human auto pilot! So far in my real life flying 'career' I have never flown an aircraft with an auto pilot!

    Tom also worked at the flying club to make some extra money, and there was a good club atmosphere, where people dropped by for a coffee and to chat about our favorite subject - aviation!

    IFR Training
    Beautiful scenery enroute to Oban at 6000 feet

    I did some great flights to places like Oban, and the Western Isles, as well as getting some grass strip experience. The company which owned the flying club had a lovely Piper Arrow, and I decided to do my complex endorsement. This was great fun, and introduced me to retractable gear (which as a flight simmer has to be the coolest thing ever!), constant speed prop, manifold pressure, more complex fuel system, etc., which added a new dimension to my flying. There is no formal test for the complex endorsement, just 'training as required' and I did my training in about three hours of instruction.

    IFR Training
    Grass strip flying with the C152

    My plan was to fly the Arrow for a bit, doing some longer trips. It was more expensive to hire but it made trips shorter due to its higher cruise speed - a real touring aircraft.


    3 Comments
    1. HornetAircraft's Avatar
      HornetAircraft -
      Very nice! I started with Flight Sim at 14, got my PPL License last year at 18, broke 100hrs in December, now have 120 and am starting instrument next month!

      as for the 172, it can be a bear in heavy crosswinds, otherwise its an easy bird to put down. just don't come in fast or you float half the runway! I found that out once
    1. aikichris's Avatar
      aikichris -
      Quote Originally Posted by HornetAircraft View Post
      Very nice! I started with Flight Sim at 14, got my PPL License last year at 18, broke 100hrs in December, now have 120 and am starting instrument next month!

      as for the 172, it can be a bear in heavy crosswinds, otherwise its an easy bird to put down. just don't come in fast or you float half the runway! I found that out once
      Thanks for the message and congratualtions on your 120 hours! To clarify - my comments about the C172 were largely based on the fact that most of my time prior to transitioning were in the C152.
      The biggest differences are:
      1) on the ground the 172 has a much higher nose attitude than the 152, and when in the flare it is easy (having been used to the 152) to feel that the nose wheel is well off the ground, when in fact it is really level with the rear wheels, resulting in 'flat' landings or even a bounced landing.
      2) compared to the 152, the 172 is much more nose heavy in the flare (and to fly generally), particularly when there are no rear seat passengers or baggage.
      I totally agree that if you are 5kts over your target speed as you fly over the runway threshold, the 172 wants to float forever....!
      I suppose if you did all your training in a C172 (as many do) then you would be used to landing it, but when you have been used to flying the 152 it take a bit of getting used to.
      I mostly fly PA28s these days, and yet again they are a little different to get used to. Good luck with your instrument training - I currently can't even get into the air due to COVID restrictions
    1. HornetAircraft's Avatar
      HornetAircraft -
      Quote Originally Posted by aikichris View Post
      Thanks for the message and congratualtions on your 120 hours! To clarify - my comments about the C172 were largely based on the fact that most of my time prior to transitioning were in the C152.
      The biggest differences are:
      1) on the ground the 172 has a much higher nose attitude than the 152, and when in the flare it is easy (having been used to the 152) to feel that the nose wheel is well off the ground, when in fact it is really level with the rear wheels, resulting in 'flat' landings or even a bounced landing.
      2) compared to the 152, the 172 is much more nose heavy in the flare (and to fly generally), particularly when there are no rear seat passengers or baggage.
      I totally agree that if you are 5kts over your target speed as you fly over the runway threshold, the 172 wants to float forever....!
      I suppose if you did all your training in a C172 (as many do) then you would be used to landing it, but when you have been used to flying the 152 it take a bit of getting used to.
      I mostly fly PA28s these days, and yet again they are a little different to get used to. Good luck with your instrument training - I currently can't even get into the air due to COVID restrictions
      actually everything you described I had the same issues with! I did my training in a 150, and i'm 5'8, so not super tall but enough to make a 150 feel small. going to the 172 I had many flat landings due to what you mentioned. the 150 I also really didnt trim that much in the pattern, where as the 172 I almost always trim and give it a quarter to half rotation on short final for the flare. I may get checked out on pipers this summer, but we'll see. Instrument rating first. good luck to you as well! hope you get up soon.
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