IFR scanning

Instrument Scan
There is a major difference between smooth air instrument scan and that necessary in turbulent conditions. A VFR pilot's minimum IFR skills are ability to fly by reference to attitude instruments to as to exit adverse weather. Inadvertent flight from VFR to IFR is still major cause of fatal accidents. Safety Note:  Keep wings level do NOT turn.  Banking voids all Va data.

Music scan: One and two and …
Inverted V scan.

Pitch Altimeter
Power Manifold
Bank Heading

Scan Method
The most common scan begins and ends with the AI. AI, altimeter, engine instruments, HI, AI. These are angular or oblique visual movements with the AI always peripherally in view. Partial panel scans tend to be more horizontal or vertical since they ignore the AI and HI.

Ready for IFR
FAA studies say that the amount of prior flight time has little effect on the acquisition and retention of instrument flight skills. Others believe that a certain amount of seasoning through independent flying is a good thing. No matter what kind of flying you do, you should be making improvements in your existing skills. There is no apparent advantage in waiting to get your instrument rating.

Regardless of how you plan to learn instrument flying, needle and ball, control and performance or primary and support, there are fundamentals that apply to all three. The flying of an approach is technique; the route, speed and altitudes are procedure. You must be able to make the plane do as you want when you want. The mechanical operation of the aircraft power should be habitually ingrained into the pilot as to sound and throttle position. Likewise pitch can be preset for any flight condition by knowing the initial position and the amount of change required. Competence in these two flight skills considerably reduces the scan speed and changes required.

The pilot must be able to (1) fly the plane, (2) use the system, and (3) know where he is. The pilot must be able to fly, position, and operate the aircraft through a variety of configurations and performance parameters in such a way that flying does not get in the way of the other two elements above. There are at least ten distinctly different skills that must be mastered. The skills are inter-dependent and any weakness in one will be reflected in another. The smart pilot does everything possible to optimize the resources at his disposal. This necessitates standardization of procedures.

Pitch attitude, power settings, and trim position separately and/or in combination must be known to and achievable by the pilot. Being able to fly means being able to fly a heading, maintain an airspeed, remain on altitude, and make changes as required. The competent pilot is able to vary his attention to the proper place, on time and in sequence. He understands the principles of energy as it applies to flying. He uses his knowledge of instrument peculiarities as they interpret energy change.

Properly trimmed with wings level IFR is relatively simple as long as attention is paid and kept ahead of the aircraft. Use the rudder to keep things in order when you need both hands. Without rudder input holding headings and making heading corrections of less than 10 degrees is nearly impossible. Use the rudder to hold headings and make corrections of less than 5 degrees. It's quicker, more accurate, and less likely to induce a correction back in the other direction. Sure, it's a skid, just hold the wings level and kick the rudder as required. You can't begin to meet the scan requirements of IFR until you can fly your aircraft through all the required power settings and attitudes.

You must be able to make smooth rapid corrections that will average out the errors and keep the selected line of flight within limits. You should know approximate movements of yoke and throttle required. You will never exceed a standard rate bank. If a more rapid change is desired the movements may be made in excess for a few seconds but should then be normalized. Gentle wins every time. Pitch makes changes faster than power.

IFR is a complex combination of flight skills, cockpit management, communications, decisions and priorities. Of themselves any one choice is not difficult; it is in combination that difficulty rears its ugly head.

Scanning Scan
Successful instrument flying requires an ample supply of common sense and an understanding of the basic power and attitude give performance. Keep control input small and light but immediate. Scan in instrument flying depends on eye movement that are stopped just long enough on a given instrument to allow mental interpretation of what you see. The better you know the sounds of your aircraft from airflow and engine along with airspeed the better you will be able to sense changes in aircraft performance. You do not need to lose control just because one instrument fails.

When you are planning to redirect the aircraft into a change of attitude and power you can do well to move your eyes in a step series that moves every other time back to the AI while covering the other instruments in order. Once the aircraft is stabilized you can move around the panel in a rectangle. Only 2% of your flying will require any scan other than the rectangle. In turbulence you will revert to the V scan. When any one of the three legs of the V disagree with the other two, the single leg is in error. The bank V is the compass, AI and TC. You use the compass instead of the HI until you have confirmed that the vacuum system is working. The Pitch V is the AI, altimeter, and VSI.

Some pilots use the inverted V made up of the AI the TC and the VSI. From the AI you can set pitch bank attitude and angle. The VSI gives you trend and rate. The turn coordinator gives trend and rate of turn, coordination, and rate of roll. You can fine-tune your flying by using the turn coordinator and the vertical speed indicator. You will tend to over-control if you react to the VSI since it moves before the altimeter as does the TC to the roll before the AI.

Basic attitude instrument flying follows two paths, (1) primary and supporting instruments, and (2) attitude plus power equals performance. Regardless of the method you still must develop a set of performance numbers for each configuration of the airplane. The fewer numbers you have the better. For complex aircraft get the number(s) in the flap operating range. Use configuration to get down. Make a chart of performance and configuration for climbs, cruise, descents, and approach.

You want to know what your instruments are telling you. Knowing this, you need to make the instruments indicate the performance you are after.

The scan, or cross-check is probably best learned from a specialist. Some, like me, learned in a Link Trainer as my own teacher. What works for me is probably not desirable for you. Go to a simulator facility and take lessons specifically in cross-check skills. Even with the training you will put your own touch into how you scan.

Scan, done properly is the major fatigue factor of flying. You must move beyond looking, into seeing, and finally into understanding.

Having a scan is not enough. Most any pilot can move his eyes in an ordered sequence as required for a particular manoeuvre. Doing the correct scan at the correct time at the correct speed is where the fatigue factor comes into play. A slow cross-check that suffices for level flight must shift gears when making a turn, shift still further when making a turning descent, and even further when making a timed turning descent to specific heading.

The competent basic instrument pilot must know the specific scan and speed required for every given situation. Steady state flight has a scan for level, descent, and climb. Turns add a new dimension and a new scan Different kinds of turns have still different cross-check requirements. You need to know and use the scan and cross-check required. A cross-check that lacks the proper speed, sequence, stop, and interpretation is going to break down. Fixing the results of an improper cross-check is much more difficult than getting it right and keeping it in the first place.

If you know the cross-check sequence you are going to be aware of the hazard of fixation. You are far more likely to fixate on a movement. If the movement is not where it is supposed to be fixation is even more likely. As you detect, by quick glances, the movement of instruments you should note that some movements are in the proper direction and proper amount. Your scan sequence is seeking out the distinctions between what should be and what is.

As a basic instrument pilot you can improve your scan, cross-check, and seeing skill and speed. To make the improvement you must deliberately push you speed. You can’t push your speed well unless you know where your eyes are supposed to move. You should avoid going back to a single instrument twice in a row. Never, is a dirty word in flying but it this instance it applies. If you know the information required for a given manoeuvre you can keep your cross-check moving through the instruments that have and give that information. Knowing where to look lets you see change as it happens. Seeing something happen must conform to your mental picture of what is supposed to happen. If the pictures are in conflict you press controls to bring the mental picture desired/required into an overlay of what the instruments show. Easy to say, not so easy to do at first.

Power, Attitude, Configuration = Performance Scan
An alternate to the FAA primary-secondary flight instrument scan is the PAC where the power setting, attitude and configuration selection gives performance. The PAC technique classifies the attitude indicator and tachometer as control instruments. Performance instruments are the AI, altimeter, HI, TC, and VSI.

The PAC is used in the takeoff as applied power, rotate to Vy attitude and configure. The climb is made first with power adjustment, pitch attitude and configuration. Cruise begins with power setting, attitude set and configure (cowl flaps). Descent sets power, pitch, and possible configuration change. Holding sets power, attitude and configuration. The non-precision and precision approaches begin with power, attitude, configuration as required for descent and tracking. The go-around begins with power, attitude, configuration, which way, how far and communications.

Flying Problems
Instrument flying problems usually are from faulty scan. Instrument interpretation, fixation, selection and control reactions individually or in combination cause a flight problem. Fixation on an instrument, the AI, is an acceptable procedure when redirecting the airplane, reacting to vertigo and flying in turbulence.

The most important element of a standardized scan is knowing when to look for what. Scanning fatigue occurs when we are moving our eyes without purpose. Try moving your eyes side to side a few times. Also note that while your eyes are moving you cannot see anything. You will see without fatigue when your eyes are stopped and have been moved for a purpose.

General Solutions
Trick to break habit of rushing from one instrument to the next is to say aloud the indication and its significance... "Airspeed 90, O.K." AI wings level centred, O.K.". Process keeps scan slow enough to understand what is being seen and what you want to see.

Problem: Chasing the VSI or using the slope needle for pitch changes is an early cause of vertical S's on the glide slope.
Solution: Pitch changes are made on the AI.

Problem: S-turns while tracking a needle. Student is probably trying to fly plane 'level' by reference to HI.
Solution: Use a reference heading on the HI but hold the heading by reference to the AI..

Problem: Small variations of altitude.
Solution: Use pitch (AI) to correct. Above 100' use both AI and power for correcting.

Every pilot will have some flight/scan problem in one form or another. Be prepared to tell the instructor where you are looking during the scan and what is making you react as you do. Because of cockpit limitations the instructor can only guess as probable causes.

Getting a Scan
You are moving your eyes across each instrument for information. Move the eyes too fast and you will lower your ability to make interpretations correctly. A slow scan can cause fixation. Initially, don't try for accuracy. Visualize putting the airplane where you want it by watching the attitude indicator.

--Scan from the AI to the TC and VSI to see the trend.
--Verify that the AI, TC and VSI are in agreement.
--Go to the numbers, altimeter, power, and HI
--Trim and begin total scan.

Knowing Where to Look
The competent IFR pilot knows what to look for and when to expect a change. He knows when to do something and how much of it to do. The Practical Test Standards (PTS) give the objectives and skill level requirements but don't tell how easy or difficult the acquisition may be. Most IFR students have 60 hours or instrument time before taking their checkride.

Pitch; AI, Altimeter, VSI, Airspeed indicator
Power: Airspeed, Manifold pressure, RPM
Bank: AI, HI, TC, and Magnetic compass
Rate: TC, VSI, Clock, AI

Decide what you want. Decide where to look for the performance you seek. Greatest area of misinterpretation is in making compass turns without the aid of the clock. A normal scan is clockwise beginning with the AI. For a rate turn the initial scan begins counterclockwise from the AI. No one instrument gives all the information. Each instrument must be scanned to obtain confirmation of information either sought or required.

Climb to Level
1. --AI set(#1), then to altimeter and heading indicator (numbers) adjust AI(#1) then back to Alt and HI.
2. --Check trend. If unacceptable redo #1.
If acceptable go to #2 & # 3.
3. --Check the numbers information
Bank information is AI/TC or HI for constant heading (wings level)
Pitch information is airspeed/power, altimeter, or VSI
Power information is tachometer or airspeed

Climb and Descent-Scan
When climbing and descending at constant power, airspeed is primary pitch. To maintain airspeed during descent, lower nose on AI only and immediately reduce power to predetermined setting to hold airspeed. Trading airspeed for altitude or altitude for airspeed may be preferable. If both airspeed and altitude are high or low you must adjust both pitch and power. With gear down anticipate initiating descent with glideslope is 1/4 dot above centre. Where manifold pressure is used for power the descent causes an increase. Power must be regularly reduced to maintain airspeed. A rule of thumb for establishing a 3 degree slope descent is to multiply your ground speed by 5 and add 50. Not exact but good enough.

Set attitude on AI
Climb power
Primary is altimeter
Supporting is airspeed and VSI

Climbing Rate Turn
Initial phase
Power phase

Stabilized phase
VSI - primary for pitch
Airspeed - primary for power
RPM - support for power
Turn coordinator - primary for bank
AI supporting for bank and pitch

A climb is not as sensitive to pitch as to power and airspeed. Once speed and power are set, pitch is locked by use of trim. Levelling off is more difficult. 

Scan Instruction for Level
Scan begins and ends with AI. Lower nose to AI horizon while avoiding any roll input. Major trim adjustment. Check VSI. Check AI. Listen for acceleration to speed desired. Altitude check. Set power. Minor trim adjustments. AI check.

Scan Instruction for Cockpit Operations
Go from heading to attitude indicator to altimeter. Always include AI as a scan segment between every part of writing, changing frequencies or any cockpit operation.

Scan Instruction for Airspeed Adjustment
Airspeed set but VSI high or altitude low. Raise pitch and add power. Anytime airspeed is constant any change in pitch requires an opposite hand movement to change power. Practice the vertical S in which each cycle decreases by 100'

Detecting Instrument Failure
Instrument failure is not always accompanied with a warning flag. As a part of your pre-approach briefing you should cross-check all informational sources to assure proper operation of primary information sources. Failure to make a verbal approach briefing makes such a cross-check essentially impossible.

Bank is compared with the AI (vacuum), TC (electric). Turn is compared by adding HI to the Compare the pitch information of the AI (vacuum) and the VSI (static). The AI and the VSI can fail independently as can the airspeed (ice) or power. However, the airspeed and altimeter (using alternate air) can check the AI and the VSI reliability. An HSI and TC can fail together since both are electric.

When in doubt let go of the controls and sort things out. Compass is used to check AI and TC for wings level or direction of turn. HI is unreliable for this check because it uses same vacuum as AI. HSI and TC are electric and can be checked against AI. You know that AI has a set angle for standard rate turns for every airspeed. Knowing this, it is possible to cross check the operation of the AI against the HI and turn coordinator for failure.

Having the airspeed indicator fail at night or in actual IFR conditions is perhaps the most confusing instrument failure that can occur. Such failures are not common but they do happen and nearly half of them result in accidents. Failure usually results from pitot system blockages with ice the usual culprit. The very improbability of airspeed failure makes it so that pilots trust airspeed before they trust gyros.

The pilot’s first recourse with airspeed failure is immediate reference to the attitude indicator and the VSI. By knowing the power settings for level cruise, descent, approach speed you can get these speeds by setting the aircraft attitude. This would be a worthwhile partial panel exercise for proficiency training.

The Silent Emergency
Pneumatic (suction) system failures are emergencies. If you do not have a backup system declare an emergency and request a vector to the nearest VFR. All to many accidents occur after the pilot has flown up to an hour of cruise partial panel and loses it because of the higher skill demands of the approach.

Pneumatic systems can fail suddenly or slowly. A complete failure shows immediately on the gauge followed by a failure of gyros. You do include the suction gauge in your scan? An initial lack of recognition of pneumatic system failure gives a conflict between instrument indications and interpretation. A pilot must scan all instruments when there is a conflict of information. A decision must be made of what to ignore and to cover that instrument.

Aircraft can be flown safely with pneumatic system failure. If you know the weather behind a 180 may be the best manoeuvre. Disconnect the autopilot since its information may come from the pneumatic inputs.

The Other Instruments Scan

---VFR they should be specifically checked at every checkpoint of your flight route.
---IFR They should be checked more often.
---Other instruments are oil pressure, oil temperature, (fuel pressure), (cylinder head temperature), exhaust gas temperature and ammeter.
---Deciding if an instrument is faulty or the airplane is faulty is the pilot’s decision.
---Temperatures are the first indicators of problems
---Air cooled engines are very dependent on the cooling properties of oil.
---Excessive heat is very damaging to an engine.
---Aircraft with fuel pumps are very dependent on the fuel pressure gauge reading
---Every make and model of gauge has its distinctive failure mode.
---Better scan of the ‘other’ instruments is the hallmark of a superior pilot.

Scan During System Failure
The prelude to an accident is when everything seems to be going right. The cross-check scan to the second and third level instruments is more important when you have time because everything appears to be going right. Instruments are much like politicians and lawyers; they can be lying any time or all the time.

The triad of pitch instruments are,
one, the vertical speed indicator (VSI) powered by static air,
two, the attitude indicator whose gyro is vacuum driven and a poor choice for
three between airspeed and altimeter. Airspeed and altimeter are also parts of the pitot/static power system.
Airspeed and its changes can be determined independently by sound.
A. Change of attitude: Lock AI for attitude, set power and trim.
B. Scan AI, TC, VSI for trend. If wrong redo A. If O.K. go to C.
C. Scan the numbers. If wrong redo A and B. If O.K. go to D.
D. Fine trim for rudder only flight and go to basic scan.

Failures on Approach

--If a major navigation instrument fails on approach, execute the missed approach procedure.
--Stop the descent, proceed on heading until the time runs out before turning.
--Don't get involved with trying to salvage an approach.

Primary and Supporting Instruments
The FAA system of instrument use and interpretation requires that the student acquire knowledge as to what instruments are primary and supporting. For each part of a maneuver there is a primary and support instruments.. The basic rule is that the instrument with the numbers is primary and others are supporting. ATC assigns numbers. Numbers are primary instruments. This method requires pilot to have knowledge of operation and interpretation of all instruments. There are three groupings of instruments related to every control function and aircraft performance. This material is NOT the FAA system you are required to explain on the PTS.

When a gyro dies a primary instrument dies. Support instruments then become primary. (See other material which indicates the FAA primary is really the third and final level of performance ...more) Use the attitude indicator to set attitude. Use power instruments to confirm power settings. The performance instruments show how well you have set the attitude and power.

Scan Priority
Heading indicator and course as reflected by a navigation instrument
Altitude Level as assigned or mental note of altitude climbing or descending to
Looking Ahead

--Looking for a mental prompt to note next intersection, time, or action point.
--You are never looking for just an altitude you may be looking for more than one thing.
--You could be looking for an intersection, DME fix, time set for approach.
--On an ILS you are looking for an altitude endpoint.

IFR Scan
A good scan should include skimming over the attitude indicator each time your scan moves on to a new instrument. A sequence could be AI to DI to altimeter across AI to airspeed across AI to VSI up and down through AI to turn coordinator. Draw this out and see how it goes on a panel picture of write it out and finger point it across the aircraft panel. Every third scan should include navigation and engine instruments.

Efficient safe IFR flight requires instrument cross-check, interpretation, and aircraft control. Scan is moving the eyes continuously with out pauses or fixating over the instrument panel. Scan cross-checking will detect a change. Interpretation uses other instruments concur. Small control input pressures make a correction that must be cross-checked and verified by scan. Scan is the first IFR skill to deteriorate without practice.

The sloth is an animal noted for its slow deliberate style of movement. It knows just when and where it is going to make any movement. Skilled IFR pilots could well use the sloth as an icon. Every eye movement and stop is based on knowing when to look for what. Every body movement is predetermined, deliberate and selective as to quality and quantity. As soon as un-sloth-like tensions enter into your flying both your scan and flying will suffer.

Partial panel IFR develops and broadens the scan to include instruments that may become less used in general practice. Becoming overly dependent on the autopilot limits your skill and ability in interpreting raw instrument data. Without exception, all instruments must be cross-checked for less than normal indications. Any digression from the scan for over three seconds can cause unconscious yoke inputs to become significant. Lock your elbow and arm before breaking the scan away to other things.

First comes fly the plane. Second, comes the scan/cross-check. You must be able to keep your eyes moving without fixating. Students tend to watch the instrument that moves the most. (VSI) Lastly, you must be able to interpret the instruments. Interpretation includes the sounds and feelings you get from the aircraft. You want to know what is happening. Your scan will tell you what is happening. You want to know what needs to be done. This is your interpretation of what needs to be done. You need to do what needs to be done.

Recognize in every situation that there is a standardized attitude and power setting to control everything. Concentrate on your aircraft attitude and power settings. "Attitude plus power equals performance." Scan is an individualized process determined mainly on how well the pilot flies. The better you fly the less reliance must be placed on scan. The fact is that very few IFR pilots have learned by, and fly the FAA 'recommended' system. One desirable scan is based on hub-and-spoke centred on the attitude indicator. Another uses a system called the inverted V. Scan according to the sense priority you have developed for yourself. Every pilot I know has made his individual adaptations. Your scan is an individualized skill developed for each flight condition and manoeuvre. Regardless of what your scan system or pattern may be, you must keep your eyes moving. When you scan is very individual. Related to how strong your sense of survival may be.

Flying the aircraft, holding a heading and altitude are #1. Scan the flight instruments at varying speeds for the situation, yes, but take quick looks to check charts, engine, avionics, ATIS, etc. Any look of over three seconds is likely to affect aircraft attitude. Keep your elbow and wrist locked. Poor control results from over concentration on one instrument, an instinctive reaction to perceived condition, incorrect bank and/or pitch in AI or failure to lock arm and wrist. Fatigue is a probable cause of such problems. Much of your IFR flying should be considered as endurance training.

Scan Ideas
After you have flown instruments you have developed your own flow that works for what you do. You look where you need to look when you need to look. Every pilot scans an instrument at a rate that works for his needs. The novice is in a constant state of reaction to what just happened. The experienced scanner is in a constant state of anticipation for what is going to happen. Every instrument scanned is used to build the performance desired. What and when to look is determined by the individual pilot technique to get where he wants to be.

Control is achieved by establishing constants. The first constant to set is the power. Next set the attitude and trim for that attitude. Attitude + power = performance. You get what you want. The attitude makes possible the performance for a given power.

A good scan is based upon objectives. Decide what you want, set power and attitude to get performance. If the objective is heading sensitive, as most are, the heading indicator is a part of the scan. Knowing where to look makes finding required information relatively easy. Knowing how often to look depends on what you want to happen. When to look depends on the objective.

The safety of the flight depends on the inclusion of the system instruments in the scan. They are the pitot-static, electrical and vacuum system. Together they power all the instruments. A proper scan must have a regular systematic inclusion of these system function instruments. The need for systems scan is perhaps the only part of a scan that should be memorized. The flight instrument scan is best done on a ‘need to know’ basis.

One of the undeveloped skills developed in flying is the ability to divide your attention. This information makes it so that you can fly the plane by reference to the instruments. More importantly it lets you quickly determine when an instrument becomes non-functional. How well and quickly you can detect an illogical instrument reading depends on your scan. Neglected scan skills will rust in such a way that speed will be lost and fixating will occur. Get to the attitude indicator, and always begin and end there. You do include the vacuum gauge in your scan?

Things to Consider

--Vacuum failure may be slow. If other instruments contradict the vacuum ones, go with the non-vacuum set.
--On entering adverse weather, turn on alternate air and pitot heat..
--If you are flying with a full fist you are much more likely to put in abrupt and excessively large control inputs.
--Fly with two fingers.
--Knowing the interrelationships of the instruments will enable you to detect and isolate a problem instrument.
--Increasing airspeed means you must check the attitude indicator, the altimeter, and the VSI.
--Any question about bank angle requires that you scan and compare the attitude indicator, turn coordinator, heading indicator and compass.
--There are always three or more instruments that can be referenced to pitch, bank and power.
--IFR banks should never exceed the three degrees per second of the standard.
--Use the rate markers on the turn coordinator or your Attitude indicator angle for the aircraft speed.
--Standard banks are a safety device to prevent over control, unusual attitudes or vertigo.
--Don’t chase an instrument since it will result in over-controlling.
--Keep your touch pressure light, your input delicate, and be patient for any instrument response.
--Make small heading corrections with either the heading indicator or the compass by timing.
--Time with the clock or even by counting.
--Practice your turns until you can enter, hold, and recover from a standard rate turn for both five or ten degrees of turn based upon your counting time.
--Don’t fixate, keep your eyes flicking from instrument to instrument at a measured stop time.
--Give the instruments a number with the word and between each number. Move your eyes on ‘and’ stop on the numbers.
--You cannot see when your eyes move.
--Pitch can be determined by airspeed, attitude, altimeter, and VSI
--Bank can be determined by the AI, HI, turn coordinator, and compass
--Power can be determined by tachometer, manifold pressure, fuel flow, and airspeed.
--Primary instrument for pitch and level flight is the altimeter. For climb and descent it is the airspeed and VSI.
--Primary instrument for bank is the heading indicator. Primary instruments are the ones with the numbers.
--Begin with needle ball and airspeed and with the advent of the attitude indicator failure.
--You can learn to fly IFR by any of three methods given the right teacher.


-- one: Attitude plus power equals performance. Scan AI and tach set attitude and power rough trim
--two: San the AI and then the TC and VSI. using one-and two and three and four...validate AI
--three: Scan for the numbers. Return to element on if numbers are not right. With correct numbers go the element four.
--four:: Scan all instruments and trim for hands-off use circle scan.

Straight and level
Pitch is altimeter
Bank is HI
Power is rpm or airspeed as specified

Straight Rate Climbs and Descents
Pitch is airspeed or VSI as specified
Bank is HI
Power is rpm

Straight Airspeed Climb and Descent
Pitch is VSI
Bank is HI
Power is rpm or airspeed as specified

Level Turns
Pitch is altimeter
Bank is TC
Power is rpm or airspeed as specified
AI becomes primary only in a steep bank

Turning Climbs and Descents
Pitch airspeed or VSI as specified
Bank is HI
Power is rpm or airspeed as specified.

Pitch is airspeed
Bank HI
Power rpm

Turning Descent
Pitch airspeed
Bank is TC
Power rpm

IFR Mnemonics
Mnemonics is Greek for remember. first M is silent. Memory is like a lot of things -- if you don’t use it, you lose it. These are weak substitutes for checklists.

AROW airworthiness, registration, operating, weight
CIGAR controls instruments, gas, altimeter, runup
TIP trim, interior, prop
GUMP gas undercarriage, mixture, prop
SLIM switches, mixture, ignition, master
BLT booster, lights, transponder
CRAFT cleared, route, altitude, frequency, transponder
WIRE weather, instruments, radios, enroute
MATH missed, altitude, time, heading
GLIDE glide (speed, landing (place), identify (problem), discuss (radio), emergency (list)
LEFT HALF MT lights, engine, flaps, transponder, heading, altimeter, fuel, mixture, time
S**T strobes, heading, instruments, transponder
TIR tune, identify, twist
F**K (engine failure) firewall (power), undercarriage, check (which), kill
TXD time, transponder, directional gyro
Turn, Time, Twist, Throttle, Talk, Track are the 6 Ts mnemonic used at several points during an approach.
The terminal arrival mnemonics of TIMS, MARTHA-A, and FLAGS at the FAF gets the important things done.

T = Tune M = Missed F = Flags (avionics)
I = Identify A = Approach L = Lists
M = Monitor R = Radio A = Altitude
S = Select T = Time G = Gear
H = Headings S = Start (watch)_
A = Altitude
A = Airspeed

Alphabetic memory jogger
Aviate..fly the plane
Navigate..go to a place
Communicate..then talk

Pitch plus Power equals Performance
(Make a table for your aircraft

Set..set the pitch and power using AI and power
Monitor...Monitor other instruments for confirmation
Adjust..as required

At each FIX...
Time...note and record
Distance x Rate = time
Turn...Turn to intercepT and Track
Twist...the navcoms
Throttle...PPP (Above)
Think...What comes next
Landing Mnemonic

Map...approach chart
Minimums...pattern altitude MDA, DH

Radial..course and intersecting
Magnetic...Compass setting

ABC (For engine failure}
Best field
Cockpit check (communicate)

PBPP (Unusual Attitude)
Power...arrest trend
Bank...level the wings
Pitch...level flight
Power...power as required for cruise

CEF (IFR Radio Failure} Proceed as...
Cleared... the last time (Vectored? go direct to FIX.
Expected...ATC clearance
Filed...for the flight

Approach Briefing

--Current weather
--Proper charts
--Set all radios then ident all
--Which way, how low, how long
--Missed procedure

An Approach Checklist
Mis - memorize missed
T - Time set
R - Radios set
I - instruments set
A - altitude memorized MDA/DA
L - Landing configuration/checklist

Pre-Approach Mnemonics
M missed procedure
A Atis/altimeter
C compass check
A approach procedure
R radios set
T timing set
H headings-heights
A altimeter/altitudes
R reduce speed

turn, time, twist, throttle, talk, track, tires

MARTHA, for approach
M Missed
R radio
T times
H headings
A altitudes

CRAFT for clearances
C Course/cleared
R route
A altitude
F frequency
T transponder

C C C C C for missed approach
C Cram the throttle
C Climb
C Clean up (gear/flaps)
C Cool (cowl flaps)
C Communicate

B fuel on both
S security (seats, belts, doors)
S stopwatch set
M mixture rich
C compass

WRIM-TM for final approach
W weather (wind ceiling, visibility
R radios (set-ident)
I instruments (radials/intercepts)
M minimums
T time
M missed procedures

ADEF ACEfor lost communications and altitudes
A as assigned
D direct route
E expected route
F as filed
A assigned
C charted
E expected
(whichever is highest)

PTAEN for position reporting IPTAR
P position I identification
T time P position
A altitude T time
E estimate A arrival (next and ETA next expected)
N next R remarks

FAT for reporting at holding pattern
F fix
A altitude
T time

Heading, Altitude, Time, Missed Approach
Radios, ATIS, Altimeter, Directional gyro
Seats, Harness, Engine, Luggage, Lights, Flaps, Fuel (pump)
Gear, Ice (C.H.), Mixture, Prop, Inbound
Speed, Time, (FAF), Altimeter, Talk

IFR Perception

--Primary and secondary instruments are scanned for information
--The AI and HI appear to move in opposite directions when in a turn.
--Altimeter is primary for level flight
--AI is only non-numerical primary. Used to initiate bank.
--Momentary disorientation is a way of life in IFR.
--When in doubt, level the wings.
--IFR by 'feeling' is not conducive to long life.

Rules of Thumb
1. Standard distance between runway lights is 200'. Have passenger count lights to determine your aircraft performance.
2. Takeoff and landing distances in the book are of maximum performance type. For normal operations double the book figures.

Rule of thumb
The more near the throttle is to full power the more even leaning will be among the cylinders.

Rule of thumb
Cruise speed for planning purposes should be increased by one knot for every 100 pounds below gross weight

Rule of Thumb
You can use the AI to set the standard rate bank angle by dropping the last digit of the IAS and adding seven. Use this to set your initial bank angle and check it against the TC indication.

More IFR Rules of Thumb
To maintain a 3 degree glide slope multiply ground speed by five and use the result as your descent rate.

With no glide slope use your DME distance times 300 to get your present height above the threshold.

Stabilized approach descent rate obtained by adding zero to ias and divide by two.

Finding rate of descent required
Take the distance to arrival pattern altitude and divide by ground speed in miles per minute.

Change altitude to lose by dropping last two digits and divide by the time figured above.
Gives required feet per minute descent.

Distance needed to descend

Use altitude to lose multiplied by 3
Add a zero to half of your ground speed to find required rate of descent.

Three degree Glide descent
Take half of your ias and add a zero

1000 fpm descent
Begin descent when time to airport equals altitude to lose.

Initiating time and rate of descent
Altitude to lose in thousands divided by 3.gives distance to begin. Half of ground speed times ten will give fpm required.

Begin Descent
Divide altitude to lose by rate of descent to get time of descent. Multiply time by your miles per minute ground speed to get distance to initiate descent.

500 fpm descent distance
Take two times your ground speed in miles per minute times thousands of feet to lose

At 120 mph to lose 4000 feet you would 2 x 2 x 4 = 16 miles out. to begin descent

Scan Improves with Age 
Seniors have an IFR advantage when it comes to assessing a group instruments or tracking their movements. Tracking the entire IFR panel is easier for seniors than a single instrument.