WWII AIR FORCE 10 IFR COMMANDMENTS
Seat thyself well upon thy fifth
vertebra, leaving not thy fingerprints on the controls and chewing not on thy
Know thy instruments, for they are the true and appointed prophets.
Follow the indications of thy instruments and verily thee airplane will follow
along, even as the tail follows the sheep.
Do not stick out thy neck a foot; stay within the confines of thy ability and
thou shalt live to a happy old age.
Know the appointed words and approved methods, so that if thy neck dropeth
out, thou shalt be able even unto thyself to place same in it's proper place,
upon thy shoulders.
Follow thy radio beam, for these ways are happy ways and will lead to the
Listen carefully, yea verily, to the signal impinging on thy eardrum, for
sometimes they seem to have the tongues of snakes and will cross up thy
orientation to the sad state to where thou must ask Heaven Herself for guidance.
(If you have never flown the radio range that existed in the 30s and 40s you
won't appreciate this advice.)
Assume not, neither shalt thou guess, that thy position is such, but prove to
thine own satisfaction that such is the case.
Boast not, neither brag, for surely Old Devil Overcast shalt write such words
in his book and thou shalt some day be called for an accounting.
Trust not thy seat (of thy pants), but follow thine instruments. Read and
truly interpret the word as given from thine instrument board and know that the
responsibility lies not with the hand that rocks the control column, but in and
with the mind that directs the hand, and thou shalt be blessed with a long and
How to Prepare for the Instrument
Richard Taylor, Rod Machado, the FAA AC's, and Jeppesen.
Use time studying approach plates and en route maps. Jeppesen is probably better
Buy CH Products yoke and rudder
pedal units for home computer.
Use FlitePro software by Jeppesen.
Training -- Minimum amount of
Do a great deal of training at night on the computer.
Find a good flight instructor
Explanations that are understood are very important.
Take the knowledge test near the end of training.
Experience will reinforce the book answers.
When you have flight knowledge that coincides with your ground training you will
Have a copy of the PTS, Practical Test Standards.
The practical will consist of everything in the PTS. Some items may be combined
You are required to do 1
precision and 2 non precision approaches.
IFR Requirements (Changed August 1997)
FAA decides what training is
required as a MINIMUM
IFR Training Time
If rated in aircraft...
Log as PIC when you are the sole manipulator of the controls (61-51(e)(l)
15 hours with CFII
20 hours of approved simulator time under an authorized instructor.
250 miles flight along airways or ATC routing. Three different approaches in
which your final airport must have an instrument approach.
50 hours must be cross country (over 50 nautical with landing) PIC
15 hours of CFII instruction
The instrument competency check is now an
instrument proficiency check and must include holding procedures.
NDB not required on long X-country, which must include three different
Human factors and decision-making training required
Instruction to include:
--Severe weather, turbulence
No person may operate ...unless that aircraft contains the instruments and
equipment specified for that type of operation and...operable condition.
AIM 5-4-4 says pilot is
responsible to get ASOS or AWOS weather at uncontrolled airports where available
and then advise ATC of intentions.
AIM 5-3-7 revokes the 175 knot
prop limit and now has 200, 230, and 250 or as specified on chart limits.
FAR 61.57(c) requires six
instrument approaches (all the same or different), holding procedures, and
interception and tracking of navaid courses.
Instrument Evaluation Time
The safe outcome of an IFR flight
should never be in doubt.
Required procedures are interception and tracking of radials and bearings
Recovery from unusual attitudes
Holding procedures and flight by instruments.
Six approaches in past six months
Intercepted and tracked a navaid
PTS sets requirements of instrument competency check. (ICC)
Begin six approaches in actual IMC
Do a hold in actual or simulated situation.
Meeting letter of requirements may bypass FAR intent.
Logbook entries must give date, place and approach type
Use of flight simulator or FTD for aircraft category is o.k. if supervised by
Safety and efficiency depends on competency and proficiency.
Competency determined by accuracy, precise control and anticipation.
When overload occurs, attend to the flying first.
Glide slope flying requires power setting according to wind effect on ground
Demons of IFR just after getting rating:
Instrument Training Time
--FAR 61.65 requires 40 hours of
actual or simulated instrument flight time.
At least 15 hours must be
flight training time from a CFII in an
Flying with a safety pilot of CFI is logged as
instrument flight time.
Instrument flight time does not count as instrument flight training time.
instrument flight training time with a CFII also is
instrument flight time.
the PTS the cockpit check comes under preflight procedures Task C of
FAA-S-8081-4B dated Oct., 1994.
1) You must know how instruments
work, why the check is needed, the FARs that apply, and how defects and failure
can be noted. Options that exist with failed equipment.
2) You must have a functional
checklist that includes the POH list.
3) Many preflight specifics are
1. Setting and use of audio panel.
2. Use of all navigation aids VORs, GPS, ADF, ILS, and Markers (See 1 above)
3. Compass...Fluid level can be checked as part of cockpit check.
4. Gyro instruments (Instrument Handbook 35 to 54)
5. Know 'your' airplane.
Clock, pitot heat, turn and slip, static
4) Will any noted discrepancy make the aircraft unsafe for instrument flight.
Required Knowledge Areas
be Ready for the Practical Test
Written test, aircraft papers, pilot papers, application
Cross country flight planning
Preflight - IFR specific
When pre-flighting you should check pitot heat, hot prop and pre-set radios
as additionals. When taxiing we should check AI, HI, and TC during turns.
IFR add to VFR requirements
Mnemonic is CHART GAD
clock, heading indicator, attitude indicator, two way
turn coordinator, generator, altimeter, DME above
Instrument cockpit check
Collision avoidance techniques
Compliance with ATC Clearances
Flight reference to the instruments
Constant airspeed climb
Straight and level
Change of airspeed
Constant airspeed descents
Constant airspeed climbs
--Constant rate climbs
Timed turns to compass headings
Recovery from unusual attitudes
Intercepting and tracking VOR radials
Intercepting and Tracking NDB bearings
Circling approach procedures
PRACTICAL TEST STANDARDS
An Instrument Rating applicant is
not permitted more than three-quarter-scale CDI or glide slope deflection during
a VOR or ILS approach and no more than one-quarter scale CDI or glide slope
deflection during an ILS approach. Less that half-scale CDI deflection for VOR
approaches, and plus or minus 5 degrees for NDB approaches.. You must be
"established" on course when operating on an IFR route segment within those
standards. Instrument pilots are just like athletes; with conditioning,
practice, repetition and concentration you will get it right.
Reasons for Failure
--Not having all plates,
Reliance on radar
Wrong direction during procedure turn
Late descent for non-precision approach
Turning in wrong direction to heading.
Sayings of Note
When pre-flighting you should check pitot heat, hot prop and pre-set
radios as additionally....
When taxiing we should check AI, HI, and TC during turns.
On takeoff we would prefer to have the aircraft cleaned for climb before
While the step by step process of configuring the aircraft is best for
The most likely cause of an approach screw-up is just plain getting behind the
Use ILS if available it actual emergency but examiner may use other
approach to check partial panel ability on non-precision approaches.
The instrument PTS regarding an
ILS approach states that the standards are no more than 3/4 scale deflection of
the localizer or glide slope indications and within 10 kts airspeed.
Simulation During IFR Practical Test
During the in-flight simulation of partial panel instrument approach, because of
the physical position of the magnetic compass in some aircraft, the applicant is
likely to receive visual clues not normally available. Once this occurs, a
meaningful evaluation is compromised. Examiners may request applicant no longer
refer to magnetic compass. If actual ATC assistance is unavailable the examiner
may simulate ATC assistance procedures.
Instrument rating PTS
requires non-precision approach under partial panel. Emphasis will be on
loss of gyros and loss of radios. Test will include timed turns and compass
turns to headings, climbs, descents and unusual attitudes. In actual situation
ILS would be more desirable.
The expectation during simulated
emergencies is that a successful conclusion is the primary objective. Applicants
must demonstrate knowledge of resources available. (Advise ATC, request radar
vectors, call fixes, no gyro assistance, nearest VFR, nearest airport, etc.)
IFR Checkride Failure
Examiner comments related to
Unable to handle ATC communications. Failure to repeat back clearances and
Problems with frequencies
on missed approach.
--Did not know preferred routes, symbols or abbreviations
Did not have airport/facility Directory
Use of radials on VOR. Confusing VOR ident with localizer. Flew with reverse
sensing of VOR.
Premature descent especially during procedure turns
Failure to set altimeter prior to approach
Unable to fly plane while using magnetic compass for headings.
Failed to recognize that glide slope failure required localizer minimums and
Failed to adhere to departure procedures.
Excessive and even incorrect course corrections using CDI.
NDB approach used homing instead of tracking.
Failed to fly to missed approach point before turning.
Seasoning the Instrument Program
The instrument rating is one that
can be acquired relatively quickly by following a program designed to give the
skills needed to pass the checkride. However, this may not be the best program
unless it is supplemented immediately by frequent reinforcing practice.
Otherwise there is likely to be a rapid decline in basic skills and knowledge.
There is more to instrument flight than just getting the rating. There are
levels of proficiency and training variables that drastically affect the safety
margins. There are negatives for more or less frequent flights. Some
adjustment can be made to take advantage of inclement weather.
During certification check the PTS and FARs to make sure that you meet the
requirements. A most common error is not following directions and completing all
required spaces in the application.
Areas of Difficulty
A distraction is instantaneous when only one word is misunderstood in an IFR
clearance. It takes great mental concentration to continue on getting the
clearance and still be able to ask ATC to repeat or clarify the missed word.
More commonly the pilot misses everything past the problem word. The most
dangerous point of an IFR flight is the missed approach. The pilot, who in the
performance of the missed approach does not know 'what comes next' is into the
distraction mode of thinking which usually results in an accident. The missed
approach that is in the distraction mode is extremely overloaded. What must be
done and the sequence of doing what must be done become a mental blur.
Familiarity with the aircraft is a must to reduce the probability of a
IFR Arrival Briefing
…Study the chart
…Frequencies in order
…Radials in order
…Marker and ADF set
…Altitudes in order and minimums
…Over-preparation will be negated by ATC
…Use one colour to planning and another colour for changes
…Expect preferred routing
…Be efficient on the radio
…Ask for help or vector to unknown fix
…Make required call-ups
…Read back as required
…Maintain altitudes, headings and airspeeds
…Know your configuration changes and effects
…Specific position reports into uncontrolled airports.
…Descending too far too soon is a fundamental mistake.
Weather Reports and Forecasts
Examiner will use FAA aviation weather services publication AC 00-45C
Applicant must know how to obtain, read and analyze weather reports and
forecasts from AC 00-45C
PIREP and radar reports, surface
analysis charts. Radar summary charts, prog charts, winds and temperature aloft,
freezing lever charts, stability charts, severe weather, outlook, constant
pressure charts, high level prognosis charts. SIGMETS, AIRMETS, ATIS reports,
(Automatic Weather Observation Station) (Automatic Meteorological Observation
What they do...What they give...How different
Why Examiners Test Weather
Raise knowledge level of weather theory
DUATS requires knowing how to read reports and forecasts.
Self briefings are a growing requirement
When is an alternate required Night IFR at uncontrolled airport Below
minimums is O.K. if in pattern within 1/2 mile. SVFR procedures
15% of applicants do not know how to get magnetic course. Know how to
enter ARSA below Class B or C (3000' critical)
How WAC charts are different from sectionals
IFR departure from uncontrolled airport
Partial panel approach
Induction ice and alternate air source
Static air intake and alternate static source
Antennas - glide slope, marker beacon
PRACTICAL TEST STANDARDS
FAR PART 61 CERTIFICATION OF PILOTS AND FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS
FAR PART 91 GENERAL OPERATING AND FLIGHT RULES
AC 00-6 AVIATION WEATHER
AC 00-45 AVIATION WEATHER SERVICES
AC 61-21 FLIGHT TRAINING HANDBOOK
AC 61-23 PILOT'S HANDBOOK OF AERONAUTICAL KNOWLEDGE
AC 61-27 INSTRUMENT FLYING HANDBOOK
AC 61-84 ROLE OF PREFLIGHT PREPARATION
AC 90-48 PILOT'S ROLE IN COLLISION AVOIDANCE
AIM AIRMAN'S INFORMATION MANUAL
SID STANDARD INSTRUMENT DEPARTURES
STAR STANDARD TERMINAL ARRIVALS
AF/D AIRPORT FACILITY DIRECTORY
FDC NOTAM NATIONAL FLIGHT DATA CENTRE/NOTICE TO AIRMEN
IAP INSTRUMENT APPROACH PROCEDURES
--Government instrument approach procedures (IAP) are published every 56 days,
every 28 days and NOTAMS as required.
--Pertinent pilot operating handbooks
--FAA approved flight manuals
--En route low altitude chart
IFR Student Requirements
Aeronautical eligibility 61.65 (e and I)
Total 50 hours cross country other than student solo 61.65(c)(4)
250 nautical mile cross country which must include an ILS, a VOR and NDB
approaches. (check)61.65 (II) (III)
To qualify for the long cross-country IFR flight must include at least two
airports 250 NM in a straight line distance apart and
1 VOR, 1 ILS and 1 NDB approach.
Total hours is 15 by a CFII instructor in an airplane.
Maximum of 20 hours in a simulator
GET ON GOVERNMENT MAILING LIST:
(See VFR material) USE AC 00-2 AND AC 00-2.7 Oct. 1994
Address: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION M 494.1 DISTRIBUTION REQUIREMENTS SECTION
WASHINGTON D. C. 20590
Electronic Bulletin Board Access Information
Safety and Standards
Modem(202)267-5205 Operator Rick Marinelli, (202)267-7669
Policy, Plans and Management
Modem(202) 267-5697 Operator Mike Lee (202) 267-3332
Now that you have your rating
comes the hard part. The on-going need to maintain the minimum of 6-6-6 will
continue as long as you fly IFR. The initial issue certificate is just a license
to continue your learning and training. Now you must be more than just legally
current to be safe.
Inexperienced pilots tend to over-control when beginning on simulated
instruments and then again when they are exposed to actual conditions. The
difficulty is related to fully understanding the relationship between the actual
horizon and that displayed on the AI. Some pilots make constant adjustments to
controls even when they are not needed under the presumption that they should be
doing something all the time.
Every pilot has fears and
weaknesses. Ideally, the pilot should make a list and work toward elimination of
fears and weaknesses one at a time. We must beware of perpetuating that weakness
in someone else and in ourselves.
The single-pilot IFR flight
should have a condensed set of lists that covers route, clearances, frequencies,
minimums and missed. He should have made a dry run through radio frequencies
and settings. He should have rehearsed what he expects to hear during the flight
and his anticipated (word for word) responses. The pilot's efficiency in
organization of what the procedures require is the best way to lighten the
workload when in flight. In additional, he should have a pop-up IFR checklist
for the end of those VFR flights that require an instrument approach. If you are
on a VFR flight plan you MUST close it even if you are opening an IFR flight
There are advantages to flying
the full procedure using your own navigation. You will always know where you
are. While on vectors, it is easy to lose orientation due to vector changes. If
the unplanned workload increases it is very easy to overlook critical items.
Reading back a clearance does not mean you have adequately prepared for that
routing. A well-organized pilot who is at least even with the aircraft is best
able to deal with the unanticipated.
Many pilots agree more with the
'follow your gut' crowd than the 'personal minima' crowd only because my gut
seems to be far better at calculating the quantum variables intuitively much
faster than you can reason it all out while bouncing through the clouds.
Confidence in your decisions is a requirement to executing a good approach. If
that confidence isn't there it's time to consider the alternatives.
Develop physiological reaction
to those situations that are over your head, and when after 250 hrs you may have
learned to heed it. When the altimeter reads too close to DH and it's still dark
and gloomy outside, or there's one of those "runway in the storm window"
crosswinds, a sour taste at the back of my throat rises. This means "Go around,
you idiot", or "take the missed approach and land somewhere else". It's much
more reliable than a hard-and-fast rule like "I won't land in less than 500 ft.
ceilings". Experience shows that very few IFR missed approaches actually occur
due to weather. The fact that so few occur is the cause of the ‘expectancy’
problem. The pilot may view the situation as how he would have it be rather than
as they are.
Number one is flying the
aircraft. Do not let a distraction such as changing frequencies change this
priority. Mastery of the aircraft should never by in doubt regardless of the
workload. Use the speed you can be comfortable with. If ATC requests a higher
speed, advise that you will accept vectors to allow faster traffic to pass. In
no event maintain an uncomfortably speed on the final portion of the approach.
All approaches should be flown
at the selected airspeed with the gear down, using power to control rate of
descent and flaps as required at the bottom of the approach. The primary
consideration is airplane handling and performance during the final phase of the
procedure. This means you must get the aircraft set up at a definite point ahead
of time. Stick with the same configuration for all approaches. If you have good
basic attitude instrument skills, with control over airspeed, descent and
heading you can fly a good instrument approach. Descent rate approximates G.S x
Whether or not to use flaps on
an approach depends very much on how they affect the performance of the aircraft
when initiating the missed approach. By themselves flaps do not affect the
approach but on Cessnas the addition of full power in higher powered singles can
create overpowering trim forces on flap removal. Be careful and prepared by
locking the elbow on power application.
The most required skills of an instrument pilot are aircraft control,
positional awareness and focused reality on the instruments. Vertigo can and
does occur to all pilots. Certain very normal flight situations can cause
vertigo. The turning of a head, looking down and sideways, or up all when
combined with a constant rate turn will create vertigo. The inner ear is a most
fallible device. Large quick movements are easily detected while slow smooth
movements can escape notice. The ear adapts to easy motion rather quickly and
will react to any quick changes or stops as being movement in the opposite
The pilot’s rule when exposed to
vertigo should be to first do nothing, study the instruments and respond without
reacting. We cannot deny the perception of inner ear messages. We can deny any
response to them. The ability to intellectually deny the inner ear sensations
marks the instrument pilot. The correctness of what is done under instrument
conditions far exceeds the importance of any speed required.
Reaction time is based upon how
your senses work together. Hearing and smell may provide advance warning but
most often we are not as sensitive to these as to the tactile sense. Vision
evokes the quickest reactions but this quickness may be instinctive and counter
productive. Where you look is in a manoeuvre will enable you to counter visual
illusion and associated instinctive reactions. How the manoeuvre feels and sounds
will augment vision once the proper parameters are practiced and imprinted.
We need to practice reactions in
flying situation so that they can be anticipated, decisive, selective, and
accurate. Landings, takeoffs, steep turns, stalls, airspeeds, minimum
controllable, and unusual attitudes are areas where we can organize our senses
to get our performance and the required reaction under control. Along with
correct performance of the manoeuvres we should expose ourselves to incorrect
(read instinctive) reaction situations. The inadvertent event is the one most
likely to be met with instinctive reaction. IFR could well mean I Feel Reaction.
Recognition of the need and
correctness in reaction is, to me, more important than the speed. Maybe this is
because, with age, I have replaced most of my reaction time with anticipation.
Knowing what to expect from
yourself, the plane, ATC, and the weather greatly reduces the need for reaction
and increases the presence of anticipation.
1) Awareness of how deceptive our senses can be,
anticipation can affect selection, speed, and accuracy of any reaction, and
Situations where reaction is all you have available.
Getting your rating made you a better pilot. You became more selective as to
what made weather safe for flying. You were capable of absorbing multiple
instructions while manoeuvring the aircraft. You set new personal minimums for
VFR flying because of your capability to go IFR. Even the FSS talked to you
differently after you said, "IFR capable". When entering VFR conditions on an
IFR flight plan you must see and avoid other traffic.
We will make a practice of
setting up the missed approach as much as possible during the approach to be
followed by a holding pattern at some point prior to the next approach.
Weather That Does Not Like IFR Flying
1. High barometric pressure, high
humidity, low night temperature and calm winds
2. Winds that flow on-shore
3. Stationary fronts that don't move
4. A multiple front low or occluded front
5. The northeast point of a surface low
6. A Low in the Gulf of Mexico
7. A warm front in winter
9. An overcast above cold, wet ground.
IFR to VFR Accidents Compared
12% related to low-level manoeuvring.
12% Fuel exhaustion (Often caused by headwinds and multiple approaches)
50% Trying VFR in IFR conditions
3% Low level flight into terrain (Circling approaches)
3% Midair while VFR
14% Failure to select fuel or put on carburettor heat.
50% Improper approach procedure
20% Stall on approach
50% Into Terrain on approach/icing
33% Of IFR loss of control occurred in IFR conditions. Most of these happened
departure into overcast or on approach.
50% IFR control loss on departure
50% IFR control loss in weather
16% IFR control loss in turbulence
0% Lost or disoriented
25% of IFR accidents were related to mechanical problems of aircraft systems.
Knowing how to shut off autopilots for
example. Engine failure implicated in 11% of all IFR accidents.
50% IFR control loss due to vacuum pump failure
25% Into terrain at night
50% IFR control loss due to static system failure
Simulation is not an adequate substitute for actual conditions. The
likely absence of turbulence, changing visibilities, illusions and a low
visibility landing are not possible. Visual peeks are bound to occur when
compass-heading checks are made. The absence of actual conditions inhibits low
time certified IFR pilots from maintaining currency.
Second major area of
incompetence lies in the transition from IFR to landing the aircraft in low
visibility to a full stop. Training approaches all too often end with the
Talking to any ATC facility is
not a guarantee of defence against your having a mid-air. Even IFR-VFR
separation is guaranteed only in Class A, B, or C. Most mid-airs occur at low
altitudes near uncontrolled airports because that's where the airplanes are.
Aircraft shadows are your best indicator of low level proximity. Watch the
ground. As with cars there are built in aircraft blind spots that can only be
uncovered by S-turns, head nodding, and a bit of luck. Always check the airspace
you are about to enter.
Night IFR in IMC
There is no greater likelihood of a mechanical failure caused accident at
night than there is during daytime.
Likewise, day or night weather itself is not going to be a 'causal' factor.
Only a small percentage of all G.A. IFR takes place at night.
Over half of G.A. IFR circle-to-land occur at night.
Night IFR accidents are most likely to occur when:
Following multiple attempts at approaches,
Flying a non-standard approach, poor planning and lack of proficiency.
The difference between day and night IFR is very subtle.
Night can suck a pilot into a situation from which there is no back door.
Fuel availability at night is different than during the day.
An IFR pilot is apt to stretch aircraft endurance.
Night IFR needs more than a legal alternate.
You need an alternate that you know you can reach and get into.
Part of the preflight is to know the approach procedure and the lighting
system activation that may be available. Statistics show that night flight and
IFR night flight has proportionately higher accident rates. There is nothing
more difficult flying at night on instruments providing you can see the
instruments. Good lighting is essential. Preservation of night vision is of
reduced importance. Usually the accident is caused by controlled flight into
obstacles while transition from IFR to VFR. An accident at this time is called
'pilot error' or an attempt to use Braille.
Depth perception and obstacle
determination is more difficult at night. The brightness of runway lights and
others cause an illusion of distance that is deceptive. This is especially true
if the area is unfamiliar. Transition to visual conditions may require
exceptional area awareness. Fuel exhaustion at night seems to become a factor
only if multiple approaches are involved.
If you are going to fly night
IFR do considerable practice in those conditions. Fly only precision approaches
into controlled airports that are straight in. No circling approaches. Use the
VASI or PAPI. If you must go into an uncontrolled airport cancel IFR only after
landing. Set higher minimums for night. A vacuum back-up is essential at night.
Don't fly if ice is a
possibility and don't take off if it is a probability. Nights are colder and ice
is more likely. On the bright side (pun) thunder storms are less likely. Night
flight into broken cloud conditions are quite conducive to creation of vertigo.
In night IFR avoid looking outside until you really need to. Prevention is
easier than recovery from symptoms of illusion. At night you can’t obtain visual
impressions of where the weather is or what it looks like.
As with all IFR flight, it is
important that you fly the charted routes. Radar vectors requires you to totally
trust someone else. Better yet, combine 'own nav' with radar advisories
specifically asking for obstacle clearance. Use the second pilot to call the
plate numbers to supplement your own checks. Plate calls would include; ATIS,
pattern altitude, IAF altitude and track, inbound track and altitude, approach
fix, minimums and time, missed approach track and climb to altitude before
Flying a consistent profile is
essential to safe night IFR. Be so situation aware that you do not descend below
1500' AGL until you are within 5 nm of the destination. (You can remain above
the charted altitudes.) The worst night IFR situation is a non-precision
approach to circle-to-land at a strange airport.
The worst case scenario related
to night IFR actual conditions flight is engine failure where without power,
most instruments, and little opportunity to select a landing place everything is
at risk. The risk management of flight in these conditions begins with the
proficiency of the pilot. A smoke filled cockpit becomes IFR with your eyes
closed. Without auto pilot you haven’t a chance. Standby vacuum doesn't help if
the windmilling propeller provides no differential. Catastrophic failures can
occur any time but are far more likely to occur where poor maintenance practices
are allowed to exist.
Cautions at Night:
Personal minimums should be very high for night IFR.
Carry extra fuses, flashlights.
Have current Airport/Facilities Directory to determine hours of operation,
lighting and facilities available.
Get L-type NOTAMs
Do not expect ATC to know about FDC NOTAMed changes to procedures. Get the
FDCs as part of your planning.
Chose route as nearly airport vicinity as possible
Double check MDA and DH for any night restrictions
Night vision is affected by IFR MOCA altitudes due to lack of oxygen.
Ability to retain night vision very difficult.
Bright runway lights on a wide runway make you feel closer to the ground; dim
lights in haze on a narrow runway may because you to descend below the glide
Your worst landing will be when you follow the landing light into the ground.
Night approaches with only the approach lights visible creates illusions of
altitude and direction from only the slightest bank.
Trust the instruments at night
Wing mounted taxi lights make taxiing difficult
There should be some night IFR instruction but it should be in the form of a
review of previously flown day light
Learning a new procedure at night is both difficult, inefficient, and
After the IFR rating is acquired, additional night IFR instruction should be
used in maintaining proficiency requirements..
The most difficult approach ever do will be the night circling approach
followed closely by the step-down approach.
C-210s are having more night IFR accidents than any other type.
Half of night weather IFR accidents occur to G.A. twins.
1/3 of night IFR accidents occur with clouds and low visibility as a factor.
Night IFR has proportionately far more accidents than does day IFR. 3 to 1
Twice as many night ILS accidents occurred than on non-precision approaches.
Most ILS runways have VASI still pilots descend below indicators.
Most night IFR approach accidents occur by pilots hitting the ground short of
Solution: Chose night approaches to runways with VASI.
Most night IFR accidents occur when days are shorter.
The length of time you have been awake has a marked effect on accident
If you shear away from night single-engine IFR, you should fly in a twin
IFR Accident Statistics
--More than 50% of accidents which result during approaches to below landing
minima are fatal.
A single pilot delayed "go around' is most frequent single cause.
The FAA reviews all landings reported as being made below weather minimums.
Consider coming in SVFR as a viable option since altitude minimums do not
The accident rate on night IFR approaches is 60% of all IFR approach
Only 4% of all general aviation flying is done at night.
Most ILS accidents (20-30 per year) seem to occur within a mile or less of the
runway but 1/3 crash on the runway.
Over half of the ILS accidents occur at night when only 1/4 of the ILS
approaches are made.
A pilot should make his personal IFR minimums for night flight very high.
Transitioning to the visual is the most demanding and dangerous part of an ILS
but even more so at night.
There is no margin for error in an ILS carried to minimums.
Runway accidents seems to be related to contact on slick runways and higher
than normal speed.
1/6 of ILS accidents occur while making second or third approaches.
An ATC warning of course or altitude deviation is sufficient notice to begin
--Flights on the ILS to an airport known to be below minimums should be flown to
DH for practice only with a planned
Don't fly a no-approach light ILS at night.
Through greater emphasis on standardized radio communications pilot will be
involved in fewer runway transgressions, en route course deviations, and other
aviation safety incidents.
Most altitude deviations are the result of a communications failure. The
failure may be with ATC or the pilot. The major cause of the failure is not
using standard phraseology usually by the pilot who fails to read back the ATC
clearance completely with the aircraft call sign. If there is cockpit doubt as
to the clearance make a confirmation call to ATC. An altitude deviation is far
morel likely to bring on an FAA violation action than is a course deviation.
Climb/descent in VFR
Clearance or ATC instruction when:
IFR flight requests climb/descent in VFR conditions
Noise abatement not met by IFR route/altitudes
Practice approach not on IFR flight plan. Must comply with
VFR rules. ATC separation provided in Classes B and C.
VFR climbs help you to avoid
circuitous charted IFR routes often caused by terrain. Such a visual climb
clearance requires that
you fly above minimum safe altitudes requires in FAR 91.119 and provide your own
Special VFR (SVFR)
SVFR will be available in B, C, D, surface-based E, or surface foot-print of
the airspace. SVFR in primary airport of Class B
makes SVFR unavailable to fixed wing aircraft.
Much of the IFR ground information should be self studied from FAA and other
texts. Material herein should be
considered supplementary only.
What is the FAA's stand on logging approaches? What happens if you cross the
IAP in IMC but break out before reaching the
FAF? Does this still count as an approach? Most pilots consider any instrument
approach flown in IMC at the FAF to be
When flying IFR you must believe your instruments.
Accidents usually occur when a safety option is compromised.
Flying would be safer if we grew wise before aging, unfortunately this is not
Gauge of wisdom is remembering mistakes and options.
Time in the air allows an accumulation of mistake reference library.
A cruise clearance is a block of altitudes between the cleared altitude and
the minimum IFR altitude.
If a cruise clearance allows you to reach VFR you can cancel IFR.
Maximum safety is achieved through a well-trained pilot.
Making the Approach
Part 91 has no published IFR minimums.
You must know where you are.
You must know where you are going and have a way of getting there.
--You must have guidance in executing the descent to landing.
You must have a missed approach option if you can't land
Aircraft condition and proper avionics.
Approaches that are legal and pilot competent to perform. Precision approaches
are always preferable.
Safe is a better choice over legal.
--Brief the approach
Briefing is especially important if you are solo IFR.
Have all plates for the airport available on your lap.
Real missed approaches are as frequent as holding patterns.
Make only small control movements. Be slow and deliberate and even more so
near the end.
If you can't be smooth make the missed.
-Be on a stabilized approach by 1000' AGL. Be configured to land.
In actual IFR minimize use of the radio after getting your clearance.
Use your autopilot, coupled if possible. Use every aid you have available. A
properly aligned ADF is best
Use a taxi diagrams once clear of the runway.
the approach ends when the wheels stop.
Give ATC appropriate PIREPS.
The IFR pilot who has just got rated is lacking the experience to safely use
his rating in single pilot IFR. This problem exists as soon as a flight is
planed in an unfamiliar aircraft. New IFR rated pilots should begin making all
flights as IFR. The actual IFR flight should begin gradually with the actual
conditions having a floor of several thousand feet AGL. There is a certain
security in knowing VFR exists below. Your actual IFR departures and approaches
are best made in MVFR where you can see if you have to.
IFR Cockpit Organization
The most difficulty on an IFR
flight occurs when ATC makes changes you do not want to make.
Your level of assertiveness can make things better or worse depending on you
Like all things governmental, what is done initially is done for their
convenience not yours.
Any increase in workload will require that your flying the plane portion will
--Distractions are the mice of IFR flight.
--Distractions can be trapped early by proper planning.
Make an Anti-Distraction checklist.
1. Preflight includes pitot heat check.
2. Papers you cannot get to are useless.
3. Papers out of order or upside down are confusing.
4. Charts must be color coded and in proper order
5. The right seat is a desk even if it is a lap.
6. Clutter is a dirty word.
7. Select the most experienced passenger to sit next to you.
8. Always begin an approach series with the one requiring the least effort.
9. Always depart with the return to field approaches most available.
10. Prepare for your emergency before you takeoff.
11. Plan for a night time arrival before takeoff.
12. The compass is your most reliable instrument.
13. Clearance prior to engine start is a choice.
14. Clearance prior to taxi is always a choice.
15. Clearance in the run-up area is a choice.
16. Altimeter setting is a given.
Reporting the glide slope out
means that ATC may do one or more of the following:, reset, check with another
aircraft, NOTAM it out, or contact a repair facility.
The glide slope being out changes the approach from ILS into Localizer.
Localizer frequencies are all between .08.1 and 111.95
Localizer straight-in minimums are charted when within 30-degrees of the
--Minimum safe altitudes (MSA) do not necessarily provide radio reception.
MSAs are always above mean sea level (MSL), 2l5 or 30 nautical miles circles
with sectors of 90+degrees.
The visibility required by an approach is determined by flight visibility
What you can see at the decision altitude (DA) determines whether you land or
An accident means you did not have required landing visibility.