Instrument Rating Flight Training near Birmingham, AL
Get Your Head IN the Clouds
Ready to Increase your flying Skills?
Obtaining your Instrument Rating is the next logical step after you’ve earned your private pilot license. Flying with an Instrument Rating (IR) expands the flight environment a pilot can safely operate within.
why become instrument rated?
So, why do you want to get your instrument rating? One reason is that the instrument rating is a good thing to have in your pocket, you never know when you’ll need it. Next is that becoming an IFR certified pilot is just another important step towards your career in aviation. The third reason is that you want to increase the productivity and safety of your personal or business flying.
The instrument rating allows you to fly without visual reference to the ground, horizon, or other landmarks. You will be able to fly through clouds, rain, fog, etc.. This skill is particularly useful when flying long distances, which can be difficult without encountering weather systems requiring instrument pilot skills. Or perhaps you fly somewhere and unexpectedly encounter instrument conditions. Additionally, time critical flights may be only be possible under instrument flight rules (IFR) due to adverse weather conditions.
Earning your instrument rating is not only a fun pursuit, but a major accomplishment. You will gain increased skill and confidence that comes from the precise flying required. For those pursuing a career in aviation, the Instrument Rating and knowledge you will receive during training is an essential and necessary step along the way.
What you’ll Learn during Instrument Flight Training
Why should you consider getting your Instrument Rating?
The most obvious benefit of holding an instrument rating is the ability to fly in weather conditions below VFR minimums. It is particularly useful when you fly long distances because it is frequently difficult to travel far without encountering weather systems requiring instrument pilot skills. On days with a low overcast you can receive a clearance to climb through the clouds and into clear, smooth air. Similarly, if you must fly at a specific time, it may be possible only under instrument flight rules due to adverse weather conditions.
Now, that is not to say weather is no longer a factor when deciding if you can make a flight. There are still many dangerous situations caused by the weather that instrument-rated pilots can encounter. While you may not be legally grounded by lingering fog or low ceilings, making a go/no-go decision still requires a thorough analysis of the current and forecast conditions. Factor in your own experience and the equipment you will be operating to come up with definitive personal minimums—and stick to them. Weather will still affect your flying, but the number of days you don’t fly because of weather will be greatly reduced. The additional training will give you more confidence, but do not succumb to pressure to fly if you are not comfortable. Paul Duty, Gleim Chief Instructor, offers the following advice: “If you find yourself saying ‘I think it’s okay,’ it probably isn’t. If you interpret second-guessing as a sign to make alternative plans, you’ll always come out ahead.”
Perhaps you have heard it said before: “stay ahead of the plane.” Getting behind implies that things are happening faster than you can handle them. Be prepared to handle any scenario. It is important to learn how to mentally plan for the next steps in the flight before you get there. This is true while flying VFR, but even more so when flying IFR. For many phases of instrument flight, you will have the same task load as when flying to an airport under VFR, such as setting the next radio frequency, listening to the weather, and studying the airport diagram. However, some phases of flight require a greater workload.
You will have to copy clearances (and sometimes amend them on the go), take extra steps to program avionics, brief the approach, plan holding pattern entries, and follow more ATC instruction—all while maintaining positive control of the aircraft and a continual instrument scan. During your instrument training, you must learn how to prioritize tasks and plan ahead to reduce your workload as much as possible. You will learn new skills that will help you to think ahead of the airplane and plan your next course of action, ultimately making you a better pilot.
Flying under IFR requires more attention to staying on course. Since you cannot maintain visual separation with other aircraft, you will need to rely on ATC. Maintaining tighter tolerances when navigating is critical to effective traffic management.
Flying a stabilized approach to landing is important whether you are operating under VFR or IFR. By practicing instrument approaches you will become more proficient at coordinating the flight controls to obtain a desired result. Specifically, you will learn more about pitch and power relationships. Some pilots will debate whether power controls altitude and pitch controls airspeed, or vice versa, but in reality pitch and power must be adjusted together in order to maintain either a rate of climb/descent and a specific airspeed. Nowhere is this more evident than when flying a precision approach, such as an ILS. Tracking the glideslope will help stabilize the aircraft, leading to better landings. The lessons learned will be evident whether you are flying in visual or instrument conditions.