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brucek

Some Instrument Rating training- and Mentoring.

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I'm mid-way into studying for the instrument rating (IR) written exam, and have recently sat down with my CFII (who I'll be working with later in the year on the practical piece). Coincidentally, I'm having the most amount of difficulty in the written study with the topic that my CFII said would be the most difficult to learn in actual flight: Positional awareness. By this I mean being put into a random situation where I have a heading (in the HI) and a VOR with a random OBS bearing, a CDI displacement and a TO/FROM flag. (I wish I could draw a picture here, but I'm sure all IR pilots here know what I'm talking about). I'd like to get past my current status of having to draw a diagram of where I am with respect to the VOR and the radial, turn the paper around and mentally figure out where I am, then figure out an intercept and proceed to join a given radial. In real life, the aircraft is ploughing on at 110 Kts while all this is happening, not good! So, I had an idea. I would create some saved flights where my C172SP (that's what I fly) is in range of a VOR, with a preset OBS setting (and consequential CDI displacement) and heading; then practice positional awareness- which should help in entering holding patterns too. However, when I go make such a saved flight, I already know where I am (because I put myself there:) ), and this removes some of what I'm trying to learn.For any IR pilots (or anyone who might understand what I'm talking about), I wonder if I could impose on any willing people to set up a flight and send me some .flt files by e-mail? (as I recall, the saved flight file has a .flt extension). Of course, adding some winds might make this even more demanding too :) My e-mail address is brucek@qwest.netAnd- any advice that any of you may have in resolving positional awareness would be greatly appreciated.Thanks for any help. FS does help enormously in IR work, as I'm finding out. I'm also discovering why the IR is the hardest rating to get for a licensed pilot- although I'm sure that ATP and others are very hard also :) .Thanks- and if anyone would like me to do the same for them (create saved flight files), I'd be very happy to do so.Bruce.

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Bruce:Although not a direct answer to your question, one thing I found very helpful when studying for the instrument ticket was to write the names of approaches to various airports in the area I fly on 3 x 5 cards, load up flight simulator, take off and fly to the practice area like in real life, and then pull out a card. Wham, instant clearance -- then without pausing the sim you have to set up all the radios, get and maintain situational awareness, and fly the approach. Try it, it's a blast.Good luck,Paul

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Bruce, good to hear you are adding the instrument certification to your experience. This was the last flight certification I received and remember it as one of the hardest things I've accomplished in my life. I remember not much liking the frustration I had when I first started learning landings, then when I get to instrument training, I thought learning landings had nothing on flying on instruments. This was especially true of learning in Oklahoma where the winds are always there to challenge you to stay on course. But like everything else, once you complete it you will have a huge feeling of accomplishment.You are already doing much of what is best for instrument, practicing it in a flightsim. Off the top of my head, one thing I found to be a good tool is this thing called Tim's Nav Trainer. It is a very simplistic nav trainer programmed in Java available on the internet. It is simple but it lets you easily setup a training tool for situational awareness just like you are talking about. It will replicate an ADF, VOR, HSI, RMI, or DG. You can put in a simple wind vector. It has a plan view of the nav aids and your aircraft with a track. Once you have a feel for operating it when you can see the top-down view, you can then hide that view and all you can see then is the instruments. You can then use the 'lost' function to randomly place your aircraft and then learn from that. It is something I recommend to all starting pilots, not that you are starting pilot. :-)You can take a look at it hear:http://www.visi.com/~mim/nav/He also has a small zip file you can download to run in locally on your computer. Maybe that will help.

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Thanks Paul,I did take your suggestion and have saved a few random locations at a astrange airport with a published approach, for which I have charts. Thanks for your good suggestion.Bruce.

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Hi Scott,Thanks for this very interesting information and link, I'll go get this and check it out.You're right about the landings being simple when compared with instrument work- I'm rapidly learning that now! :)Thanks again Scott, much appreciated.Bruce.

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One, CFII's seem to make it harder than it has to be...I being a little harsh :)Two ways to find out where you are and insure that you are going the right way. The second seems really simple, but most people seem to overlook how easy it makes things...First method:#1 Find out where you are (Turn OBS until you find out the radial from the VOR that you are on. VOR says FROM, and you know what radial you are flying through or on. #2 Look at direction that you are flying on your DG.#3 You now can picture where you are and where you are heading relative to VOR. Simple, even in heavy turbulence and 180 knots.#4 Then dial in radial that you want..Fly toward it and intercept..If you want to head toward the VOR, make sure it says TO, and if away, it says FROM.Simple as that.Second overly simplistic tip... A lot of people get confused with VOR's.. I sure as hell did for a little bit... Remember one thing. We all know it intuitively, but don't seem to follow our own advice. When ATC is reading off your clearance or ammending your clearance enroute, and giving you a radial to intercept, rather than remembering to put the inverse radial in to intercept, blah, blah, blah, just make sure the VOR says TO if you want to go toward it...and FROM if you are flying away from it...Trust me, there will be times that you will be totally confused or overloaded with turbulence, radio calls, IMC, etc. and if you simply think of that simple thing "to for to" or "to means to" and "from for from", etc. your confusion will melt like Velveeta....Have fun, it's frustrating, and sometimes you will say why am I doing this, but trust me it's worth it.. I haven't flown a VFR flight plan in 6-7 months...mainly because we are building time as safety pilots flying IFR plans...but it's been great experience..ChristopherP4 1.8768 ram 80 gig hardriveVisiontek Ti4 4600CH yoke/pedalsElite Multi quadrant19" inch monitor-Soundblaster PCI 512Win XPInstrument rated ASEL -226 hoursAOPALawyerPilots Bar Association"Men without dreams are never free, twas thus this way and thus will ever be."

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Thanks Christopher,Some good information. I'm thoroughly enjoying the IR training, and can't wait until I can actually file IFR!See you at the AOPA forum site sometime!Bruce.

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