Instrument Rating

Scenario

You and I are going on a day IFR cross-country flight to one of the destinations selected or agreed upon. It will be just us for now. However, we also will be carrying a cooler full of food and beverages that weighs 50 lbs. We also have items in the back seat (flight kits, etc.) that weigh 20 lbs.

We are flying to the destination to attend a sporting event with friends. I am going along as a passenger and am not a certificated pilot, although I have taken a few lessons and have a basic understanding of flying.

This is the reason we are going on the trip. Be prepared to discuss the aspects of flight planning and variations to this plan as we progress through the oral portion of the practical test.

Practical Test Prep Details

To prepare for the practical test, prepare an IFR cross-country flight using appropriate IFR low or high altitude charts to conduct the flight. Use of VORs, NDB1s, or GPS is acceptable as long as all required calculations are included in the planning and the nav log.

I have three options for you to use to calculate a flight on. Select one for the practical test or if you’d like to use something else, just call and discuss that with me.

On the day of the test, the flight plan discussion will be to the first fuel stop however, make sure you are using real-time weather for the day of the test and be ready to discuss destination or first fuel stop weather. If you determine you will need to make a fuel stop prior to the destination, the nav log and flight plan can be just to the first fuel stop and not the destination.

Use of either paper charts or digital charts is acceptable. Prepare a Weight and Balance with my weight at 210.

KDVT→KELP
KDVT→KMYF
KDVT→KSNA


Additional Testing Details

Make sure you bring your username and password for IACRA. This will be needed to have you sign your application once I have verified your identity in the program.

Have your FTN with you.

Don’t forget your government ID with photo, medical (3rd class minimum or Basic Med), Pilot certificate, and SODA if you have one issued. For Basic Med applicants, bring your online certification form.


Logbooks—Be sure to total all pages using only ink. Pencil will not be accepted. The FAA considers your logbook as a legal record. Putting tabs or markings in your logbook so the examiner can easily identify and validate the requirements of §61.65 will definitely speed things up. Marking or annotating all endorsements will also facilitate the process.

Ensure you have all aircraft maintenance logs or records with you. Bring the MEL/CDL if the aircraft has one approved by the FAA. This will be used during the oral portion in a scenario or may be used in real-time if an unairworthy condition exists at the time of the practical flight portion.

Make sure you have real-time weather to brief the examiner with for the practical test. Electronic or printed briefing packets work best for efficient test discussion.

Pre-calculate all performance data available in the aircraft POH.  Base all calculations at the time of testing using the precalculated weight from the weight and balance. 

Use my weight of 210 lbs. in your weight and balance calculations.

Bring any course completion certificates if you attended a 14 CFR Part 141 school.

Many questions come up, and unfortunately, I can’t answer all of them here. I’ll try to help out by describing a couple of items that are frequently asked.

The general conduct of the practical test will be to meet and go over all the admin aspects, such as ensuring you have all required personal and aircraft documents, AKTRs, etc. This normally takes some time, so being extremely familiar with the aircraft records and having your logbook annotated will greatly increase the efficiency of the practical test.

Many times I’m asked if paper IFR charts are a requirement for the oral discussion. It is not. I’m testing your ability to plan and conduct cross-country IFR navigation; I’m not really concerned about what method you use.

They are all acceptable. EFBs are acceptable in the aircraft for the flight portion as well. Just think about what you may need to do if the battery goes dead while conducting the flight. Having a backup plan is never a bad thing.

Remember, you are the PIC during the flight. I’m just enjoying the ride. If an actual emergency occurs, I’ll certainly help but I want to see you handle it. Try to always be the PIC.

Examiners look at your ability to make decisions and act on them. Don’t worry about whether or not your decision is what I would do or what you think I want you to do. I just want you to make decisions.

Summary

I’m sure you will still have questions so please do not hesitate to contact me at any time for clarification! My goal is to ensure you are as prepared as you can be so you will feel at ease during the practical test.