Thursday, February 08, 2007

Planning Ahead

Having now been through the process of getting the private and instrument tickets, the IFR Pilot is a bit more educated about how to maximize the effectiveness of the training process.

For example, it is now apparent that having chosen the airport closest to home (and the office) for private training was not the best choice. Given its downtown location, it was -- and remains -- a very convenient location. Occasional lunch time flights were a great way to break up the monotony of the practice of law.

It was only much later that I realized that any training flight that involved flight maneuvers required a fairly lengthy commute to and from the practice area. It had to have been between .2 to .3 hours each way. Sure, maybe that doesn't sound like much. But add that up on virtually every flight that was anything more than touch and goes in the pattern and we're talking a lot of added time and money (aircraft about $110 an hour, instructors at $40) that perhaps could have been better spent.

When it came time to do the instrument rating, the IFR Pilot started trekking down to the Home Base, where MS got his private ticket. Planes were much more reasonable (say $50 or so and hour, and instruction, at $17 an hour, was an outright steal).

But not much effort was put into the selection of an instructor. MS and I both wanted to work with the old salt that got MS his private. But he wasn't a Double-I at the time. He recommended us to a new-to-the-school CFII, and we both used her. Her instructional skills were fine, but she also had the uncanny ability to start a conversation in the cockpit just as ATC was about to issue a revised clearance. When you're just getting your feet wet in instrument training, that can be a huge challenge.

Anyway, now the IFR Pilot stands on the cusp of starting training for the commercial and CFI. But there will be no haphazard instruction here. Whoever works with the IFR Pilot on this is going to have a clear plan for how we're going to get from Point A to Point B. While the instruction process isn't always entirely linear and we can't predict every nuance of the process, the idea here is that we're going to have a clear strategy for how to get this done effectively and efficiently.

So, Saturday at 4:00, the lead candidate gets interviewed. I've done instrument refresher flights with JD, and he also issued the IFR Pilot's complex endorsement just before we acquired Mike Hotel last year. He can be quite demanding in terms of what he expects you to know, but that something I think is desirable here. I don't want to lolly-gag through this like the private, which took over a year. I want to hit it hard and get it done, just like I did with the written. Given that virtually all of the experience requirements have been met, we should be able to devise a structured plan for how to cover the required maneuvers.

We shall see how this goes.

1 comment:

k said...

Good for you, IFR Pilot! I'm impressed by your attack plan, and hope it works out for you.

My experience here at the end of my primary training has been a little similar -- I had typically left it to my instructor to schedule/plan the next lesson, but now that we're just wrapping up I took charge of planning it to get through the last push, as you say, effectively and efficiently! Now we'll just see if it plays out that way when my ride gets back from vacation... :)