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Instrument Proficiency Review
The new 61.57 has only two sixes instead of three sixes. The requirement for holding procedure and the interception and tracking of courses using navigation systems is new. Be concerned about proficiency first and legality later. Log holding and interceptions every six months. If these requirements are not met you must take an IPC. The real measure of skill is partial panel

The IPR is supposed to review the Practical Test Standards required for the instrument rating.
--Preflight weather and flight planning
--Preflight procedures of aircraft familiarity, instrument and checking of instruments.
--ATC procedures including clearances, departure, en route and arrival procedures.
--Flight by instruments including straight and level, airspeed changes, climbs and descent, timed turn to headings, steep turns, unusual attitudes.
--Using NAVAIDS such as VORs, NDB, ILS, circling, GPS use
--Emergency procedures such as loss of communications, engine, gyro instruments, partial panel operations and full flap simulation of icing.
--Post-flight check of instruments and aircraft

 Who is so steeped in the intricacies of real world IFR that they do not have some degree of doubt or even ignorance as to the procedures, regulations and unpublished ATC letters of agreement? Even the everyday IFR pilot is likely to be totally proficient with only one or possibly two routes to the point of boredom.

An instrument proficient pilot is a combination of proper training and intelligent judgment. He obeys the FARs but understands personal limits as well as legal limits. Instrument flying can be unforgiving of pilots who fail to recognize their shortcomings. Past experience does not count because IFR proficiency is a perishable commodity. Instrument flying must be used or lost. Any cockiness in either student or instructor must be replaced by desire to find and correct any deficiencies. The good instructor will give the student room to make mistakes before intervening. Waiting until the student notices the mistake is the best learning/teaching technique.

One aspects of proficiency is to have personal minimums and alternate plans that will give you a way out. If you begin to have IFR difficulty the first move should be to lower the gear and adding some flaps. The worst thing that can happen is to have the aircraft accelerate due to spatial disorientation. Slow up to give yourself a chance to catch-up. Hood time does not prepare you for the actual conditions of turbulence that can be expected in actual conditions. It you are short of actual IFR experience, always have an alternative plan.

Certain aspects of instrument proficiency and flying can be equated with sports training. Your performance is the result of applying knowledge and skill to attain a selected outcome. To raise your level of performance you should make it more difficult to perform. Like running with weights. Set a standard of zero tolerance for radio communications. Keep busy so you don’t become mentally lazy or bored.

While flying weekly may make you current, it doesn't follow that you are proficient. Partial panel skills are quickly lost. If you are flying partial panel, fly to an airport that offers an ASR approach. Since partial panel is always a possibility, have a plan and use all available resources. Pilots seldom have opportunity to practice partial panel. Those who fail to remain proficient believe they will never have an instrument fail. (True, only if you never fly.)

The Instrument Proficiency Review is a good way to review your established skills and detect weaknesses. It is a combination evaluation and learning experience. Weak areas seem to be aircraft systems and weather interpretation. Partial panel skills and situational awareness in non-radar environments cause problems. Single radio and ADF operations offer an added challenge. The best way to fly with competence is to have high standards.

Preparation for an IPR should include study and review of the POH, FARs, and AIM. Prepare the planned approach especially terrain clearance requirements. Remember that currency is used to meet the FAR requirements of the FAA. Proficiency is what we do to fly with competence and safety. Time alone does not give either competence or proficiency.

The whole of proficiency includes preflight planning of procedures, the getting of clearances , the actual flying the procedures, the use of radio and navigation aids, doing approaches and emergencies. The weak area of flight preparation seems to be getting the appropriate NOTAMs for the flight. On a long flight the local NOTAMs may not be available and must be acquired enroute. The proficient pilot is able to get the desired information in the most efficient manner and in the least time. Once underway, the pilot should review clearance expectations and then be prepared to copy a clearance that does not meet these expectations.

A sloppy approach is usually indicative of lack of proficiency. Incompetent IFR pilots tend to fixate on one problem at a time instead of activating the scan sequence. Fixation is typical of beginners. If you, as a non-proficient IFR current pilot find that you are behind the airplane, you can bet that you are fixating and not scanning. If you are such a pilot you had better raise your minimums until you become proficient. You must know your limits and fly accordingly. Both pilots and ATC have the problem and any such potential should serve as a trigger for the pilot and ATC to use full call signs.

Instrument proficiency is a 90/10 split between head and hand. Course is on centerline, altitude is just as easily flown exactly as off 50’, power and airspeed by the book. No compromise with FAR 91.205. Your discipline as an instrument pilot is directly related to how well you are aware of your location, how effectively you stick to making your instrument cross-check, and how smoothly you adapt to your instrument interpretation. Proficiency in the flying of IFR cannot be practiced in VFR. Altitude holding and changes require constant practice. Airspeed changes are an essential proficiency skill not easily acquired but quickly lost. Rate maneuvers of climb and descent are equally required.

The Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC)
Chart reading
Use of DPs
Flight planning
Aircraft equipment
Static source
Alternate requirements
Preflight for IFR
VOR check sheet
Approach briefing
Use of Trim
Partial panel
Speed settings
Stabilized approach
Instrument Proficiency Checkride
Requirements within past 6-months for currency
–--Six approaches
----Intercepting and tracking coursesw using nav instruments
IPC Requirements
----Representative tasks required by instrument PTS
---Circling approach required as of October 04.

Date____________ Name _______________________Certificate No______________ Certificate and Ratings _________________________________ Date of Last Check _______________ Class of Medical_________________Dated____________ Total time_____________ Time in type_____________ Total instrument time: Hood______, Actual______, Trainer____ In last 6 months: Hood______, Actual______, Trainer____ Approaches/Last 6 months: Precision____, Non-precision _____ Aircraft to be used _______________ Registration #__________ Location of check __________________________________________
A. Part 91 review
1. Instrument Flight Rules
2. Equipment, Instrument, and Certificate Requirements
3. Maintenance

B. Instrument en-route and approach charts, DPs and STARs
C. Weather analysis and knowledge
D. Preflight planning, including performance data, fuel, alternate, NOTAMS, and FAA publications.
E. Aircraft systems as related to IFR operations
F. Aircraft flight instruments and navigation equipment, including emergency procedures such as lost communications
G. Airworthiness status of aircraft and avionics for IFR flight
H. ATC procedures, clearances, and pilot/controller responsibilities. Other areas:

A. Instrument cockpit check
B. Intercepting/tracking VOR/NDB
C. Steep turns and Stalls
D. Recovery from unusual attitudes
Basic coordination maneuvers
Elevator-throttle coordination
Constant speed transitions
Vertical S-1
Vertical S-2
E. Basic attitude instrument flying
Straight-and-level hand on/off
Level turns to headings
Airspeed climbs/descents
Airspeed turning climbs/descents
Rate climbs/descents
Rate turns in climbs/descents

F. VOR approach, orientation, intercept
G. NDB approach, orientation, intercept
H. ILS approach, orientation, intercept
I. Holding procedures
NDB, VOR, intersection
J. Missed approach
K. Circling approach
Short approach
L. Radio failure
Emergency procedures
M. Other areas:

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