Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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IFR Lesson Guides - BAI

IFR Lesson Guides:  Intro | Basic Attitude Instruction | Cockpit Check | Pitch Control | Bank Control | Power Control | Constant Airspeed | Turns | ITO | Constant Rate | Compass | Steep Turns | Unusual Attitudes | Precision Flight | Bravo Pattern | Descent Profile
IFR Navigation:   General Info Instrument Rating | Instrument Rating Lesson Plans | 7-day IFR Rating | IFR Adventure | Instrument Ground School | Safety Pilot | Holding | IFR Risk | Trip Reports | Flight Profiles | After the IFR Rating | Checkride Reviewer | Are you really ready?
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Three phases of an instrument ratingSo what's the first step in training for an instrument rating?  The answer:  Basic Attitude Instruction.  Its the beginning of three phases of an instrument rating.  The phases follow the common adage in aviation: Aviate - Navigate - Communicate. 

That first phase - aviate - means learning how to fly the aircraft under the hood.  It includes the four basic maneuvers learned by every private pilot:  straight & level, turns, climbs, and descents.  Those four fundamentals lead to climbing and descending turns.  By the time a student has mastered this phase of instrument training, he can perform the following maneuvers within the FAA's Practical Test Standards:
    Normal takeoff
    Instrument scan
    Straight and level flight
    Pitch and power coordination
    Use of trim.
    Constant airspeed climbs and descents
    Constant rate climbs and descents
    Changing airspeed
    Constant bank turns
    Constant rate turns
    Climbing turns
    Descending turns
    Turns to specific headings
    Slow flight
    Basic Partial Panel Skills

You'll hear a lot about the PTS during your instrument training.  The first thing to understand is that the PTS requires pilots be able to fly all instrument maneuvers within 10 degrees of the assigned heading, within 100 feet of the assigned altitude, at the designated airspeed (if applicable), at the designated rate of climb/descent (if applicable), within the proper timing, and at a standard rate of turn. 

The best way to know if a pilot has mastered the skills above is to fly the Bravo Pattern.  If the pilot can execute this profile within the standards, then its a good indication the pilot is ready to transition to the "Navigate" phase of an instrument rating. 

A great resource, available online is the IFR Lesson Guides.  These guides are from the original Instrument Training Handbook which is now out of print and no longer available.  These lesson guides from the appendix live on at this website.   Here is a list of the lesson guides available:  Cockpit Check | Pitch Control | Bank Control | Power Control | Constant Airspeed | Turns | ITO | Constant Rate | Compass | Steep Turns | Unusual Attitudes | Precision Flight | Bravo Pattern

Want to know more?  Read about Are you really ready for the Instrument Rating? and Instrument Lesson Plans
Get started on your instrument rating with the Instrument Ground School
Complete your instrument rating with a 7-day Instrument Rating Training Program

Curious about the instrument checkride? 

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All content is Copyright 2002-2010 by Darren Smith. All rights reserved. Subject to change without notice. This website is not a substitute for competent flight instruction. There are no representations or warranties of any kind made pertaining to this service/information and any warranty, express or implied, is excluded and disclaimed including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. Under no circumstances or theories of liability, including without limitation the negligence of any party, contract, warranty or strict liability in tort, shall the website creator/author or any of its affiliated or related organizations be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages as a result of the use of, or the inability to use, any information provided through this service even if advised of the possibility of such damages. For more information about this website, including the privacy policy, see about this website.