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From the Desk of the Chief

From the Desk of the Chief

Jesse Gamueda, Chief Pilot WVFC

Instrument Pilot

In an attempt to provide a safer flying culture at the WVFC I am writing this month’s article on instrument flying.   Not that a stellar safety culture doesn’t already exist at the WVFC, however my focus this month is going to lead us into IMC.

In a lot of clubs and flight schools all over the United States, it is already mandated that an instrument rating be held to operate some of the TAA or technically advanced aircraft in the club. The fact is, to fly a WVFC TSR-22, you need an instrument rating!

There is something to be said about having the knowledge, skill or insight to operate in a whole new world of flying.  I used to hate instrument flying myself until some great instructors from my past demystified the horrors of flying IMC.

West Valley Flying Club has recently acquired a few simulators and has a vast supply of instrument equipped aircraft.   We are also offering a free hour of simulator time per member per month. 

The beauty of instrument flying is that it is MUCH easier than we’ve been told all of our lives.  There are a few simple tricks of the trade that can change your skillsets and abilities while you fly.  Some of which are what to focus on, what to omit, what’s important and what’s fluff.  These are very important aspects to learning to fly instruments because there a thousand things that you can be taught while undergoing your training.

I know this first hand as the bulk of my students were charter or airline pilots whom had little or no time flying turbine aircraft and could not afford to fly a King Air, Citation, CRJ or 737.  So they had to be taught in about 40 hours how to learn to fly these TAA Turbine aircraft.  And where did they learn?  In the simulator!  I know what you’re thinking.  The airlines only hire GREAT instrument pilots.  While the fact is that the airlines have about a 70% dropout ratio for their new hires because the opposite is true.   Even the airline candidates don’t have the skill, insight or knowledge to pass an FAA 121/135 checkride.   

So, your next question, how can I have any chance of learning these skillsets if airline candidates cannot?  Simple, a good instrument instructor will teach you which instruments to watch, which charts to study, and which symbols to look for.  They will teach you profiles, callouts, checklist usage.  And all of this can be accomplished in the PTS required minimums!!!!  Now of course this applies to someone who comes in 4-5 days a week and has 4-5 hours to study outside of flying a/c or learning the sim.   I know that the vast majority of us don’t have that kind of time or commitment.  However, all of the requirements can still be accomplished very close to the minimums flying a few times a week.  And still you don’t have time to do this.  No worries, learning a few simple tricks can make you proficient with very little learning in the simulator.

In reading this article it sounds like I am trying to sell the sims!   Absolutely not, they are just a MAJOR contributor to the instrument flying learning environment.  In fact, if I had it my way, students would learn their first 10 hours in the simulator before moving to flying the a/c. 

I could regale you with tons of information and facts on how much easier it is to learn from an instructor who knows how to teach instruments then from one who is merely trying to accumulate flight time. 

Now, I haven’t flown with a lot of WVFC flight instructors, but our instructors as a whole love flight instructing.  In fact I was somewhat shocked when I found out what types of careers they gave up to become instructors, (and now I’ve joined the ranks).  By NO MEANS have I met “time builders” at the club!

In closing, I feel that taking a look at obtaining the instrument rating should not carry with it the stigma that it does.  In fact I encourage you to come down and take advantage of our 1 free hour a month/member at our Palo Alto facility.  I would be happy to share with you some of my insights and secrets.  Believe me when I tell you that you will be much less scared of IMC after only a few hours of instrument flight training.  You can learn a ton about sitting in the sim for a few hours, even if you don’t want to get rated!!

Regardless, it’s always a pleasure to know that there is an audience that likes to read (or maybe not) what we have to say here at WVFC.  I hope that this inspires you to come down to the club and just have a look at the simulators, or take a flight with an instructor!

Blue skies!