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This training program is not meant to help you "ace" the instrument knowledge test. It goes well beyond that. The IFR Proficiency Series is an online course that is specifically designed to improve your skills in every aspect of instrument flight, focusing on the areas that matter most.
The real strength of this program is the panel of expert instructors we have assembled (see their bios below). You will no doubt recognize many of these instructors. You may have seen them speak at a national conference or read their articles in leading publications. They are the best of the best…award-winning instructors recognized nationally for their achievements.
Our instructors take you through their own personal experiences and offer tips learned from decades of teaching instrument pilots. Their stories contain valuable lessons you will not forget.
What's in it?
Doug Stewart was the "National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year" in 2004. A Master Certified Flight Instructor, Gold Seal Instructor and Designated Pilot Examiner - he is based at the Columbia County Airport (1B1) in Hudson, NY. He owns and operates his own flight school specializing in instrument training and has logged over 8000 hours of dual instruction given, with over 2000 hours of that being instrument instruction. He regularly gives instruction in aircraft as simple as the J-3 Cub, and as complex as the Piper Malibu / Mirage.
Rod Machado has been flying since 1970, instructing since 1973 and has over 8,000 hours of flight time earned the hard way--one CFI hour at a time. Since 1977 he has taught hundreds of flight instructor revalidation clinics and safety seminars and he was named the 1991 "Western Region Flight Instructor of the Year". Rod is the author of some of the most popular books, DVDs and CDs in aviation. You can read his monthly column in AOPA Pilot Magazine as well as Flight Training Magazine.
Bob Nardiello was the "Flight Instructor of the Year" in 2004 and "FAA Safety Counselor of the Year" in 2006 for the Windsor Locks Flight Standards District Office. He has over 12,500 hours of total flight experience, with more than 8,000 hours as a Flight Instructor. He currently holds CFI, CFII, MEI, and ATP ratings and serves as a Designated Pilot Examiner. Bob is the Assistant Chief Flight Instructor at a Part 141 Flight School and is also a charter pilot flying a Cessna 421 and Citation Ultra.
Scott Dennstaedt is a nationally known aviation weather expert, having the unique qualifications of being a meteorologist and a CFII. In addition to teaching aviation weather, Scott is a flight instructor in technically advanced aircraft including the Cessna 400/350 and Cirrus SR20 and SR22. He co-developed a recurrent training program for the Cessna Advanced Aircraft Club (CAAC) and the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). Scott is a contributing editor for IFR magazine and has been a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot, Aviation Consumer and Twin & Turbine.
Bob Martens is a nationally known speaker, consultant and aviation safety expert. He retired from the FAA after spending 17 years as a Safety Program Manager. In this role, he delivered hundreds of live seminars devoted to General Aviation safety. Bob retired from the USAF (rank of Colonel) in 2000 after 30 years of active and reserve duty. He was an Aircraft Commander in a C-5A and also served as Flying Safety Officer and Chief of Safety with the 439th AirWing. Bob has logged thousands of flight hours in both military and GA aircraft.
Wally Moran is a retired airline captain and spent much of his career as a training instructor and check airman on aircraft including the Boeing 747 and 767. He has held a flight instructor certificate for over 50 years. He is a Designated Pilot Examiner for airplanes and gliders and has given over 4000 hours of flight instruction in single engine, multiengine, gliders and seaplanes. Wally has been awarded the FAA Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award and is designated a Master CFI by the National Association of Flight Instructors.
John Krug's 27 years experience as an Air Traffic Controller combined with his experience as an active flight instructor and charter pilot, allow him to assist pilots in gaining a better understanding of the ATC system and how to best operate in it. While with the FAA, he was an On-the-Job-Training Instructor for new controllers and worked as a Quality Assurance Specialist, responsible for conducting in-flight evaluations of the Air Traffic System and investigating accidents and incidents.
Bob Adelizzi has been a controller at Boston TRACON for twenty five years and affiliated with the FAA safety program for over twenty. Over the years he has briefed countless pilots at corporate flight departments and aviation colleges, and was recently asked to speak at the ACONE Crash Course and the AOPA Communication Seminar which had a combined attendance of over 600 pilots.
Top 10 Weather Myths
Aviation weather expert Scott Dennstaedt examines the top 10 weather myths and sets the record straight with the facts. Topics include turbulence, virga, mountain waves, radiation fog, t-storm clouds, airmets, icing, PIREPS and more.
Proper Use of TAFs
Like all weather products, TAFs have important limitations that pilots must be aware of. In this short workshop, Scott Dennstaedt will explain a common mistake pilots make when using TAFs to plan cross country flights.
Avoiding T-Storms and Severe Turbulence
One of the most difficult parts of flight planning is determining if thunderstorms or severe turbulence will affect your IFR trip. Scott Dennstaedt shows you step-by-step how to identify the threat of convective turbulence.
Avoiding Hazardous Weather Systems
Scott Dennstaedt had a first hand encounter with an upper level trough that nearly lead to serious trouble. He shares this experience and explains how you can identify hazardous weather systems and factor them into your IFR planning.
On Top - Flying Over a Weather System
Quite often, instrument pilots are faced with a difficult decision...should I fly through or over a weather system. Scott Dennstaedt tells you when over is better and shows you 5 online weather tools you must check.
Flight Planning Best Practices - Part One
Bob Nardiello walks through his process for planning an IFR trip, starting 36-48 hours before the flight. Monitoring the weather will allow you to plan your route in advance and develop a window for departure on the day of the flight.
Flight Planning Best Practices - Part Two
Bob explains how he updates the weather picture in the 24 hours leading up to the flight, including departure, points en route, intermediate stops and destination. He refines his route, plans fuel stops and selects optimum altitudes for each leg.
IFR Cross Country Scenario - Part One
Bob Nardiello walks you through a real IFR flight planning scenario. The proposed route from Portland, ME to Atlanta, GA had its share of adverse weather. Bob takes you step by step through his planning process and shows you the tools he uses to develop an optimal flight plan.
IFR Cross Country Scenario - Part Two
The leg from Richmond, VA to Atlanta required some tactical planning to avoid a line of heavy precipitation. Bob reviews the options (continue, turn around, divert, fly around the back side of the front) and explains his strategy for evaluating each option.
Why Ice is So Dangerous
Icing is one of the most hazardous weather conditions you can encounter. Bob Nardiello explains the impact icing has on aircraft performance and safety.
Surviving Ice Encounters - Part One
Bob gives you 2 taxi tips and 5 takeoff and climb tips that will greatly improve your safety when ice is a concern. He also tells you when a 180 degree turn and emergency declaration are necessary.
Surviving Ice Encounters - Part Two
Bob provides tips for handling icing hazards specific to enroute, descent, approach and landing. Topics covered include assessing options, exit strategy, freezing rain, proper use of autopilot, descent strategy and when no-flap landings are the best option.
Mastering GPS Approaches
Wally Moran breaks down the different types of GPS approaches and shares some tips to help you fly smoother, safer and more precise GPS approaches.
Mastering ILS Approaches
You'll find Wally Moran's tips and strategies in this workshop helpful with your ILS approaches. He shares his tactics for working with ATC, setting up your GPS, how to maintain a stabilized approach and in general, staying ahead of the airplane.
Mastering SIDs and STARs
Wally Moran reviews the different types of Departure Procedures and explains the gotchas, when you can expect to fly them and how to best manage these procedures when called upon. Wally also provides an overview of Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs) and why they shouldn't intimidate you.
ILS Approach Tips and Techniques
Bob Nardiello discusses his strategy for maintaining positional awareness and airspeed during an ILS approach. He describes a common mistake pilots make at DA and what you can do to ensure a smooth transition to visual conditions.
Non-Precision Approach Traps
Bob Nardiello walks you step-by-step through the traps you can encounter on a non-precision approach and how to deal with them. He also provides tips for flying a missed approach.
Video Descending on a Non-Precision Approach
By nature, non-precision approaches offer a degree of latitude to pilots when descending to the runway environment. Which approach offers you the best advantage of being able to find the airport and land when the visibility is low? Rod Machado offers his recommendation.
Minimizing the Risk of Circling Approaches
Circling Approaches are approved for use by all instrument pilots, however they must be done with extreme caution. Bob Martens offers his frank analysis of circling approaches that you'll want to listen to before accepting the risks associated with this challenging maneuver.
Approach Chart Analysis
This is a roll-up-your-sleeves look at a complex approach plate. Bob Nardiello reviews the details that can bite you if you're not aware of them, and identifies the key points that you must know before flying an ILS approach.
Briefing The Approach
During an IFR flight, pilots must remain ahead of the workload - especially during the approach segments of the flight. Doug Stewart will walk you step-by-step though his process for briefing a Jeppesen plate to extract the critical information you need to fly a smooth and safe approach.
Deadly IFR Traps
Wally Moran has been a flight instructor for 50 years and conducts over 100 check rides each year. He has seen first hand how simple mistakes can lead to serious trouble when pilots are flying instrument approaches. In this workshop, Wally will review the deadly IFR traps and provide tips and tactics to avoid them.
Managing Practice Approaches
John Krug understands the stress practice approaches can put on the system. He offers tips to help you minimize the disruption while getting maximum value for your training.
Single Pilot IFR Preflight
Single Pilot IFR flight requires extra preparation. Doug Stewart walks through the P.A.V.E. checklist and highlights the critical preflight items that must be considered.
IFR Flight Planning Considerations
There are many factors that affect your IFR route. Weather is the most obvious one, but there are additional items you should look at as well. Doug reveals the "not so obvious" factors that must be considered when planning your next Single Pilot IFR flight.
GPS Tips for IFR Flight
GPS is a great tool that can reduce workload. If used improperly, however, it can actually increase your workload and lead to serious trouble. Doug will provide operational tips to ensure your GPS is your ally in the cockpit. He'll also point out some common mistakes that can get you in trouble when you're alone in the soup.
Managing Workload - Part One
IFR flying can be extremely demanding, especially Single Pilot IFR operations. To stay ahead of the workload, you must stay busy. Doug will tell you the 2 questions you must constantly ask yourself during the flight to stay ahead of the airplane.
Managing Workload - Part Two
There's plenty you can do during the enroute portion of your flight that will keep you out of trouble and have you better prepared to fly your approach. Topics include working with ATC, monitoring weather and selecting the approach.
Building IFR Proficiency
Given the demands of single pilot IFR flying, it is important to develop a plan for building and maintaining a high level of proficiency. Doug will explain the steps you can take to become a capable and confident pilot flying in the instrument world.
IFR Personal Minimums
Wally Moran explains the 4 important criteria you should use to recognize your own limitations when planning an IFR flight. You'll also learn how one simple decision can completely eliminate you from the category of pilots with the highest fatality rate in general aviation.
Airmanship for IFR
Wally Moran has been a flight instructor for more than 50 years. As an airline training instructor and check airman, Wally was able to observe the best in the business when it came to instrument flying. Hear what he considers those qualities, traits and habits of the best IFR Airmen he has known.
IFR Communications: Routes & Clearances
John Krug and Bob Adelizzi are veteran Air Traffic Controllers (over 50 years experience combined) and are both instrument rated pilots. In this workshop, you'll learn why you don't always get the route you filed as well as tips for picking up your clearance at a towered airport.
IFR Communications: Enroute & Approach
John Krug and Bob Adelizzi focus on the enroute and approach segments of a flight. They provide a greater understanding of how the system works and help you work efficiently with ATC to reduce your stress and workload.
IFR Communications: Non-Towered Airports
John Krug and Bob Adelizzi will explain the best way to contact ATC from a non-towered airport to pick up a clearance and cancel an IFR flight plan. They will also explain the challenges that controllers face with radar coverage and who is responsible for traffic separation.
ATC Emergency Assistance
ATC can be an invaluable resource when you are faced with an in-flight emergency. John Krug describes the resources ATC has at their disposal to help you out of a difficult situation. He also explains when and how you should declare an emergency.
IFR Clearances Made Easy
Picking up an IFR clearance isn't always easy, especially if you're departing from a non-towered airport. Doug Stewart tells you how to painlessly get a clearance without the void time pressure. He also has tips for keeping up with fast talking controllers and picking up clearances in the air.
Cessna P210 Icing Accident
This accident scenario clearly points out the hazards of flying in icing conditions. As you'll see in this scenario, pilots must avoid conditions that cause structural icing and act quickly when ice starts to accumulate.
Beech C24 Thunderstorm Accident
Why would any pilot fly into a level five thunderstorm? Clearly, a tragic outcome is inevitable. Unfortunately, even the most experienced pilots can make fatal errors in judgment. Bob Martens takes you through the sequence of events that lead to this accident.
Mooney Loss of Control on Approach Accident
This is a chilling story with a tragic ending. The accident involved the pilot of a Mooney who died after losing control of his aircraft while executing a missed approach at night, in adverse weather.
V35 Circling Approach Accident
This accident involved the pilot of a V35 Bonanza who was flying a GPS approach to minimums, at night. He made a fatal decision that defies logic. Bob Martens will explore the factors that may have influenced this pilot's judgment and what we can learn from it.
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