Well, it was a HOT 4 hours, but I passed my Instrument Checkride today! I am now an Instrument Rated pilot and can fly in clouds and in the “IFR System.”
The day started early as I went to the flying club to make sure that the plane was ready to go and to stage some of my required “stuff” in the plane. I met the examiner at 10AM and discussed the requirements for the exam. We started with the oral portion where you discuss requirements and technical areas of the Instrument Rating. We discussed what made the pilot legal, the plane legal and the flight plan legal for an IFR flight. We then went over a “flight plan” that I was assigned to Asheville, NC. This was a more technical flight plan as Asheville is in the mountains. After 2 hours of the oral portion, we went to go fly the practical portion of the exam.
Since it is late June in North Carolina, it was very hot and humid this afternoon. We took off around 12:30 or so for the practical portion. This consists of starting your flight plan with Air Traffic Control, but an “emergency” forces you to return to your home field. Then you proceed to perform 3 different types of instrument approaches, with missed approach procedures (can’t see the runway at decision height) and holds included. It was a lot of GPS button pushing and bouncing around the sky in the afternoon thermals and wind.
After 1.5 hours, the examiner told me that I had passed the checkride on final approach of the last landing and then had me fly the instruments all the way to just about 10 feet off the runway before looking up and landing the plane. We taxied back to the flying club and I was an Instrument Rated Pilot!
What’s next? I need to fly 75 more hours before I qualify to take the Commercial Pilot Rating checkride. During this time, I will have to qualify to fly a “complex” aircraft, which means a constant-speed prop and a retractable landing gear. The Mooney aircraft at the flying club will meet this requirement. I have already passed the Commercial Rating knowledge exam, so I just have to fly and get ready for the next checkride. After that, it is time for instructor ratings!