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IFR checkride

172sp panelI have been working on my IFR rating for about a year now and after a few months of pretty intensive training I went for my IFR check ride with my DPE (FAA Designated Pilot Examiner).
My first step was to sign up for the IFR ground school at American Flyers in Morristown NJ. I attended the IFR ground course and studied at night. After the 3 day course I took the IFR written exam and passed with a 90%. It wasn’t the 100% I was aiming for but I will take it.  After that, I started my IFR flight training with Gary Buchanan (one of our flying club instructors). He is an outstanding instructor and gave me the firm foundation that I built the rest of my training on. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts the training did not progress beyond a handful of hours. Fast forward to July of 2009. I decided to finish up my training with Certified Flyers a flight school out of Morristown NJ KMMU. This gave me the opportunity to fly almost every day in the beginning and at least 3 times a week after that.  They offer everything from the Diamond DA 42 to Cirrus SR22 and Cessna 172 G1000 aircraft but I flew a 172sp with “steam gages” since that’s what I fly with my flying club.

On to the exam:
The night before, I called my DE and asked for a brief rundown of what I should expect during our check ride. She asked me to plan and file IFR to Orange County MGJ and to expect the ILS 3. After that we would fly the missed (The DPE would make the call to either land or go missed). From the missed approach fix (Hugunot VOR HUO) fly the hold and from there we would setup for the VOR runway 8 approach into Randall 06N. From Randall we would fly the GPS 19 approach into Lincoln Park N07. She told me to expect partial panel for one of the approaches. I was hoping for the VOR approach since I actually fly VOR approaches better under partial panel.
The oral portion of the exam was a relaxed session that included real life stories from her many years of flying experience mixed with a wide range of questions. For example: “I was flying to XYZ airport and I filed ABC as my alternate, by the way if we were flying to ABC airport could we file XYZ as our alternate?” Ok why not?
Besides a brief moment of panic when I couldn’t find the record that the annual inspection was completed I was looking at the wrong logbook and after finding the entry everything went well.

On to the flight:
I departed KMMU IFR to MGJ for the ILS 3. Right away ATC was issuing me vectors followed by direct followed by more vectors. They thru in a few curve balls that kept it interesting. But this was show time. No leaning on the instructor for help.  Once vectored for the approach I flew what must have been one of my nicer ILS approaches to date. At the DA I looked up and announced “runway in sight, landing” to which she responded “go missed”. I made the fake call to ATC (we canceled IFR on final to MGJ) and flew the missed to HUO.

huo_holdEnter the hold at HOU (Teardrop entry) and reported entering the hold.

Cleared for the VOR runway 8 at Randall 06N (partial panel) (same holding pattern 093 in the inbound course) and landed.

We departed Randall and flew to the onion fields for some unusual attitudes. That went really well!

Now for the fun part! I thought that if I were going to fail any part of the check ride this would be it. She asked for the GPS 19 into Lincoln Park. No problem. Coupled to the autopilot. Problem! (Or so I thought). I had only flown a coupled approach twice before, and both of them were ILS approaches. On the second one the Auto Pilot locked up and we had to pull the fuse. This was my first coupled GPS approach and only my second GPS approach with this GPS! Fun times! Well it worked out just fine. We flew to the circling MDA and broke off the approach (Lincoln Park was using runway 1 and we didn’t want to cause any issues with conflicting traffic).

This ended our check ride. We then headed back to Morristown VFR. Man VFR is easy now!
Picture 2

She gave me her notes from the check ride (click on the picture to see them). I will look back at them often. She is awesome! I would even say that if I had failed I wouldn’t be that upset. I really enjoyed flying with her…

Next up. Commercial SEL in our 182RG.
First I have to fly a bit of IFR starting off with higher ceilings and working my way down.

Feel free to add your comments below. Thanks for reading.

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  • Congratulations! I received my IFR ticket a few years back… but I am no longer current. I own an airplane, and you would think I could maintain currency, but time and money make it difficult to fly an approach a month. (Mainly $).

  • Thanks for the comment Ross. Sorry to hear about the IFR currency issue. I am also trying to find ways to fly “and afford” keeping up with my new rating. I plan on pairing up with other pilots to take trips in our club airplanes that way we can share the cost of the flight and still enjoy flying.

  • Lou La salle

    Mike B.

    I thought that I already left you a note. Congratulations, I know just how much work went into getting the rating, and how elated you feel with that new endorsement. Use it well, and always keep the shiny side up!

    Lou La salle

  • Congrats on the instrument rating. I agree keeping instrument current as a GA pilot is tough. Try filing IFR on your cross countries, even if the weather is severe clear, that helps keep your proficiency level up.

    Great blog BTW.

  • Hi I found your blog on AOL and enjoyed reading this post you have given some good information.I’ve bookmarked your site and will be back

  • To begin with ,you have chosen a really beautiful template . I think i might design something similar for a future website that i want to create . In addition ,i really enjoy most of the posts and your different point of view. Cheers

  • Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  • Nick

    Thanks very much for posting. Im taking my IFR check ride with Peggy in two days… I have my fingers crossed. 

  • Good to go! Let us know how it went.

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Amanda Michelle (Younkin) Franklin 3/14/1986 – 5/27/2011 Click for information on Amanda