Flight Training - May 2021 - 46

ADVANCED PILOT PRACTICAL INSTRUMENT

PERSPECTIVE

FILE FOR WHAT YOU WANT
GA pilots shouldn't worry about expected routings

46  FLIGHT TRAINING MAY 2021

focus exclusively on the IFR procedures.
Most students do a lot of approaches at
their home airport as they train for the
rating, but your goal is to get out there
and see the world a bit. Fly to airports
you've never been to and ask to do a practice approach once you get there. There's
no need for a safety pilot or view-limiting device. Your only goal is to work on
procedures. Think back to your private
pilot training and you can see why this
works. Your first post-checkride flights
were probably to familiar airports on nice
days, some solo and a few with friends.
Solo flying builds confidence. Yes, it can
be scary at first, but without the weather
considerations you will be free to build on
procedures.
ADD ON A LAYER
Once you feel more comfortable picking
up clearances, taking reroutes, programming the avionics, and executing
instrument approach procedures it's time
to add in some complexity. Now take a few
flights on days with only marginal VFR
weather. A predictable ceiling of 2,000
feet, a layer that's lower but thin, or clear
skies and something like 2-mile visibility
are all great options. It can be hard to find
the right days, so be a little flexible here.
The goal is to fly at least part of the en
route segment in the clouds.
On my first solo instrument flight I
climbed through a thin overcast, cruised
above a solid undercast in clear skies

and bright sun for about 40 minutes,
and then made an approach and broke
out about 500 feet above minimums. It
was the perfect way to combine what
I'd learned about working in the system
with easily manageable weather thrown
in. Look for conditions like these on two
or three flights and you'll be prepared to
tackle more.
BRING IT ALL TOGETHER
You've gained some experience with
instrument procedures and flown a few
trips with weather meant to help build
confidence. Now you can bring it together
and set personal minimums that will serve
you in almost any weather situation.
These will change and grow as you do,
but the concept is always the same: Set a
limit for the ceiling, visibility, and general
weather hazard that you're willing to fly
in and don't break it.
There are lots of great resources to
help establish your minimums. Cirrus
Aircraft has a system that approximates
downhill ski trail ratings. A point system
covers eight factors, including overall
experience, currency, certificates and
ratings, time in type, and even age. Add
them up and you're given a green circle,
blue square, or black diamond, each
corresponding to VFR and IFR weather
minimums.
The AOPA Air Safety Institute has a
" contract " for personal minimums that
includes factors such as wind, ceiling, visi-

CHRIS ROSE

Some people intend to help GA pilots by
instructing us to file IFR flight plans for expected
routings as professional pilots do. I feel strongly
that this advice misdirects IFR GA pilots.
Even though I am flying in the same IFR
system, I am not a professional pilot. Most GA
pilots fly Part 91 and are not paid, and most professional pilots are not flying GA-type aircraft.
I've been flying GA for over 40 years, most
of it in the IFR system, and have been a CFII for
about 30 years. I've participated in many safety
seminars (as instructor and student), including
several where ATC has been present. At one seminar, an attendee asked, " When filing IFR out of
the east side of DTW going north, what would you
recommend for the routing? " The answer from
the ATC representative: " File for what you want, "
followed by an explanation that you would most
likely get vectors but, due to your request, you
would get on course as soon as practical.
The rationale is pretty simple: If you file for
what you want, most of the time you will get it. I
have flown out of many towered and nontowered
airports, and I was based for 38 years below
Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
(DTW)'s Class B airspace. Fewer than a dozen
times, I received routing different from what I had
filed (other than some vectors to keep me clear
of the airliners). And, almost every time, the controllers next cleared me direct or on course. If you
file for a route that works for ATC, you most likely
will get it-so it better be what you want.
One argument for filing the route you expect
to get rather than the one you want is that we fly
in the same airspace as airline pilots, so we should
follow the same routes. That is not the case very
often. Few professional pilots fly out of nontowered fields. Airline/professional pilots almost
always fly preplanned or assigned routes including
STARS, SIDs, and transitions in and out of Class B,
C, or D and then climb to Class A airspace. Hardly
the same airspace as most the GA pilots.
At some airports, routing is routine; if you
are assigned that routing often enough, plan or
file for it. Most important, plan your fuel knowing
that unexpected routing can happen at any time.
Recently, I was routed to two waypoints to keep
me clear of a hot military operations area, only
to have the MOA go cold; then I was cleared on
course. If your fuel gets to be a concern, tell ATC
and most likely they will accommodate your more
direct requested route. If they don't, you should
not gamble. Change your flight plan to make a
fuel stop. -Dan Valle



Flight Training - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - May 2021

Contents
Flight Training - May 2021 - Intro
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover1
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover2
Flight Training - May 2021 - Contents
Flight Training - May 2021 - 2
Flight Training - May 2021 - 3
Flight Training - May 2021 - 4
Flight Training - May 2021 - 5
Flight Training - May 2021 - 6
Flight Training - May 2021 - 7
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Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover3
Flight Training - May 2021 - Cover4
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