IFR in Four Thousand Words
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IFR Approach Rules; ...Authorized Below if; ...At least ONE of; ...Missed Required; ...Why IFR? ... IFR Skills; ...Letting George Do It; ...Whether or not Weather; ...No Fly Weather; ...Shortcuts ...De Parts of Departure; ...Getting from Here to There; ...Getting on the Ground; ...Flying in Circles IFR; ...Talking IFR Airplane; ... Alternate Alternatives; ... Never Missing the Missed Approach; ...Holding on to the Hold; ...An Exercise in Futility; ... 
 IFR Approach Rules 
---Decision height (DH) or Minimum descent altitude (MDA) 
---by approach procedure 
---by pilot qualification 
---by aircraft equipment 

Authorized Below if: 
---Continuously position to land normally 
---Must have flight visibility of approach used 
---Approach lights remain 100’ above touchdown zone elevation (TDZE) ---Red terminating bars or side row bars 

At least ONE of: 
    + markings 
    + lights 

    + runway identifiers 
    + visual approach slope indicators 
    + TDZ lights 
    + runway or runway markings 
    + lights 

Missed Required 
---If not ONE of the above visible 
---Below MDA 
---Arrival of missed approach point or decision height (DH) 
---When circling runway not in sight (Banked wing exception) 

Why IFR?
---Increased utility that legally allows you to fly safely as well
---IFR capability will give you flying options that may not be legally available otherwise
---Enables better weather considerations in your flying
---Improves the smoothness of your flying while increasing confidence
---Being an instrument pilot increases awareness of the need for ‘ what if’ options
---You plan to stay ahead of the aircraft and situation to maintain control as an IFR pilot
---Situational awareness is equally important before flight, during flight and after flight
---Situational awareness mean knowing where you are and what comes next, next and next
---Awareness begins with weather, continues with weather and ends with weather
---Awareness means not trusting ATC, others or yourself all the time every time
---Awareness means using a checklist for everything
---‘Immediately" is an ATC word for NOW…
---Fatigue is a compounding part of IFR flight that arrives when you need all your reserves
---Always brief the approach well before beginning the approach
---IFR capability adds another option to your SVFR clearance

IFR Skills
---Light two finger relaxed flying with rudder anticipation for changes
---Know the control pressures needed to make performance and configuration changes
---Knowing the power needed for performance by instrument, feel and sound
---Knowing the aircraft trim settings
---Having a variable speed scan for the situation and any changes
---Your ability to scan rapidly is only acquired by constant exercise of the skill
---Without currency and proficiency your scan skills will require more and more awareness
---Close is not good enough for IFR, fly precisely not accepting less
---There are many varieties of distraction, your weakness will be one or more of them
---Cockpit efficiency in frequency selection, anticipation and communications
---Partial panel gives your fewer instruments to do a full panel’s work
---Then train and fly past your fatigue point to build endurance
---Know that you cannot fly IFR if you are carrying excess mental and emotional baggage
---Verbalize all you do to keep others aware as well as yourself
---VOR ‘passage’ at high altitudes can be a time of pilot confusion, be aware
---Use a VOR/DME to maintain awareness of proximity of airport especially in actual conditions
---Being legal is not necessarily safe but both are matters of judgment being constantly tested
---Always be aware that the FARs are minimums it is up to you to judge your own minimums
---Your attitude is far more important than is the airplane’s attitude
---When planning an IFR flight based on your competence level, reserve room for the unexpected
---If planning leaves you uncertain and concerned, don’t go
---There is no joy related to any flight that has a fuel concern,
---In IFR flying, anything done in anger, ignorance or frustration is going to be dangerously wrong

Letting George Do It
---George is your autopilot
---Always check George’s warning systems as part of your preflight
---George can only perform as instructed by you, he is flying you and the airplane
---The George you get is the one that comes with the airplane and must be watched as a child
---You must not rely solely on George but must be both competent and current to hand fly
---Your aircraft attitude at the time of activating George is the attitude you will get
---George’s ‘wings level’, roll control, and heading hold have relationships you must know
---You must know the relative ‘disconnect’ and ‘override’ ability of each of George’s features
---You may likely find that hand flying is better than George in turbulence
---Making manual changes to override George is best done by disconnecting George
---VOR tracking and intercept often includes waving needles that confuse George, use heading hold
---Couple George to a GPS instead of a VOR for most stable flight
---George has a disconnect function in turbulence but it is better to hand fly before disconnect
---Complete reliance on ‘altitude hold’ at low altitudes is a form of planned suicide
---You need to know if George maintains airspeed or pitch attitude and how he does it
---A pitch attitude George will eventually stall the aircraft in a climb
---An airspeed factored George will get you into a series of oscillations
---George will fly in circles if he is guided by a failed directional indicator
---Use of George does not relieve you, the pilot, of responsibility for what the aircraft is doing

Whether or not Weather
---After knowing your airplane and yourself, you must know the weather
---Local weather knowledge is a factor because the beginning and end is there
---Weather of the San Francisco Bay region by Harold Gilliam is my bible
---A verifiable weather briefing is the best FAR insurance as obtained from an FSS (recorded)
---FSS checking of Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) and NOTAMS are good insurance
---IFR flight plans need an alternate based on your range, fuel, weather and other options.
---The casual IFR pilot should not fly if there are ANY negatives in the planning
---What can go wrong, will go wrong
---Mention of icing at your planned altitude or thunderstorms in the briefing cancels the flight
---The best weather is always a pirep, everything else is a guessimate
---Worst words in a briefing are, "chance of" or "occasional"
---Keep checking the weather during the flight with FSS, local ATIS and AWOS
---You can check AWOS out of radio range by having the FSS or ATC use their phone
---Always choose a flight and route toward improving weather, or don’t fly
---A flight made contrary to weather advice given by FSS or ATC puts the fault on the pilot
---Luck always trumps everything that happens

No Fly Weather
---Don’t leave the ground if icing or T-storms are possible
---If the word icing appears in the weather briefing, stay on the ground
---Not hearing words you don’t want to hear in briefing is major factor in the problem
---Don’t fly in conditions that may breed T-storms or icing, land and wait
---Having ice on your aircraft is an FAR violation, don’t talk to ATC about it
---Your best safety insurance over not flying is to make a defensive 180
---If you don’t fly where there are T-storms you needn’t worry about radar or detection devices
---Should you run into a T-storm, slow down, maintain level flight while ignoring altitude changes
---Don’t try to maneuver your way out of the storm
---Any maneuvers increase the likelihood of the airplane falling in pieces.

---Nothing, but nothing will confuse you as much as getting behind the airplane--level the wings
---Wings are level if the directional gyro is not turning or if the top of the attitude indicator is centered
---Slow the airplane to give you more time to catch up, advise ATC
---It is difficult to slow down and get down at the same time, anticipate need to slow down
---Fly the airplane first
---Experience is the enemy of awareness that gets you into difficulty
---You will learn to change frequencies by counting clicks and then look to confirm frequency
---You will listen to changes in aircraft noise to notice changes in altitude as soon as they occur
---ATC and pilots are an IFR team working together and sharing information equally
---Vectors reduce the pilot load and time in the air, reject it in favor of ‘own nav’ as planned
---You are more likely to become disoriented by getting vectors
---When asked for a time estimate you should use "six minutes" when in doubt 
---"Six minutes"  gives you the widest range of acceptable ATC time error
---Listen to clearances and develop a way to copy as fast as it is given
---Write out ahead as much as you can with double spaced sentences.
---You confirm your copy by the completeness of your readback

De Parts of Departure
---Knowing your destination, study the arrival plate before takeoff
---Time permitting walk through the routes, altitudes and nav/com radio
---The IFR run-up requires confirmation of all systems including auto pilot using checklists
---Since IFR runway clearances are often delayed, always clear final before taking the runway
---Zero-Zero IFR takeoffs are legal but should never be considered safe and always very difficult
---Relative safety is to limit your IFR takeoff to having IFR landing minimums need to get back
---Aircraft workload in IFR takeoff is as heavy as it gets. Know your aircraft as loaded and configured
---Your best departure safety insurance is to use a checklist for everything, every time

Getting from Here to There 
---Flying the IFR plane is the easy part 
---Getting the IFR clearance is relatively straight forward, BUT 
---Don’t fly the clearance until you trace the route, arranged frequencies and want to go 
---An en route pop-up clearance is more difficult for ATC and you to arrange 
---If a real problem exists you can declare an emergency to get your clearance ---Have a short-hand way to copy terms in a clearance 
---Be sure you know the clearance limit and mark it on your charts 
---Losing communications is a serious problem in IFR conditions 
---Learn and file preferred routes unless you are prepared to ‘negotiate’ 
---Amending a filed and accepted clearance may be difficult, consider canceling 
---All intersections are pronounced in five letters BUT watch out for the spelling ---‘Clearance valid time and clearance void time’ are used at uncontrolled airports ---IFR flying is unique in that each aircraft is flying in a ‘block of airspace’ 
---Any VFR departure that includes an IFR pick-up must include a study of terrain clearance 
---If you don’t know the frequency you need try FSS, any tower, any ATC freq. ---Use the arrival to a fix as a time to determine the wind correction required for the approach wind correction on the other side.

Getting on the Ground 
---Knowing your destination, study the arrival plate before takeoff and again brief before FAF -
--Brief includes MSA, obstacles, headings, facilities, frequencies, fixes, altitudes, DH or MDA, time 
---Brief the altitude minimums, frequency sequence, outbound/inbound headings and time again 
---Have your aircraft checklist out and use it 
---Double check your heading indicator’s conforming to compass reading 
---Ground contact is time of both concern and relief, depending on how and where it occurs 
---Again your best insurance lies in your use of a checklist 
---IFR positional and situational awareness gets you to where you can see what you need to see 
---Several different IFR approaches may be available, make sure you have ALL plates available 
---Course reversals are to reverse direction, ATC uses procedure turns and holding patterns once licensed you can use course reversals. 
---Only the tear-drop pattern is required as published. Do the 90/270 course reversal all the time every time 
---To maintain IFR skills use “own-nav” and “as cleared” as much as you can not vectors 
---Plate altitudes are usually higher than ATC minimum vectoring altitudes. Know where you are. 
---If high request lower but slow-down before you get-down but know your ‘minimum safe altitude’ 
---Get ATIS sooner rather than later and advise ATC that you have it. Write it ---Don’t let a vector break your sense of position or checklist briefing requirements ---Confirm all frequencies and set the standby Nav frequency immediately on changing active 
---Slow down to get down, fly the airspeed and for ILS know and keep the descent rate for the speed 
---Lack of proficiency leads to abruptness and over reactions, immediately take out half of reactions 
---Realize that winds will usually decrease in velocity during descent and correct accordingly 
---It is very unlikely that your initial heading will need correction by more than ten-degrees 
---Approaches over water tend to have different winds on crossing the shoreline, plan for it 
---A full needle defection is a go around automatic response to fly to missed approach procedure 
---Your third attempt to fly an approach is the way to a graveyard 
---Do not make changes in your rate of descent over 100 ft per minute, take half out of initial reaction 
---Your control of heading, attitude and altitude depends on the scan you use. ---Non-ILS approaches do not require a constant rate of descent so headings, altitudes and time reign 
---Plan a visual descent point by subtracting the first two digits of the MDA as seconds from time 
---The breakout from IFR to VFR makes finding the runway confusing and difficult, expect it, missed 
---Proficiency means being able to obey ATC and charted instructions 

Flying in Circles IFR 
---There must be a reason airlines do not allow circling approaches 
---If possible, circling approaches are an option to be avoided in times of reduced visibility 
---It gets into an area of teaching judgment 
---Circling requires that you have the runway in sight at all times 
---You cannot leave the circling MDA unless able to descend to the runway 
---You must choose the circle before descending below an approaches'  MDA 
---Circling at night, in low visibility and exposed to disorientation is a losing poker hand 
---The notes restricting just where circling is allowed is usually a clue 
---Don’t ask for a circling approach where ceilings are not well above circling minimums 
---By keeping your distance from the airport until turning final you avoid ’killer’ bank angles 
---Being IFR in VFR conditions at an airport does NOT give you any special ‘rights’ ---Go missed if you lose visual of the runway 
---If you don't have the runway in sight prior to the MDA, you may NOT be able to make a successful landing using normal maneuvers (a requirement to operate below the MDA). Suggested by Ron (EPM) 
--- Although it is often recommended that one not descend below MDA until you are aligned on the final, there are some circling approaches where following this policy will cause you to miss, since at the minimum permissible visibility, you will be too high to descend to the runway. (Dave Butler) 

Talking IFR Airplane 
---The initial call-up into the system just says who you are. ATC will respond when able. 
---When ATC answers it is time to say everything you want in one burst of speech ---Say, location, altitude, type, destination, ATIS/AWOS, requested approach, landing type and include departure destination if not full stop.
---Practice out loud before keying the transmitter say it all at the same speed 
---Use only standard terms and phraseology with words that convey exact meanings and numbers 
---Get to know the words that sound like other words so you can avoid them 
(to/two; for/four; ...)
---One hazard of experience and familiarity is ‘hearing’ what is expected instead of what is said 
---Say your aircraft identification at the speed that you say everything else so ATC can get it right 
---Always put a speed-bump between your brains and your mouth 
---Be aware that an ATC controller may be using multiple frequencies 
---Use altitude words such as ‘maintaining, descending, climbing’ to prevent misunderstandings 
---Know that the initial contact procedures differ for FSS, radar facilities, tower, uncontrolled airports 
---Once contact is established be prepared to WRITE and readback clearances and instructions 
---Be prepared to tell ATC of errors in your call-sign and where similar signs occur use your full sign 
---Airspace violations are enforced that result from misuse of a clearance or instruction ---Know that both you and ATC can make mistakes and plan your taxiing and flying accordingly 
---When in DOUBT, CONFIRM or ask for a clarification When Things Go Wrong ---No IFR flight is worth the risk of flying with doubtful aircraft capability or weather ---A pilot who departs in an aircraft has accepted accountability for its airworthiness ---Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance is the cheapest insurance you can buy ---Prior planning is knowing what to do when the insurance company owns the airplane 
---Save lives not airplanes, plan your options prior to takeoff for everything that can go wrong, will 
---Any critical instrument, communications or gauge failure is a reason to head for VFR 
---Use your partial panel skills to get to VFR not to continue IFR 
---Have the will power to overcome the critical event problem to fly the plane first, and wind the clock 
---Beware of ATC distractions like clearances, headings and altitudes, “Stand by” and fly the plane 
---Give passenger something to do like watching the heading indicator or covering failed instrument  (Fly with post-its)
---Ignore and cover anything that is having a problem where you have a #2 to use ---Configuration changes or failure to change inside the FAF is reason to go missed for a hold 
---If a hold creates pressures request delaying vectors that will give you time to arrange options 
---Do not hesitate to declare an emergency followed by a statement of what you intend to do Using ATC 
---ATC can only judge you by the way you use the radio, readback and follow instructions 
---Your accuracy in giving position reports and altitude are also an indicator of proficiency 
---Radar procedures are ATC’s way to speed traffic, request “own nav” for better practice 
---Without radar to help use your #2 Nav to maintain situational awareness 
---I believe that having the IDENT feature of the VORs at a low audible lever is good insurance 
---Find an airport with an instrument approach but no radar coverage for a skill exercise, night 
---Use every VFR flight as a terrain/obstacle minimum safe altitude learning experience 
---ATC’s minimum vectoring altitudes are unpublished but closer to terrain than you think 
---Without radar it is your responsibility to avoid obstacles and fly safe altitudes ---Fly your approaches as though ATC would at any time lose their radar 

Alternate Alternatives 
---Alternate required for any ceiling below 2000 and below 3-miles 
---Not required if one hour each side of ETA weather is 2000 AGL and 3 statute miles visibility 
---You do not have to fly to your legal alternate if you can find a safer option 
---Plan to land with your 45-minute required fuel reserve otherwise you can be busted ---Having fuel extends the options available, maxim range flights non-stop reduce your options 
---Your alternate selection is based on pre-flight weather forecasts, void once in flight ---Your alternate selection is also based on airport restrictions for selection 
---A pilot should have an alternate plan for any situation that can occur 
---Filing to a non-instrument airport requires an alternate regardless 
---Regardless of forecasts suggest that you fly only into improving conditions ---Monitor AWOS and ATIS frequencies en route for current changes in conditions ---Primary concern should be with weather as forecast one hour each side of the ETA ---Your fuel for planned direct to alternate may not fit into using ATC IFR route ---Never, never rely on fuel gauges as to available fuel, fly by time in tanks 
---Standard alternate minimums of 2 miles and 600/800 are minimums 
---You can never have too much fuel unless you are on fire 
---Advise ATC on completing or canceling flight when using non-towered airport 

Never Missing the Missed Approach 
---You should have all the plates out for the airport and redline the missed procedure ---You must have available all radios required for both approach and missed procedures 
---Don’t wait for DH for MDA before going missed since finding the runway is not easy 
---Be prepared for ATC to call the missed as well 
---If you have not briefed the missed you are already behind the airplane at the FAF ---There is no time to brief the missed during the approach 
---Finding the runway is most difficult when the approach arrival is at an angle to the runway 
---Use every VFR landing to an IFR runway as an opportunity to select visual clues to finding it IFR 
---Start looking for clues to the runway before DH 
---Do not fly level at the DH, stop the descent and initiate the climb and missed procedure 
---Do level off for MDA approaches and have in mind the VDP time preplanned for the approach 
---If you don’t have the runway by the VDP (visual descent point) go missed 
---Much safer to have initiated the missed climb before than after the missed approach point 
---You can enter the hold any way you wish, I suggest fly to the fix and outbound for a course reversal 
---Knowing the prevailing winds prior to the approach helps determine holding wind corrections 

Holding on to the Hold 
---Every holding clearance must have an ‘expect further clearance’ (EFC) attached ---Keep your radio loud enough to hear over intercom 
---You must learn how to say a hold as given in the clearance to understand them ---The ‘direction’ of the inbound leg will always be to the fix 
---The hold is an obsolete maneuver used as last resort by ATC 
---Know how to pass the test but then use only the course reversal 
---Expect ATC to give you vectors on the missed rather than a holding pattern ---Anything goes within holding airspace 
---Draw out the hold beginning with the inbound leg 
---Locate the fix, fly to the fix, do a direct entry or fly outbound for 45 seconds for a course reversal 

An Exercise in Futility 
---By learning to say the clearance for holds you will be better able to understand what is required 
---The longitudinal axis is approximately pointing away from the fix by degree, airway or direction 
---The turn direction is always to the right unless stated as ‘left turns’ 
---The radial direction to the fix will be about opposite to the ‘direction ‘ of the hold ---The fix is at one of the four corners of the pattern and you want to fly straight to the fix 
---At a + shaped intersection there are 8 patterns, 4 direct and 4 needing to turn the aircraft around. Drawing/walking Exercise 
---Try making the + in chalk on floor and using NSEW give yourself a clearance and walk through it 
---By numbering the holds based on your arrival direction into the + #1 will always be top left 
---All of the four direct entries turn on reaching the fix, two to the right and two to the left 
---The reversal of the other four make their turns for the course reversal opposite to the hold turn 
---Fly through the fix, make your reversal for right turns to the left and for left turns to the right 
---Fly through the fix, turn left intercept crossing radial, make your reversal and hold in right turns 
---Fly through the fix, turn right, intercept crossing radial, make your reversal and hold in left turns

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