Make sure you ask the examiner to clear the area before maneuvers.
Use checklists for all phases of flight—if using a mnemonic, tell the examiner what you are doing.
Use rudder for small corrections on final.
Setup for stabilized approach 4 miles before FAF.
10° Flaps, Landing Gear down, Prop in, Mixture in, Boost Pump on
Missed reviewed and set up.
Cram – Power In
Climb – Nose on Horizon
Clean – Gear first, then flaps
Cool – Mixture and Cowl Flaps
Course – Course to holding fix
Communicate – Let the tower know you are going missed.
For Part 91 pilots an instrument flight plan is required to enter IMC in controlled airspace and to enter Class A airspace.
Rating is required to:
• Fly in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) including Class G per §61.3 (e)
• Fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).
• Fly in Class A airspace.
• Fly Special VFR at Night (if airplane is also IFR) except helicopters.
• If a commercial pilot, carry passengers for hire at night or in excess of 50 NM.
• Obtain an airplane CFI certificate
Interestingly, an IFR rating is not required to file and fly IFR in an airship if you have a Commercial Airship Certificate.
If you own or fly a larger complex airplane, (e.g Cessna 210 or A36 Bonanza) IFR rating will lower your insurance payment, open up more insurers to quotes, and allow higher limits.
Pilot Requirements to fly IFR
Six approaches, holding patterns, and intercepting courses in previous six months.
Current and appropriate medical for the type of flight.
Current flight review.
If flying with passengers: Within the previous 90 days
Three takeoffs and landings
If flying between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise:
Three takeoffs and landing to a full stop in that time.
IFR Equipment Required
Everything from Day plus:
Generator or alternator of adequate capacity.
Two-way radio communication and navigation equipment suitable for the route to be flown.
Clock capable of displaying seconds.
(Normal six pack except VSI)
Sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure.
Gyroscopic rate-of-turn indicator
Gyroscopic pitch and bank indicator (artificial horizon).
Gyroscopic direction indicator (directional gyro or equivalent).
IFR Mnemonic— GRABCARD
Generator or Alternator
Radios for Communication and Navigation
Altimeter – Sensitive
Ball – Slip/Skid Indicator
Rate of Turn Indicator
Directional Gyro (Heading Indicator)
Check, in straight and level flight, about every 15 minutes, after a holding pattern, and before starting an approach.
At Each Waypoint
Morse, Source, Course
If ILS or Localizer, listen for Morse Code, Verify Source on GPS, Set Course on Heading Indicator and OBS
Altitude for Leg
Attitude on Heading Indicator
Active Leg Is Shown On GPS
Next Leg, Waypoint, or Missed Approach. Load frequencies for Nav and Coms.
At 30 NM each dot is appoximately 1 NM displacement.
So 1 NM is ~200′.
100 Hour AD items
Transponder – 24 months
Altimeter- 24 months
Pitot/Static- 24 months
ELT – 12 Months Inspection, Replaced at 24 months or 50%
GPS Database Current and Logged (New version every 28 days.)
VOR check within 30 days
As long as it is not required you may:
Use Minimum Equipment List (MEL) if applicable,
Inop Sticker and Deactiveate,
Inop Sticker and Remove (W&B may be required).
Ferry Permit if Required Equipment is inoperative
Add power, Reduce Pitch, Level the Wings – Leveling the wings first may result in a spin.
Reduce power, Level the Wings, Increase Pitch – Increasing the pitch first will increase the bank and may overstress the airframe.
To level off at an airspeed higher than the descent speed, the addition of power should be made, assuming a 500 FPM rate of descent, at approximately 100 to 150 feet above the desired altitude.
Safety of flight—Icing, Turbulence, Bird Strike, Engine Trouble, etc.
Time and altitude reaching a holding fix
Airspeed (true) change of 10 kts or 5% whichever is greater.
Loss of nav equipment and degree to which ability to operate in system is affected
Unable to climb or descend at 500 fpm
Vacating assigned altitude
Altitude change VFR-On-Top
§91.183 IFR communications.
(a) The time and altitude of passing each designated reporting point…
(b) Any unforecast weather conditions encountered; and
(c) Any other information relating to the safety of flight.
§91.187 Operation under IFR in controlled airspace: Malfunction reports.
any malfunctions of navigational, approach, or communication equipment occurring in flight.
Reports that should be made without a specific request from ATC
• VFR-on-top change in altitude
• Missed approach
• Leaving one assigned flight altitude for another
• Leaving any assigned holding fix or point
• Unable to climb or descend at least 500 feet per minute
• TAS variation from filed speed of 5% or 10 knots, whichever is greater
• Time and altitude upon reaching a holding fix
• Loss of NAV/Comm capability
• Unforecasted weather conditions or other information relating to the safety of flight
If radar contact has been lost the CFRs require pilots to provide ATC with position reports over designated VORs
• Compulsory reporting points as depicted on IFR en route charts by solid triangles.
• Leaving FAF or OM inbound on final approach.
• Revised ETA of more than three minutes.
AIM 5-3-2 2. Flights Along a Direct Route.
Regardless of the altitude or flight level being flown, including flights operating in accordance with an ATC clearance specifying “VFR−on−top,” pilots must report over each reporting point used in the flight plan to define the route of flight.
Another way to remember when you have to report is to think about what ATC needs to know about your flight. They want to know about changes to Safety, Performance, Location, and Altitude.
• Safety of flight—Icing, Turbulence, Bird Strike, Engine Trouble, etc.
• Loss of nav/com equipment and degree to which ability to operate in system is affected,
• Any unforecast weather conditions encountered.
• TAS variation from filed speed of 5% or 10 knots, whichever is greater.
• Revised ETA of more than three minutes (non-RADAR environment).
• Unable to climb or descend at least 500 feet per minute.
• Time and altitude upon reaching a holding fix and when leaving the fix.
• Leaving FAF or OM inbound on final approach. (non-RADAR environment)
• Starting the missed approach.
• Leaving one assigned flight altitude for another.
• VFR-On-Top altitude change.
• In a non-RADAR environment, compulsory reporting points as depicted on IFR en route charts by solid triangles.
• When on GPS direct route, pilots must report over each reporting point used in the flight plan to define the route of flight.
ETA Next fix
Name of succeeding fix
Operating Below DA/DH or MDA
Flight Visibility > Minimums
Land Using Normal Maneuvers (in the Touchdown Zone Part 121 and 135)
Have the Runway Environment in sight
14 CFR §91.175 Takeoff and landing under IFR.
(c) Operation below DA/DH or MDA.
Except as provided in paragraph (l) of this section, where a DA/DH or MDA is applicable, no pilot may operate an aircraft, except a military aircraft of the United States, below the authorized MDA or continue an approach below the authorized DA/DH unless—
(1) The aircraft is continuously in a position from which a descent to a landing on the intended runway can be made at a normal rate of descent using normal maneuvers, and for operations conducted under part 121 or part 135 unless that descent rate will allow touchdown to occur within the touchdown zone of the runway of intended landing;
(2) The flight visibility is not less than the visibility prescribed in the standard instrument approach being used; and
(3) Except for a Category II or Category III approach where any necessary visual reference requirements are specified by the Administrator, at least one of the following visual references for the intended runway is distinctly visible and identifiable to the pilot:
(i) The approach light system, except that the pilot may not descend below 100 feet above the touchdown zone elevation using the approach lights as a reference unless the red terminating bars or the red side row bars are also distinctly visible and identifiable.
(ii) The threshold.
(iii) The threshold markings.
(iv) The threshold lights.
(v) The runway end identifier lights.
(vi) The visual approach slope indicator.
(vii) The touchdown zone or touchdown zone markings.
(viii) The touchdown zone lights.
(ix) The runway or runway markings.
(x) The runway lights.
Threshold—The beginning of that portion of the runway usable for landing.
Displaced Threshold—A threshold that is located at a point on the runway other than the designated beginning of the runway.
Touchdown zone—The first three thousand feet of the runway, beginning at the threshold. Note: This is why there are three sets of stripes along the runway. The first set and the aiming point are in the first 1,000′. Two sets with two stipes are in the second 1,000′. Two sets with 1 stripe are in the final 1,000′ of the TDZ.
Refer to AIM 2−3−3. Runway Markings for details.
No person may operate a civil aircraft in IFR conditions unless it carries enough fuel (considering weather reports and forecasts and weather conditions) to—
Complete the flight to the first airport of intended landing;
Fly from that airport to the alternate airport; and
Fly after that for 45 minutes at normal cruising speed.
Non-WAAS equipped aircraft may file based on a GPS−based IAP at either the destination or the alternate airport, but not at both locations. When using WAAS at an alternate airport, flight planning must be based on flying the RNAV (GPS), LNAV, or circling minima line, or minima on a GPS approach procedure, or conventional approach procedure with “or GPS” in the title. (Not LPV.)
If the forecast weather at the destination airport, for at least 1 hour before and for 1 hour after the estimated time of arrival (ETA), the ceiling is less than 2,000 feet above the airport elevation, and the visibility is less than 3 SM.
Standard alternate minimums for non-precision approaches and approaches with vertical guidance [NDB, VOR, LOC, TACAN, LDA, SDF, VOR/DME, ASR, RNAV (GPS) or RNAV (RNP)] are 800-2. At the estimated time of arrival.
Standard alternate minimums for precision approaches (ILS, PAR, or GLS) are 600-2. At the estimated time of arrival.
If no instrument approach procedure at the destination the ceiling and visibility minima are those allowing descent from the MEA, approach, and landing under basic VFR an alternate is required.
When using WAAS at an alternate airport, flight planning must be based on flying the RNAV (GPS) LNAV or circling minima line, or minima on a GPS approach procedure, or conventional approach procedure with “or GPS” in the title.
FAA designated standard minimums: 1 statute mile (SM) visibility for single- and twin-engine aircraft, and 1⁄2 SM for helicopters and aircraft with more than two engines. Part 91 has no takeoff minimums—a 0/0 departure is legal.
Unless specified otherwise, required obstacle clearance for all departures, including diverse, is based on the pilot crossing the departure end of the runway (DER) at least 35 feet above the DER elevation, climbing to 400 feet above the DER elevation before making the initial turn, and maintaining a minimum climb gradient of 200 feet per nautical mile (FPNM), unless required to level off by a crossing restriction until the minimum IFR altitude is reached.
If an aircraft may turn in any direction from a runway within the limits of the assessment area and remain clear of obstacles that runway passes what is called a diverse departure assessment and no ODP is published.
Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODP) are only used for obstruction clearance and do not include ATC related climb requirements.
A Standard Instrument Departure (SID) is an ATC-requested and developed departure route. Must have at least the textual description of the procedure.
A visual climb over airport (VCOA) is a departure option for an IFR aircraft, operating in VMC equal to or greater than the specified visibility and ceiling.
A radar departure is another option.
Databases must be updated for IFR operations and should be updated for all other operations. (AIM 5−1−16 c. RNAV and RNP Operations) An outdated database may be used for En Route, Terminal operations provided that data is verified for correctness. Approach may be used if the approach procedure has not been amended since publication of the procedure. (AIM TBL 1-1-6)
Always load the full approach — not vectors-to-final — even if that is what they give you.
Ground−based navigation equipment is not required to be installed and operating for en route IFR operations when using GPS/WAAS navigation systems. All operators should ensure that an alternate means of navigation is available in the unlikely event the GPS/WAAS navigation system becomes inoperative.
Pilots are not authorized to fly a published RNAV or RNP departure procedure unless it is retrievable by the procedure name from the navigation database and conforms to the charted procedure.
Use of a STAR requires pilot possession of at least the approved chart. RNAV STARs must be retrievable by the procedure name from the aircraft database and conform to charted procedure.
As soon as you turn onto a localizer or ILS, you need to display course guidance from the Nav radio… For a VOR approach, the answer is different you can fly all the way to the FAF before you need to switch the CDI or HSI to the Nav radio.
AC 90-108 An RNAV system cannot be used for the following:
b. Substitution on a Final Approach Segment (FAS).
Substitution for the NAVAID (for example, a VOR or NDB) providing lateral guidance for the FAS.
c. Lateral Navigation on LOC-Based Courses.
Lateral navigation on LOC-based courses (including LOC back-course guidance) without reference to raw LOC data.
IFR Approach and Departure
GPS IFR approach/departure operations can be conducted when approved avionics systems are installed and the following requirements are met:
(1) The aircraft is [GPS/WAAS certified]… and
(2) The approach/departure must be retrievable from the current airborne navigation database in the navigation computer. The system must be able to retrieve the procedure by name from the aircraft navigation database. Manual entry of waypoints using latitude/longitude or place/bearing is not permitted for approach procedure.
GPS overlay approaches are designated non−precision instrument approach procedures that pilots are authorized to fly using GPS avionics. Overlay procedures are identified by the “name of the procedure” and “or GPS” (e.g., VOR/DME or GPS RWY 15) in the title.
Minimums at Controlled Airports
No person may operate an aircraft beneath the ceiling under VFR within the lateral boundaries of controlled airspace designated to the surface for an airport when the ceiling is less than 1,000 feet ground visibility at that airport is at least 3 statute miles.
The same minimums apply to visual approaches. Contact approaches only require 1 SM visibility and COC.
Route – AVEnue F
Assigned, Vectored, Expected, Filed
Altitude – MEA
Minimum IFR Altitude
Highest for route.
Squawk 7600 (Hi Jack (7500), I can’t talk now (7600), I have an emergency (7700).
Recommended altitude for using oxygen at night is 5,000′ and 10,000′ during the day.
12.500 for more than 30 minutes
14,000 for crew
15,000 made available for passengers
Tower Enroute Control route can be requested from Ground.
On initial call say you have an IFR request.
Ask for a TEC to your destination. Know the route when you request because they will give you a route, e.g. SBAN47 or CSTN24
With GPS you can file or request MOCA altitudes if the MEA requires oxygen, icing is possible at the MEA, or you want a better ride below the cloud deck.
MRAs for identifying intersections aren’t necessary if you have GPS.
AIM 5−1−15. Canceling IFR Flight Plan
An IFR flight plan may be canceled at anytime the flight is operating in VFR conditions outside Class A airspace by pilots stating “CANCEL MY IFR FLIGHT PLAN” to the controller or air/ground station with which they are communicating. … If a subsequent IFR operation becomes necessary, a new IFR flight plan must be filed and an ATC clearance obtained before operating in IFR conditions.
If operating on an IFR flight plan to an airport where there is no functioning control tower, the pilot must initiate cancellation of the IFR flight plan.
Approach Plate Sections
§91.103 Preflight action.
(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;
(b) For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:
(1) For civil aircraft for which an approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual containing takeoff and landing distance data is required, the takeoff and landing distance data contained therein;