Instrument flight test


Macho Superpilot
I wasn't going to write this up, then thought the more gouge out there the better you guys can get an idea what it's like.

I got there an hour ahead of the examiner to go over some last minute things. This is just me, but I didn't try to cram more knowledge, because I either have it or I don't which the proceeding test is going to show. I did almost win tickets on a morning radio show too. Only one question shy of 5 on political trivia, but I digress...

I was given a flight assignment a few nights before. Gave upper winds, which were pretty strong, low ceiling on departure, and bad vis at destination. The Alternate was VFR. On the taxi out, The GPS and one VOR crapped out.

I came in the day before and wrote up a beautiful package, which I typed later that night and put in plastic pages. I typed everything. Nav Log, W&B, the notes I used to determine climb rate (it changes from 650 to 300 FPM to 9000', so I couldn't use a constant, which reflects fuel burn: time to climb, distance covered etc...) I also typed up a few other notes. It was ready for a Fortune 500 presentation...

The first thing he did was verify my logbooks. I'm a special case because I have a bit of time from Canada. Canada doesn't care about solo time, X-try PIC or a few other things, so it was a little fun trying to decipher two logbooks. I think after he saw what I've flown and where, he knew I wasn't still wet behind the ears and gave me the benefit of the doubt.

After that we went over aircraft requirements. I had to show in the logbook the last few inspections: Annual, 100hr, Pitot Static, ELT etc... He also asked what else could we find out from the logbook that is important to the airworthiness of the plane? (AD compliance)

He asked me a few questions which I didn't want to give a solid answer because I wasn't confident in it. He let me find the answer in the FAR/AIM without hitting me on it. (Don't abuse his kindness if he/she extends that to you!!)

We moved onto flight instruments. I had to explain the pitot-static system, had how each instrument worked. What I'd see in various failures, cabin alternate static would show what on the 3 instruments?
What drives the gyros? Failures, how to notice them.

We moved onto departure minimums and requirements. We moved onto my flight plan and talked about alternate minimums. Do all airports (approaches) have the same?

We had a look at my chosen route. He gave me a clearance to a fix, not the destination. He wanted to see if I would ask for an EFC if I wasn't cleared to the dest. Talked about lost comm en route. Since we were looking at the LO he asked me to point out MEA, MOCA, MRA, MORA and a few other things. He hit me on not knowing absolutely every symbol was.
Asked about off route flying altitude, VFR-on-top. And holding speeds.

Somewhere in there we talked more about clearances. Which led to what is required to report to ATC? There are 8 in radar, and 2 non-radar.

The last thing we talked about was weather. I had my computer with me so I pulled up a few things he wanted me to decode. METAR, TAF and a few charts. I thought I got off easy on this. I was ready to wow him, but he didn't give a chance to. I'm not a masochist, so I didn't push it further.

He discussed what the flight was going to entail: a VFR departure to the east, do unusual attitudes, find an intersection and hold on it, then DME arc to our first approach ILS, missed to a partial panel VOR then because of the airspace a wacky VFR type missed to a GPS, circle to land.

I did a walk around while he made a phone call or two. I went back to let him know I was ready. Luckily I caught him BSing with another CFI. Their discussion reminded me that he wasn't a pilot, but an observer of my safety.

We hoped in an I pretended he was a non-aviator passenger. Gave him a brief and got the checklist out and started it up. During the taxi he asked about the instruments.

As I got up to the run up area it looked like we were going to be #6 for T/O, but thankfully we were able to sneak ahead because the other 4 were IFR trainers waiting for release (I had to chuckle that I'm on a test they getting ready for and I scoot ahead of all of them because I'm departing VFR, good thinking DPE!!)

We line up and tells me to lower the foggles and do a 0-0 take off. He give me vectors and we leave the control zone to do unusual attitudes. We do a JFK scenario. He tells me to turn, climb all with my eye closed, and then recover. Haven’t done that in a long time. Pretty fun.

Next he tells me to hold east, left turn on a specific intersection. I have to find where I am, and how to get there. Wasn't too hard, but in the clearance he gave me, I didn't ask for an EFC time. I enter the hold, and get a little high on my first turn. After another turn or two he clears me to a DME to arc to another radial. I proceed to do that. He has me do another arc almost exactly reverse course to get into a better position to pick up the clearance for the ILS. He vectors me to a point, I tune the nav to the ILS, wait for the ident. On Com 2 I tune the ATIS, which proceeds to tell us the LOC is U/S. Okay no joy for that approach. We then do a partial panel VOR. I think I did pretty well on that one, so we go missed to head north to another airport to pick up the ILS. Because it wasn't planned, I ask him to take the plane while I reach back for the Jepp's. He says, "No, I want to see what you'd do." No problem, I'm used to flying without my hands flying banners along the beach, I have a sandwich in my left and a Gatorade in my right.

ATC clears me from one VOR to another VOR. While tracking to the second VOR I notice I have one hell of a wind correction angle to maintain that radial. What I didn't do is cross check the compass (and it's my bad habit from flying slaved HSI's and airplanes with only compasses. I smacked my own hand for that one). About the same time the DPE tells me the weather is horrible and the ammeter just went to 0. I've seen that happen before, so I'm confident in my answer. I said everything that needed to happen, but didn't state "pull out the checklist" He hit me on that.

From there, proceeded to shoot an ILS. ATC love to slam dunk me, so once getting established on the LOC I had to drop down like crazy to intercept the glide slope. I can ride a glide slope better than I can tie my shoes, but this wasn't the day to prove that. I was playing with the power more than usual to maintain it. I was well within the PTS standards, but not my own but again I digress... I request on the missed a GPS into my home airport "Roger request!"

So on the missed I get cleared to enter a LOC-D. I say, "umm respectfully request a GPS" or something like that. The controller probably got some that morning and cleared me direct to the GPS IAF. (It is pretty rare to be able to get it because of the military class B it takes us through)
I'm not terribly comfortable with the Garmin 430W's and after getting the aircraft headed to the waypoint, I'm still having trouble getting to the page I want. The DPE notices too and hits me on that. Once we get within 4 nm I get handed over to tower. The GPS takes us into a perpendicular runway to the active. So they clear us for a straight-in, which I can't do because I need to circle per the PTS. So I'm descending through 1800 down to the MDA, when the tower comes back and tells me to cross mid field at 2000'. Cool with me. I proceed to enter an extremely busy circuit and use up every foot of the allotted mileage to circle to land. I can usually land without waking a sleeping baby, but this one proves the rule that no two landings are ever the same. I'll have to thank Murphy for that one. I land long and roll it out because I don't want to slam on the brakes to make the turn-off. Tower asks me to hurry up, and I oblige.

Taxi in and shut down.

We went over the few hits that I had. I was really surprised because I thought I would have more, as it wasn't my best flight.

In the end I was able to get from points A, B, C and back to A safely without looking outside.

Hind sight advice? Go over the PTS, read and understand what it says.
I truly believe that my binder with the homework assignment and its presentation helped to avoid many more questions he could have asked.

When I answered questions, I answered the confidently. Normally I run my suck and talk about everything, but during this flight I didn't and kept asking myself what could I do? What have I missed? There was at least one occasion where I had the wrong nav freq, which I caught before he could say anything.

Oral about 4 hours
Air 2.2.


Well-Known Member
wow, my instrument oral was only an hour and a half. lol 4 hours is pretty demanding
:yeahthat: A lot of people say their oral is 3-6 hours..It really surprises me..My PPL was about 1.5 and my instrument was an hour maybe....We'll see what my commercial is.