Instrument and Commercial Completion

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:   How is training handled for a pilot that has completed 
     most of the requirements, but is not ready for the 
     Practical Test?

A:   A pilot at this stage needs an individualized training
     program that will fill the gaps without unnecessarily
     spending time on areas where proficiency meets or 
     exceeds Practical Test Standards (PTS) requirements.
     A detailed discussion about previous training, a 
     logbook review, and a short fight will usually uncover
     the areas that need more work.

Q:   I have completed requirements for my instrument rating,
     based on a major vendors syllabus, but are nowhere near
     proficient enough for my Practical Test.  Did I receive
     poor instuction?

A:   Not necessarily. Unfortunately this happens when there
     is not continuity throughout the training. This is 
     often caused by training that is spread over a long 
     period of time, gaps between lessons, or changing 
     instructors without adequate handoff.  Each individual 
     lesson may have been superbly conducted, but resulted 
     in a poor overall outcome.  You are ultimately 
     responsible for managing your training, if you are not 
     in a regular course of instruction. Ask your instructor
     to help you with this.

Q:   What are the typical areas that require additional
     training for a "finish up" student? 

A:   For the Insturment Rating, it is usually something
     early in the previous training, such as not developing
     an adequate instrument scan.  Perhaps the student 
     learned it well enough to "get by" at the time, but did 
     not truly master this crucial skill. A couple of
     intensive simulator sessions will usually improve this.

     For the Commercial, problems are usually caused by 
     trying to fly the airplane mechanically, or undue
     dependence on the instruments. Most of the Commercial
     maneuvers require constant changes in the flight 
     controls and cannot be flown by rote.  Generally,
     the best route is to first review the Private 
     maneuvers with emphasis on flying by visual references.
     Sometimes, flying a different make and model airplane
     for a couple of hours helps.

Q:   My instructor is telling me that I should do multi-engine
     training during the time after the Instrument Rating
     and the Commercial.  Is this a good idea?

A:   This depends on your objectives, time frame, and budget.
     Ask you instructor the reasons behind the recommendation,
     or write me with your specific situation.

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© 2002 George T. Palecek.
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified 10/23/03.