Earning your wings requires hand-eye coordination, but instrument flying (IFR) is a brain game.
Yes, mastering flight by tiny needles is tough, but navigation, holds, and approaches are exciting and fun. And while IFR may be the hardest rating, it’s also the most safety-enhancing, rewarding, and practical. When I earned my cloud wings forty years ago this month, my flight-completion rate doubled overnight to over 90%.
Instrument flying, of course, gets you where you’re going without sight of the ground, and “instrument approaches” deliver you safely to landing.
As with VFR cross-countries, instrument flight plans are crafted around checkpoints, but using predefined fixes from an IFR chart. These days, thanks to GPS and moving maps, we can fly great distances and shoot programmed instrument approaches almost as readily as by looking out the window.
But it wasn’t always that easy…
**Read Greg’s entire column, “CLOUD WINGS“**
Photo: GPS Runway 3 LPV instrument approach to Flagstaff, Arizona.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
©2018 Gregory N. Brown
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!