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The beginning of mastery of instrument flying comes when we develop the ability to be the equivalent of a right-seat critic of our own left-seat flying. (from the Preface to Instrument Flying Refresher)
In this unique and instructive book, veteran IFR pilot Richard L. Collins takes the right seat beside Patrick E. Bradley to demonstrate effective ways to grasp and solve IFR problems and eliminate uncertainties that may plague even current IFR airmen. Bradley, a relatively new IFR pilot, discusses the concerns and errors he has shared with most instrument fliers who are new or rusty. Collins then applies his own experiences and methods, including some lessons learned the hard way, and carefully examines airline and general aviation accidents to point out how threatening situations can be avoided or safely confronted.
IFR is a thinking game, and the authors emphasize ways of avoiding mental lapses that can turn simple difficulties into lethal crises:
- Making sure you’re fuel-safe when your destination is at minimums. Recognizing and thinking through the dangers of nighttime and circling approaches.
- Shifting strategies and tactics when the winds aloft misbehave.
- Avoiding the traps of the missed approach: before, during, and after.
- Choosing right when you’re number one for takeoff and a thunderstorm is approaching the field.
- Staying on top of equipment needs, quirks, and failures.
It emphasizes the ‘real world’ of modern IFR operations, and its anecdotal style and common sense make it all the more valuable.