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ALC-38: Instrument Proficiency Check Review Guide
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An important part of the IFR preflight process is ensuring compliance with requirements for pilot proficiency and currency (14 CFR 61.57), as well as for aircraft instruments and equipment (14 CFR 91.205(d)).  It may be helpful to think of required instruments/equipment in terms of what you need to aviate, navigate, and communicate under IFR.  In addition, you must become familiar with "all available information" concerning the IFR environment (14 CFR 91.103).

 



An ATC clearance - usually issued in the CRAFT format - is required for IFR flight.  Safe taxi, especially during low visibility conditions, requires a thorough understanding of airport signs, markings, and lighting.  Although a part 91 operator can legally depart in zero-zero conditions, you should set and always follow personal minimums that provide an appropriate safety margin.
 



A competent instrument pilot must have a solid understanding of instrument departure procedures (DP).  There are two kinds of instrument DPs.  A Standard Instrument Departure (SID) is an ATC procedure designed to enhance system efficiency.  An Obstacle Departure Procedure (ODP) is designed to make sure you avoid terrain and other obstacles.  An ODP is typically flown without an explicit ATC clearance, but ATC expects you to use the ODP when departing IFR from a non-towered airport.

 



En route IFR procedures to know include requirements for communication (14 CFR 91.183 and AIM 5-3-2); proper altitudes (14 CFR 91.179 and 14 CFR 91.177); and holding (AIM 5-3-7).  An IFR pilot must also know how to obtain, evaluate, and act on en route weather information from Flight Watch, datalink, radar, or other sources.  Knowledge of emergency procedures, such as failure of communication (14 CFR 91.185) or navigational equipment (14 CFR 91.187) is also important. 

 



If you are operating to an airport with published standard terminal arrival procedures (STARs), pay special attention to the nuances of navigating this procedure (AIM 5-4-1).  Remember that "expect" altitudes and speeds listed on the STAR chart are for planning purposes, and that you may not fly them unless cleared to "descend via" the STAR or otherwise explicitly cleared by ATC.

 



The instrument approach phase is perhaps the most challenging part of an IFR flight, and is often the major focus of training for an instrument rating.  With the advent and rapid proliferation of RNAV(GPS) approaches, today's IFR pilot needs to understand such concepts as Terminal Arrival Areas (AIM 5-4-5); the meaning of approach terminology; how to read approach minimums (especially those for RNAV(GPS) approaches with vertical guidance); landing requirements (14 CFR 91.175), and missed approach procedures (14 CFR 91.175). 

 



If you wish to use GPS for IFR operations, you need to be thoroughly familiar with AIM 1-1-19, which covers the requirements your equipment must meet for this purpose.  Since many RNAV(GPS) approaches are now charted in the terminal arrival area (TAA) format, review AIM 5-4-5 for information.  To fly GPS approaches, you will need to understand new terminology for RNAV(GPS) approach minimums.

Please complete the end of course exam to qualify for and receive the appropriate WINGS - Pilot Proficiency Program credits for this course.



Related Media for this Section
View the file IPC Course Notes.pdf
Course Notes - IPC Prep Guide
IPC Course Notes.pdf (1.02 MB)

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