Starting the practical IMC course

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My practical course is scheduled to run over the Easter and Bank holiday week. It will be quite intensive,  with two instructors at different times. Hopefully the weather and aircraft technical issues won’t cause any issues.  I intended to try and complete the course over the extended week, hoping that immersion in the subject and continuity should help keep me focussed.

I’d booked up a fair number of slots for an intensive course – it was suggested that sorties of up to about an hour are what most people can take at one time, but that fitting two or even three in the same day would be feasible.

Some people have achieved it in the minimum 15 hours. I’m not expecting to be quite that good because I’m still a relatively low hours pilot, but have read up a lot of the theory beforehand to try and be well prepared.

Practical Course

Looking ahead, the practical course itself consists of three main sections:

  • Flying in cloud, i.e. by instruments only (including when some fail)
  • Navigating purely by instruments (VOR, ADF, DME)
  • Instrument Landing procedures (ILS, NDB etc.)

The IMC syllabus of Lyneham Flying Club apportions 10 hours for the first point – i.e. the practical aspects of being able to fly the aircraft in cloud under lots of different circumstances, and a minimum of 5 hours for the navigation and approaches.

The legal minimum hours for the course are 15, of which 10 must be in instrument conditions (typically meaning with a hood or foggles to mask your view outside). Being a UK only qualification, the same instructor can also conduct the final examination.

On checking the dependency between theory and practical exams, I’ve uncovered that at the club you are expected to have passed the theory before taking the practical flight test.

Other IMC diaries

I’ve trawled the internet for other PPLs who have documented their experience of IMC training. It seems there is generally more interest in this for similar reasons to me – particularly the threat of EASA withdrawing this for new pilots – and that more are taking it up this year. Andy Hawkins, my flying buddy, did his in a week last summer.

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