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Master Instructor Tom Gilmore says "Plan Ahead"

"Some of the cheapest flying you can do is in your living room chair the evening before going on an instrument flight," Tom Gilmore advises. "Finger fly" the entire flight by breaking out the enroute and approach charts. On an instrument flight, this Master Instructor says, the worse place to realize you should know the DA and MDA is five minutes into the approach and the chart drops off your yoke clip and slides under your seat. The short-term memory cells work much better when you have done an early review of the numbers you are to fly.

Single pilot IFR is some of the most demanding flying pilots can do today, he adds. Having all the avionics set up fifteen to twenty miles from your destination is a big factor. Try to critique your performance each time you fly on an IFR flight plan. How did you hold altitude and heading? Did you use proper communication techniques when talking to ATC? How did the approach go? Was it down to the MDA or DA without any wild gyrations? There are many other items that would round out this list and it all adds up to what your personal minimums are for continued safe flying.

Tom Gilmore has been a flight instructor for 39 years and has his own company that provides advanced concentrated instruction throughout the United States. Further information is available on his company website:

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