Pilot's Tip of the Week
Building IFR Proficiency
Featuring Doug Stewart
"I just got my Instrument rating, but I'm not comfortable flying in the ATC system. How can I get over the hump and start using my rating?" - Mark G.
"Certainly if you're IFR rated, file every time you go somewhere, even if it's VMC because although it won't keep up your skills as far as flying on the gauges, it will keep up your skills as far as talking to air traffic control, dealing with route changes, changing the route in your GPS, etcetera. So absolutely file all the time, even though it might add 10 minutes to the flight.
Certainly build up incremental exposure so that if you've got the rating and you've only had minimal IMC time, you've got a day when there's a 1,500 foot ceiling, you know the clouds are only 2,000 to 3,000 feet thick - you found that out through PIREPS or whatever - go out, file, and go somewhere.
You'll climb up through the layer, get on top, be in beautiful, sunny, clear skies. The clouds are beautiful. You can look down and you'll see that glory, that rainbow on the clouds, with the silhouette of your aircraft in the middle.
Then come back on down through and you'll break out at 1,500 feet. It's basically VFR below. And as you do this, this will build your confidence. So get incremental exposure to the conditions out there as you build your confidence and your proficiency."