February 2010 Issue

Missed Expectations

The interaction between pilots and ATC depends on trust that certain procedures will be followed in order.

Way back when I was training for the instrument rating, I was enraptured by the entire concept of operating an aircraft without visual reference to the world outside. Part of that love affair—which continues today—had to do with the elaborate rules and procedures designed both to keep the airplane and its occupants out of the weeds while ensuring everyone associated with its operation knew what to expect. For the average VFR-only pilot contemplating the instrument rating, there’s a lot to learn—and by no means do I know it all—but there’s also a very clear philosophy behind it. Once the underlying rules are understood, the actual flying often is easier than doing the same trip VFR.

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