Benefits of accelerated flight training

After passing my private pilot check ride back in June 2016, I dove right into the instrument course, determined to get it knocked out in one summer. Going off the advice of a friend, I asked my instructor to schedule lessons 5 times a week. On some days we would even do two sessions, with a simulator/ground lesson first and then a flight after. Initially I felt overwhelmed. As soon as we finished discussing new material, I had to immediately be able to apply it and correctly demonstrate it back for my instructor. After the first week I was almost ready to slow down, but oddly enough I just decided to keep going one more week and see if it got any better. I don’t regret my decision at all, and I think it made the instrument rating far easier to learn.

Because I didn’t take any breaks in-between training, I was able to retain information better. There was also no time to get rusty on flight maneuvers. Unlike my private, I didn’t have to do extra remedial lessons every time I took a week off from flying. One large benefit from that was finishing the course completely within my planned budget, and actually 0.9 hours under the minimum hours requirement.

Committing my time priority to flying also provided the opportunity to experience actual IMC conditions on occasion. Several of my friends got all the way through their instrument course without ever flying through a cloud. I kept my times flexible and always tried to come out to the airport at a moment’s notice. This meant that my instructor and I were able to get out and practice approaches with low ceilings or visibility. Most of the time I only logged about 0.2 hours of actual time during flights when we did fly through IMC, but at least I got fairly comfortable with it. As a added safety measure I still plan to have personal minimums much higher than what an approach/alternate might call for, but at least I know that I have some experience and can fly safely in actual conditions.

Overall it was an amazing time getting my rating this summer, and I am thrilled to have finished it before the school semester starts back up. I would highly recommend anyone else considering flight training to take an accelerated course.

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