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How much IFR could a VFR pilot do?


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Since this is not a question related to MSFS I've moved it to a different forum.


There is no one answer to this, as all pilots are different. VFR pilots are trained in some basic instrument skills such as tracking a VOR.


I'm a VFR only rated pilot in the real world, but have flown in actual IFR conditions (with an instructor) and did just fine. You can read about it here:



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It depends a lot on the pilot's training. The part that gets people into trouble is having minimal or no training in using the instruments to maintain straight and level flight while being affected by the physical and visual sensations messing with your mind. Spatial disorientation is one thing that doesn't translate into a desktop flight sim very well, if at all. Do a search on graveyard spirals and "178 seconds to live".





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Lots of simmers (non-pilots) learn about IFR, though many spend most of their time on autopilot, so I expect that many VFR only pilots do so in the sim, also. And while real world flying on the gauges, in and of itself, isn't horribly difficult and can be mastered fairly easily, real world IFR is a LOT more than just flying the gauges. There are procedures of many sorts to do, regs to follow, ATC expectations to deal with, and there are times when you are IFR that it can get rather busy in the cockpit with a lot more to do than just fly the airplane, but that still MUST be done too. Sure, autopilots help, but what if it breaks? How do you do with an amended clearance? What do you do if you lose radio communications? There's lots more, too.


And everyone who gets their Private certificate in the U.S. must have a certain amount of hood* time, as well as demonstrating that capability to the examiner, but it's easy to lose proficiency so most probably would need some work.




*A hood is a view limiting device to make it artificially "instrument conditions."


Larry N.

As Skylab would say:

Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

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IFR and VFR navigation techniques are pretty much the same up until landing. VOR or GPS navigation techniques should be learned, or will be learned actually, before you get your Private.

I was IFR qualified before I gave up flying. And I could do it, I was decent at it, but I did NOT enjoy it. Flying single pilot GA IFR is work. With that being said, I have discovered (in the sim and in real life) that I used the lessons I learned in IFR to make VFR a lot easier. Even on a pure VFR day, it was easier to file an IFR plan and fly it that way with a lot of eyes watching and helping you safely get from point a to point b.

In the sim, I fly low and slow VFR. It's for relaxation. I use real weather updates though so if it isn't too bad I'll open an IFR plan and finish, but if it looks like it's going to be a rough day, I'd just as soon land, save it as my default flight so I can "climb back in the plane" and start back there when the weather clears. My current aerial roadtrip ended in Ashville, NC. From there, I'll probably continue to the east coast and follow it down to Florida. Maybe a quick hop over to the Bahamas for some Virtual Conch salad and island hopping fun before working my way back home to Mobile, AL.

If you fly IFR (In real or sim), just remember what my instructor told me. "An Instrument rating is nothing more than a license to practice. Don't use it to get home in a bad situation. Use it to get safe before you get into a bad situation."

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I'm curious as to are their differences in check lists and other matters before actually taking to the air for IFR and VFR?


I have dabbled with flight sims for many years and although I know I can confidently take off, navigate and land in a variety of aircraft in flight sims. I know damn well I would probably be dead within a week or two in real aircraft. I have no formal flight training.


I am hoping to actually take the release of FS 2020 to take the actual flying and procedures more seriously. This new sim seem to have everything you need to fly as close to real life that any sim can be and it seems to be an ideal opportunity to do so.


I have been watching a series of video's on YOUTUBE by DOOFER911 and they are absolutely brilliant with regards using instruments, navigation and general procedures.


I also have found a site that seems to have checklist for various aircraft



I wonder if this might be the makings of a new forum section, where checklists, procedures, and ATC information for various aircraft could be posted so that those of us that wish to take simming up a notch can have a reliable and accurate repository to refer to?

Edited by efanton
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I'm IFR rated but the majority of my flying is compatible with weather, and thus, VFR.

It is very useful to have the IFR rating for flghts further afield - I flew into Aix les Milles but had to divert to Marseilles Provence.


Couldn't have done that without an IFR rating, although there were alternatives!

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