As summer quickly approaches, weather becomes more unpredictable. From pop-up thunderstorms to low-level haze, it can be difficult to remain in favorable visual conditions—especially over extended flights. If you are a VFR pilot looking to get more use out of your pilot certificate this summer, consider adding an instrument rating. Here is our recommendation on a few essential flight bag additions you’ll need to help you get your instrument ticket.
Foggles let you simulate instrument conditions by blocking your vision outside the plane and are used throughout your training with a safety pilot or CFII.
Blockalls ($22.95 at online retailers)
For a few dollars less than your standard view limiting device, sport these futuristic foggles in your flight bag. Lightweight, durable and realistic, these foggles feel and look like sunglasses, don’t break your headset seal, and produce a realistic visual environment. We like these because they feature off center viewing and block all sunlight, so you really can’t cheat! Plus, the left-seat model comes in tons of colors but we found black simulates night IFR training most realistically. The CFI model is for use by the right seat pilot and is designed with an opposite asymmetrical design.
Pros: truly blocks all sunlight, offset design, can be worn comfortably for hours.
Cons: require different foggles based on your position in the plane, unable to fit eyeglasses underneath.
Tried and true: training foggles ($24.95 at online retailers)
These basic foggles let you focus on your instrumentation in the cockpit. They are lightweight and have boxy lenses to allow most glasses to fit underneath. Purchase the yellow version to enhance vision in low-light cockpit situations.
Pros: lightweight, fit most glasses underneath.
Cons: scratch easily, does not block light, breaks headset seal.
IFR Specific Checklists
You might already be familiar with CheckMate brand customized aircraft checklists that feature a standardized, logical flow across most makes and models of aircraft. But we recently discovered their IFR checklist!
This condensed checklist offers both vital primary IFR information and less used, but just as essential, secondary information when flying in IMC weather conditions. We also love that you can customize it to your aircraft and it comes in a laminated, condensed two sided format with standard emergency procedures. In the IFR environment, organization and management lead to smoother, stress-free and safer outcomes. Whether you are cleared for the complete approach or radar vectored to the FAF, this format helps keep the flight deck orderly and functional. It is precise and specific to the different phases of flight. It reminds you when to prepare and look ahead to each phase, how to give those greatly appreciated pilot reports on icing and turbulence, and what ATC expects you to do after a radio failure.
Redundancy and consistency in the cockpit helps pilots fly safer in all conditions. Happy training!
Jersey Aero Club does not promote or sell products and this is for informational purposes only.