Episode 71. IFR proficiency and remote flight instruction, with Ryan Koch

Ryan KochEarning an instrument rating can unlock new flying adventures, but only if you keep your skills sharp. In this episode, CFII Ryan Koch offers some tips for doing that, including: staying mentally engaged when you can’t fly, using scenarios instead of maneuvers, and simple techniques for improving your instrument scan. Ryan also talks about delivering remote flight instruction with flight simulators, including for avionics training and high school classes. In the Ready to Copy segment, you’ll hear how Ryan uses checklists during IFR flight, what he likes best about the Stearman, and his favorite guitarist. 


  • The value of an instrument rating: “People often think about an instrument rating as a tool that you can use to fly when the weather is really bad… the days where it’s especially helpful are those days where, say, it’s a couple thousand overcast.”

  • Staying current: “It’s always kind of struck me as counterintuitive that, when you’re away from something for a while, the sorts of skills that atrophy quickest are not the physical ones… it’s the mental game”

  • Learning the instrument scan: “Flight instructors sometimes misdiagnose problems later on in instrument training as procedural issues, but really the problem is that the student is just spending so much time on the scan.”

  • Anticipating what’s next: “The ATC side of it is daunting for a lot of pilots, but once you’ve done it for a while, you realize it’s a script with a couple variations at each step.”

  • Teaching automation: “It used to be taken for granted that you would start with minimal equipment and then add in the stuff as you got proficient on the basics, and I kinda think we should lean the other direction.”

  • Using home sims to learn avionics: “You shouldn’t obsess over getting an exact match of your airplane and your panel. Get it reasonably close”

  • Cancelling too many flights: “It’s one thing to always just say ‘it’s better to be on the ground wishing you were in the air than vice versa,’ but I think if you’re actually going to be a proficient pilot at doing the instrument stuff, you’ve gotta get out and do it.”

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