I had my first Instrument Flight Rules Ground Class today (02/21/2012) and as usual I arrived early at around 5.10 pm for the 6.00 – 9.00 pm class. As I entered the school, I was greeted by the staff at the front desk that recognized me from my earlier VFR Ground School and also when I had come in to register for the IFR Ground School. We greeted one another and I continued through the doors in to the hangar and turned left to climb the flight of stairs leading up to my class room. I could see the door was closed as I climbed the stairs but as I got closer I saw the light was on and when I opened the door I saw that someone was already in class. “Hello, my name is Tiger” I said smilingly introducing myself. “My name is Thomas”, said the other gentleman. Thomas is a young chap around 22 years of age and he already has his Private Pilot Certificate, but he qualified a good few years ago. He asked me if I was already a pilot and if I was here to get my instrument rating. “No, I’m still training to be a private pilot”, I replied and continued; “I just finished the VFR Ground School here with Mr. Whipple”. “Oh really, is he good teacher?” asked Thomas, “Oh yes very good, that’s why I’m back”, I said smilingly.
Thomas then received a call on his cell phone and said, “Oh I have to take this, but I’ll be back” and left the class room. I sat down and took out my books and began reading through the first chapter when Mr. Whipple arrived. “Good Evening” he said, “Oh hello Dan” I said smilingly, very pleased to see him. Mr. Whipple put his bag down and then said, “I better get the coffee started and I have some cookies too!” One by one the other students gradually began arriving and Mr. Whipple said, “Oh I think I have to go down to get more coffee cups” and left. Thomas returned after completing his conversation and the gentleman seated behind him introduced himself to both of us as Steve. He too was a qualified private pilot and flying through a club in Elk River, another town outside of Minneapolis. The fact that Steve was a pilot was no surprise to me as I was expecting only myself to be a learner pilot and by the time everyone had arrived I realized that I was correct. Ten people had registered for the class but only eight were present this evening and Mr. Whipple said that the other two had called and cancelled.
Mr. Whipple handed out a sign-in sheet and then began class at precisely at 6.00 pm with an introduction of himself and his experience in education and aviation. He also provided us with his contact information including his home number if we wanted to chat with his wife he said jokingly. But he went on a little too long before he realized that he needed to begin class. So at around 6.30 pm or so he said if you we needed a quick break we could do so by grabbing some coffee and cookies and stretching our legs. He also said to let him know if we needed more coffee and he would bring an extra coffee maker from home. “The students in the VFR class I taught were real coffee guzzlers and we often ran out of coffee, although I think it was mainly Tiger who consumed most of it” he said smilingly and the whole class laughed in unison, including myself. Mr. Whipple began class by informing us of the importance of being instrument rated; this was then followed by “Human Factors of Flight” and “Flight Instruments”. These last two topics were a review for me as I had covered them in the VFR class. He also recommended some books for general reading, they weren’t required for the IFR course / exam but sometimes it’s good to read other books to gain a different perspective on things he said.
- Weather Flying by Robert N. Buck
- Instrument Flying by Richard Taylor
- Instrument Pilot’s Survival Manual by Rod Machodo’s
- The Instrument flight Training Manual by Peter Dogam
- Instrument Flying Handbook by the FAA
Mr. Whipple concluded by saying that, with the exception of the FAA book, these books were for recreational reading and we only needed the two Jeppesen books, “Guided Flight Discovery – Instrument and Commercial” and “Instrument Rating – FAA Airman Knowledge”, if we didn’t want to spend the $300.00 to buy the pilot’s kit that included these books among others for this course.