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When Do You Need an IPC? The Ultimate 2021 Guide

Let’s start with the basics.  What is an IPC?  It’s an Instrument Proficiency Check.  It’s usually the next step in a pilot’s journey once they have graduated from flight school.  Why do you need an IPC?  If you want the freedom to fly whenever you want, with whoever you want, you’re going to need to be an expert on your Instruments.  Once you receive an IPC, you can fly in different weather conditions.  However, this is a learned skill with different checklists you need to complete.  Here we will outline the basics of when you need an IPC, how you can get it, and keep it up to date. 

Related: Picking the Right Flight School

Instrument Proficiency Check Requirements

When a PIC or “Pilot in Command” wants to fly in different weather conditions or if “VFR” Visual Flight Rules apply, you will need to follow IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) to get your IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check).  I know these are a ton of acronyms but welcome to aviation; you’re just getting started!  Pilots have six months to maintain instrument currency in airplanes and must do the following to adhere to IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check) requirements.  Remember, it’s an accumulative six months so that you can start in September and complete by February or start in January and be set up until June.

When working to achieve your IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check), you must log six instrument approaches, including holding procedures and tasks. This includes when you are trying to renew your IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check ). You will need to learn to use your Navigation Electronic System and intercept and track courses.  Also, be sure these approaches are logged in your logbook so you can keep track and have a written record of your accomplishments.  The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is very specific that these instruments approaches must be written in your logbook as some uncommon instrument approaches don’t require tracking and intercepting a course.  

What to Do If You’re Not Current

The first thing is you can’t be the PIC (Person in command or pilot) under (IFR) Instrument Flight Rules or in conditions less than VFR (Visual Flight Rules).  You have six calendar months to meet currency requirements, including the six approaches, tracking, and intercepting that are clearly written into your logbook and holding, per FAA requirements.  After that, you will be able to complete an IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check).  The good news is if you have logged instrument approaches within the past six months, some of those can count towards your IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check), and you won’t need to fly all those approaches over again.

Fly with A Safety Pilot

You can fly with a Safety Pilot to get your Instrument Proficiency Check Requirements.  Make sure it’s also someone you trust, as you will basically be blindfolded for this flight.  The safety pilot must occupy the other control seat, just in case they need to take over at any point in the flight and be current with their medical certificate and, of course, be appropriately rated in the category based on the class of aircraft you will be flying.  Remember, your safety pilot doesn’t need to be Instrument rated, but it might not be a bad idea.  Not only could you learn a few things from the Instrument Rated pilot, but it’s always a good idea to have the pilot next to you more skilled than you are.

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Fly with A CFI (Certified Flight Instructor)

You can also fly with a Certified Flight Instructor. What’s great is that you can still wear your “blindfold” so to speak, or go up in actual weather conditions so that you can get Instrument Proficiency Check.   Pilots are given a shield to mask different weather conditions, so you know what it will be like firsthand to fly “blindly” so to speak, and to only rely on the instruments in your cockpit. That’s why you need to keep your IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check) up to date and remember to accumulate all your approaches every six months.  Make sure your CFI (Certified Flight Instructor) is Instrument current if you are going to fly in clouds; otherwise, the flight must follow the VFR, Visual Flight Rules.

Complete an Instrument Proficiency Check

You can also complete a full FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check) and become current for the following six months.  This is a quicker process, especially if you haven’t flown in a while.  You will also learn from an experienced instructor or CFI (Certified Flight Instructor), and completing a Full IPC also involves fewer approaches than normal currency requirements.  This will be required: holding, Intercepting and tracking, and recovery from unusual altitudes.  You will also be required to make the following approaches: partial panel, circling, missed, precision, and non-precision approach.

What to Do After Your 6 Month Grace Period

Fly as much as you can and continue to log your approaches and write them in your log.  Remember “6-HITS”: 6 Approaches, Holding, Intercepting, and Tracking.  Just remember, you cannot fly as the pilot in charge under IFR or conditions less than VFR.

Complete Your IPC With Leopard Aviation

get your IPC with Leopard Aviation

All these options can help you with your IPC (Instrument Proficiency Check), and Leopard Aviation will be with you every step of the way.  Whether you’re a recent graduate of flight school, or if it’s been a while and you want your ac61-98.  Leopard Aviation can help you get your piloting needs met.  Their motto is, “There are only bad instructors, not bad students”, and they have some of the best instructors on the west coast.  Leopard Aviation will be able to help you achieve whatever your piloting goals are, including your IPC.

At Leopard Aviation, you will get to fly in a new 2020 Cessna 172S, with Garmin G1000 NXi Avionics, GFC700 Autopilot, TAWS (Terrain Awareness Warning System), Synthetic Vision, ADSB In/Out, and IFR Certified.  If your goal is to complete an Instrument Proficiency Check, give them a call, and their 2 Arizona Locations would be delighted to assist.  Leopard Aviation has locations in Scottsdale and Mesa.

Do you want to get your IPC with the best flight school around? Get in touch with Leopard Aviation today!

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