Being Ready for your IFR Flight Test

The date of your IFR flight test excitement and nervous energy to the critical element in making it a positive experience is to be well prepared.  In the hours leading up to your flight test, your experience should be one of listening to your favorite tunes over your earbuds, while visualizing step-by-step the flight test sequences.  What would not be current your flight test is to be engaged in a mad attempt to get things done before the examiner arrives, which should've been done in the days leading up to the flight test.  Organization reduces anxiety.


Based on information on this page, as well as your individual needs in flight test preparation, draw up a checklist well in advance of the ride, that addresses in detail the actions you wish to complete in preparation.

Morning Requirements

Begin with minutes before the flight test, and work yourself backwards.  For example, you want to go into the flight test with your flight test recommendation, signed by an instructor, and application for an endorsement of the rating, also signed by an instructor, a copy of your pilot license, your pilot medical certificate, your radio license, a copy of the results for your qualifying written examination for instrument rating, current approach plates and navigation charts, a current Canada Flight Supplement, your weather data for the route, including the alternate airport, your navigation preparation for the assigned or anticipated route, your IFR flight plan, a pad of paper, etc. You can see that the list gets complicated, and you don't want to be haphazardly trying to sort things at the last moment.  This simply creates frenzy.  So begin your checklists with a list entitled Morning Requirements.  By the way, items with respect to aircraft readiness may have to be included here, as you may have not been able to complete your pre-flight requirements the night before, such as pre-flight inspection, fuel, and oil.

There should be a contingency plan in place for the forecast of restrictive weather conditions such as basing, thunderstorms, or turbulence, etc., and you should therefore have a means of alerting the examiner at least an hour in advance of the booking time that restrictive conditions exist.  Alternate plans can then be made.

Be sure your IFR flight plan is filed.

Day-before Requirements

The day before the ride, although the required paperwork should be completed so that nothing is left for the morning of the ride.  This includes your flight test recommendation letter and your application for an endorsement, both of which must be signed by yourself and your flight instructor.

One of the main tasks required on the day before your ride is the completion of your navigation data.  Upper wind data is published a day in advance, so the ideas that all of time distance and fuel calculations can be fully prepared, leaving all that is required on the morning of your ride is the verification that conditions of not substantially changed.

If the forecasted freezing level appears to be restrictive with respect to your planned flight tests, be sure to give the examiner and early heads-up so that contingency plans can be made conveniently.

By now, you will have completed the rigours of navigation cross-country data prep, and you are aware of the complications associated with fuel requirements, not only with respect to your destination airport, but also your alternate airport.  This is complicated, so you want to make sure you provide lots of time for this preparation.  Don’t forget, this can all be done using software.

The IFR training slots must to be booked in preparation for your “regs” flight—candidates for an IFR flight tests can book training slots twenty-four hours in advance.  This should be done first thing in the morning as you may be competing with other regs for limited training slots.  Advise the person taking the booking of your aircraft identification, and that you will be operating as per the regs number of your examiner.  Typically, with respect to planning, and in the case that you haven’t be advised otherwise, anticipate engine start-up approximately one hour after your initial meeting time with the examiner.  Allowing an additional thirty minutes for pre-takeoff preparation, your training slots bookings are based on the estimated time of your arrival at the facility.  In the case of Victoria airport, for example, a fifteen minute transition should be anticipated, so your first slot there should be booked fifteen minutes after your anticipated takeoff time.  By now, you will be intimately familiar with the methodology required for booking training slots.

Be sure your personal log book is brought up to date with respect to your final training flights.

Be sure that you organize the payment of the examiner, which is typically by cash, so have this ready—typically $300 to $400.

One-week-before Requirements

The Flight Test  Guide should be reviewed in detail to put you in the mindset for your evaluation.

Your personal log book should be brought up to date so that all required experience data is ready to be used on the letter of recommendation the application for the endorsement.  With respect to flight experience, you will be required to provide your total instrument time, your total instrument time from an IFR rated flight instructor (or other qualified person), your instrument time in flight simulators (Ground Instrument), your instrument time in aeroplanes (usually not different unless you have flown helicopters), your total cross-country time as pilot-in-command, your long dual cross-country IFR flight in nautical miles, and your total cross-country time in the airplane category.

You should also review your personal log book to ensure you meet the letter of the law with respect to experience requirements.  Be sure that you will anticipate having fifteen hours minimum experience with an IFR rated flight instructor, and be sure you anticipate having completed the required fifty hours cross-country time as pilot-in-command.