Avionics/aircraft choice for Instrument/Commercial
Brian Mcelroy 7501
Joined 07/31/2018 - 2 Posts
I am pursuing my instrument rating with plans to continue on with Commercial and CFI. I am semi retired but want to pursue aviation but no intent on the airlines. I have two good CFII both with good reputations available. One CFII (50 years experience) has a Stinson with electronic HSI/DG/DME and Garmin 796. I would receive Tailwheel endorsement in addition to the mentioned ratings. The other CFII (30+ Instrument students completed) has Cessna 172N with Garmin 650/WAAS. I am wondering which CFII would be my best choice? Is the use of the Garmin 650 that important in obtaining the rating or my future CFI work to choose that route or are the basic IFR instruments sufficient with the benefit of the tailwheel endorsement and time building more valuable?
6 Replies
Ronald Levy 1219
Joined 06/11/2017 - 617 Posts
Since neither plane meets the FAA's requirements for the Commercial Pilot-Airplane (or CFI-Airplane, since you mentioned that, too) practical test (unless one of them has a bunch of avionics you didn't mention, particularly a 2-axis autopilot and an EFIS PFD), to go beyond the Instrument rating, you'd have to find out which one has another plane that does -- either a complex plane or a "TAA" plane (EFIS PFD, GPS, and 2-axis autopilot).

That said, unless for other reasons not stated, you have a desire to get into an old, rag-wing taildragger, I'd suggest going with the 172 for your instrument training.  First, practical instrument flying in this century pretty much means using a GPS, and that 796 doesn't count as a GPS for IFR operations.  Second, you may find the cockpit environment (noise, temperature, etc) in the 172 much more amenable to learning.
Brian Mcelroy 7501
Joined 07/31/2018 - 2 Posts
Thank you for the comments. I'll have to check on the items you mentioned. The feedback I've been receiving reinforces the C172. 
Michael Walpole 937
Joined 06/03/2017 - 53 Posts
Interesting.  I did most of my training for instrument in a 172S G1000 w/ integrated GFC700 autopilot.  I was told by a DPE those hours do not count for commercial unless they were logged in accordance with 14 CFR 61.129 with that specifically noted in the log book.  OTOH, I have also heard from other CFIs that was not the case.  In any case, I would like to get a clarification as I am planning to do commercial next on the way to CFI and I need to plan what all training I need.

That said - I agree with Ron that you should go with the 172N.  Most of the approaches are RNAV approaches now and it's good to know how to fly them and how to setup the GNSS for the approaches.  The GTN 650 is nice when it comes to unpublished holds as it can be programmed to fly an unpublished hold.  Use the AP or hand fly and follow the magenta line.  (After learning how to setup and fly holds the old fashioned way first.)
Ronald Levy 1219
Joined 06/11/2017 - 617 Posts

Michael Walpole:
Interesting.  I did most of my training for instrument in a 172S G1000 w/ integrated GFC700 autopilot.  I was told by a DPE those hours do not count for commercial unless they were logged in accordance with 14 CFR 61.129 with that specifically noted in the log book.  OTOH, I have also heard from other CFIs that was not the case.  In any case, I would like to get a clarification as I am planning to do commercial next on the way to CFI and I need to plan what all training I need.

As long as those log entries use the words "attitude instrument flying," "partial panel skills," "recovery from unusual flight attitudes," or "intercepting and tracking navigational systems", the time counts for the 61.129(a)(3)(i) requirement.  There is no requirement that there be a specific reference to 14 CFR 61.129(a)(3)(i) in the log entry.  Any DPE who says otherwise should be referred to his/her POI at the FSDO for the correct guidance from AFS-810.  And that C-172S with G1000 and GFC700 meets the TAA requirement in 61.129(a)(3)(ii), so you can do all your Commercial ASEL training and practical test in that airplane.

Arnold Feldman 7982
Joined 09/19/2018 - 7 Posts
I am with Ron on this.  The C-172 is the choice I would make, for the reasons he listed.  I don't often fly IFR, but when I do it is in a Mooney.
Ronald Levy 1219
Joined 06/11/2017 - 617 Posts

Arnold Feldman:
I don't often fly IFR, but when I do it is in a Mooney.

Is Arnold the most interesting flying lawyer in the world?  "I don't often drink beer, but when I do, I prefer...".