Instrument Panel, Cessna 172I originally learned to fly small single-engined airplanes in California during 1999, and documented the experience elsewhere in my Learning To Fly Diary. I'd always meant to continue on to do my instrument rating (so I could fly when the weather was too poor to fly by visual reference alone), but I kept putting it off (doing things like learning to do aerobatics and fly taildraggers instead).

Sometime early 2004, however, I finally decided to commit to getting my US instrument rating part-time while also trying to keep a business going and struggling to pay the rent (etc.). This diary documents what happened, and, like the earlier diary, is a sequential series of entries that were written as it all happened (and when I didn't know from week to week what I'd be doing, or whether I'd actually get the rating in the end...).

Unlike the earlier diary, though, this one was originally written as part of a more general GA blog -- Yankee Alpha Foxtrot Bravo (YAFB) -- and the blog organisation, where the latest entries are the first things you read, makes it difficult to follow the story if you haven't been reading along from the beginning. Additionally, the blog's continued on well past the point at which my instrument training ended, and the training stuff tended to get lost in the noise. So after some procrastination I've made a version of it that's a lot easier to read along with from scratch (you can also read the original blog form at YAFB, of course, if you're interested).

The diary also includes some stuff -- like aerobatics -- that isn't directly relevant to instrument training, but since it was all happening to me at the same time as the instrument rating, I've left it in. I've also removed blog comments, etc., but you can find them still on the original blog postings. I originally included a seperate notes page with the blog entries, but I've removed that as it ended up being too difficult to keep maintained. I guess I'm expecting my readers to understand at least the basics of GA flying here -- and in any case, the notes may appear again when I get the time to edit them and the diary properly.

Like the earlier diary, this is very much one person's take on the process of getting an instrument rating in California or the US. There are plenty of different ways to get it (see e.g. Joe Campbell's version...), and I can't claim my way was optimal, let alone even typical, but it might give you a good idea of what's involved in any case. And like the earlier diary, many of the images can be clicked on to get larger versions that may or may not be interesting in their own right (but again, for a professional photographer, I seem to do a really bad job of documenting the experience...).

Now click here to start reading the diary...

The Author

Hamish Reid hams it up in front of 4JG at Santa Barbara, 2004I am an Anglo-Australian photographer, designer, and software engineer living and working in Oakland, California. My full profile is here (but since it gives nothing away, it's not really worth visiting...). I am the owner and founder of the photography business Mistrale, and a selection from my personal photographic portfolio can be found at (which is way out of date, but never mind...). I also write the occasional photo blog Photolalia. I also still do a lot of Java, XML, and web services work in the hi-tech world down in Silicon Valley (it helps pay the rent and the rentals...).

I normally fly out of Oakland airport, a rather busy airport across the bay from San Francisco in Northern California. My flying is strictly for fun (so far, anyway...), and is usually done in a variety of Cessna 172s, but I also have quite a lot of time in an unusual little Cessna A152 Texas Taildragger Aerobat, and an old mid-1960's 180HP Arrow (not to mention the Super Decathlon and the TB-10 Tobago). One day I may grow up and do the whole commercial / instructor / ATP thing, but until then, this is all there is...


This diary probably won't change much in the future, but if it does, the changes will be noted below...

Instrument Training Diary -- Hamish Reid

Web Instrument Training Diary