Instrument Rating Accelerator

Instrument Rating Accelerator

Follow a pilot through the entire instrument rating, from the first training flight through the checkride (and everything in-between).

Get Checkride Ready (Again)

Many pilots are unprepared for the intensity of instrument training. There’s an enormous amount of information to learn, plus dozens of new and complex skills to acquire. By the time you take your checkride, you’re expected to be able to juggle all of this competently—and confidently—while flying in the clouds.

It’s no wonder many instrument students don’t feel ready for the checkride or for flying in the IFR system once they get their rating.

What if you could “ride along” on another pilot’s instrument rating? What if you could be right there, in the cockpit, from the very first training flight all the way through the checkride?

The Instrument Rating Accelerator gives pilots a unique view into the instrument rating. What an online ground school does for your written exam, this course will do for your checkride.

What is the “Instrument Rating Accelerator”?


We did something that has never been done…we took a private pilot through an entire instrument rating (including a full checkride with a real DPE) using a flight simulator and remote instruction. And we recorded the entire thing. The use of flight simulation provided a unique experience for the student pilot, and allowed us to do things that really enhanced the instructional value of the material.

You’ll follow a Private Pilot (Mike) through his entire instrument rating. You’ll see him struggle, and succeed. You’ll watch him make mistakes, and recover. As he learns, so will you.

All told, we captured over 60 hours of video during the making of this course. Then we edited it down leaving the best bits—in total about 14 hours of curated, instructional video. The result is an unconventional course that shows you exactly what to expect during instrument training and the checkride. You’ll learn what instructors and examiners are looking for, and how to exceed their expectations.

If you’re training for your instrument rating, the benefits are obvious. By watching these videos, you’ll be better prepared for each lesson, and truly ready for your checkride when the time comes.

If you already have your instrument rating, think of the value of reliving the experience and how much more you would pick up the second time through.

And if you’re a CFII, watching other instructors teach can be the best way to improve your own techniques and procedures.

This course will accelerate your IFR knowledge, no matter what level you’re at.

The Student

Mike Stuermer
Private Pilot

Mike is a low-time private pilot who flies Cessna 172s and 152s out of Wausau, WI. He had no experience flying complex aircraft or using advanced avionics prior to this course. While he took an instrument ground school class a few years ago and passed his written exam, he never began instrument flight training.

When Mike was offered the opportunity to be the student for our Instrument Rating Accelerator course, he jumped at the chance. Plus, having legendary CFII and DPE Doug Stewart conduct his checkride was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (even if a little intimidating).

The Instructor

Ryan Koch
CFII, PilotWorkshops Course Designer/Producer

Ryan is an active flight instructor specializing in instrument flight, and is a flight simulator expert. He currently instructs out of Wausau, WI and has previous experience doing remote flight instruction via simulators. He teaches ground schools, runs ATC communications courses for both IFR and VFR pilots, developed curriculum for a variety of IFR proficiency programs, and helped create a simulator-centered high school aviation program.

Ryan is part of the course development team at PilotWorkshops. He was the driving force behind the development of several PilotWorkshops online courses, including IFR: The Missing Lessons and Advanced IFR. Ryan is also a contributing expert for the IFR Mastery series and is a regular participant in the Instructor’s Roundtable. 

The Examiner

Doug Stewart
CFII, DPE, National CFI of the Year

Doug Stewart was the “National Certificated Flight Instructor of the Year” in 2004. A Master Certified Flight Instructor, Gold Seal Instructor and Designated Pilot Examiner—he is based at the Columbia County Airport (1B1) in Hudson, NY.

Doug owns and operates his own flight school specializing in instrument training and has logged over 12,500 hours of dual instruction given, with over 5,700 hours of that being instrument instruction.

He offers fully immersive IFR training trips that give pilots an intense and thorough exposure to the real world of IFR flying. His long course (The East Coast IFR Experience) is a five-day trip up and down the East Coast that incorporates some of the most challenging approaches and varied flying conditions available anywhere in the country.

Why We Used Flight Simulators

All the instruction in this course was delivered using flight simulators and remote instruction. Using simulation for the lessons gave Ryan far more flexibility and control as an instructor. He could:

  • Set the training flights anywhere in the country, using either real-world or custom weather
  • Train in a solitary environment without ATC, or add the increased workload of realistic radio communication by using live ATC services provided by PilotEdge
  • Reconfigure a modern glass panel with steam gauges when it was beneficial
  • Pause to discuss what just happened, or to set up the next phase of a lesson
  • Secretly (and safely) trigger instrument and system failures that would play out far more realistically than using instrument covers in an airplane
  • Include solo IFR flights in the syllabus—an invaluable learning experience that’s just not possible in the real world

We captured every screen on video, selected the best footage, edited it together, and added on-screen callouts and notes so you won’t miss a single detail.

Course Overview

The syllabus for this course is organized into six stages, beginning with the fundamentals and ending with the checkride.

Before most of the lessons, Ryan assigned Mike homework. It consisted of relevant reading from FAA publications and other sources, a series of questions they’d discuss, and (for the later lessons) briefing the weather and creating a flight plan for the flight.

Stage 1: The Fundamentals

The course begins with the building blocks for IFR flight: skills like the instrument scan, navigation, and partial panel flying. A stage check with Bruce Williams, a CFII based in Seattle, ensures Mike is ready to start putting the blocks together.

Sample Video

Stage 2: Instrument Approaches & Departures

A pilot’s workload is typically highest at the beginning and end of an instrument flight, so Mike will need to be confident flying complex departure and approach procedures. In these lessons, he focuses on developing solid SOPs and procedural knowledge in a low stress environment in which he can pause the sim for discussion.

Stage 3: IFR Dual Cross-Countries

Dual cross-country flights let Mike see if the skills he’s acquired hold up under pressure. Complete flights from one airport to another—with live ATC and no pausing allowed—are a great introduction to the real world of being PIC in the IFR system.

Sample Video

Stage 4: Solo Cross-Country Flights

The power of simulation really shines as Mike plans and executes complete ramp-to-ramp IFR flights with live ATC—entirely on his own. Every one of his actions, and decisions, are captured on video for a detailed debrief with Ryan.

Sample Video

Stage 5: Checkride Prep

This series of realistic, high-workload flights give Mike a taste of what’s to come. With live ATC and the possibility of a failure or abnormality at any moment, he has his hands full—and that’s the point. A final stage check with Jeff Van West ensures he’s ready for his checkride.

Stage 6: The Checkride

Mike’s checkride evaluates whether he possesses the knowledge, skill, and ability to manage risks that the FAA would require for him to act as PIC flying under IFR. Because the checkride is flown on a simulator, and conducted remotely, the rating won’t be real even if he passes. But the lessons imparted by legendary CFII and DPE Doug Stewart are worth every moment.

Sample Video

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I access the Instrument Rating Accelerator videos?
A: Your training is available online via a secure, password-protected website. You can watch it on any computer, tablet or phone.

Q: Will my online access ever expire?
A: No. Once you register your login credentials, they will never expire. You will always have access to the program.

Q: Can I download the videos?
A: Yes, with your online access you have the option to download the videos in the program.

Q: Can I access the videos from more than one computer or device?
A: Yes – with your login info, you can access the site from any device as often as you want for personal use.

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Instrument Rating Accelerator

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