Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5 I-ratings

A. Basic GPS and autopilot flying

Although I'll hand-fly the plane as much as possible, it's safe to know how to use the GPS and the autopilot in cases when I really need them.

Winds calm

First time tinkering with the GNS530. What an amazing navigational aid. I'll always remain a /A kinda guy though ;-)


First long-haul flight with the GNS and autopilot, partly IMC with moderate crosswinds. Lesson: Don't get lazy. :p 

B. VOR and NDB radial flying

Flying departures and arrivals requires excellent radial flying. Although I'm already familiar with flying VOR radials, flying VOR radials on a back course and flying NDB radials are new.

Winds calm

Practiced with NDB "radial" flying. Needed some attempts, but I got the idea quite quickly. Next up: crosswind radial flying.


Radial flying with a significant crosswind in cruise was challenging, but very educational :-) Took some time getting-used-to. I love this old school kinda of navigation.

C. DME arcs

Some procedures require pilots to fly a DME arc to safely enter the airport area. I like to practice flying arcs by hand, in isolation, first.

Winds calm

Very educational flight. Learned about DME arcs, also VOR localizer back tracking and tried my first ILS approach into BFL!


Flown on a DME arc with a significant crosswind. Not too difficult. Scenic flight, also :-) Enjoy!

D. Obstacle Departure Procedures

My first try at flying complete departure procedures. I start with omnidirectional obstacles departures and learn about obstacle departures, next.

Winds calm

My first ever RNAV obstacle departure. Refreshed my memory of how to use the GPS properly. Good stuff.


Although I forgot to set a crosswind enroute, I had much fun flying a new obstacle departure. I also tried my first ever RNAV approach in IMC down to 30ft AGL! 

E. General Instrument Procedures

SIDs and STARs. Although not that relevant to C172s, flying instrument procedures is good preparation for flying instrument approaches. Bring it on.


First SID I flew ever! I included flying my first holding pattern, as part of the SID. Not that difficult to fly, really :-)


First STAR, ever! Not too different from the SID flight. Included practice flying a published holding patterns at an intersection.