Learning IFR - Plane Recommendation

Hey y’all. I’m really ready to start learning IFR flying. I’ve read two very large books on weather flying and IFR, I’ve been learning VFR since the sim came out, navigtation, charts, etc. I’d like to learn IFR in a payware quality plane that will punish me for my mistakes.

I currently have Just Flights Arrow III (love it), which seems too small, slow and low to really learn IFR. I also have the CRJ, which seems way to big of a step up, there’s a heckofa lotta switches and turny things in there! Finally I’ve got a few Carrenado’s which I don’t love.

I’ve been taking a break from flying, thinking that when the Twin Otter comes out, it would be a perfect “step up” from the piper arrow III, which I love the quality, just want to go a little faster and get in some weather. It’s taking forever for the Twin Otter to come out though. I’ve considered the CJ4 from working title, even read another giant book on turbine engine planes. I want to get there, I think it’s just too much to learn all at once. I’d rather take a more natural progression.

So what I’m wondering is…would Just Flight’s turbo arrow be a good starter plane for flying in some IFR conditions and learning, or is waiting for something like the Twin Otter a good idea? I’m disabled, and need to stop spending all my money on Flight Sim stuff, no, really, which is why I was just waiting for the Otter. But I do get a discount on the turbo arrow…and I’ll have a little extra money tomorrow! :slight_smile:

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Most planes in MSFS are IFR capable. Even the lowly little C152 is. In fact, since it has no GPS or autopilot, it’s one that will really teach you all the ins and outs of IFR since nothing is automated. You can really get to learn all the processes hands-on, including learning how to manually fly your plane.

But that said, if you want some automation, any plane with a GNS 530 or G1000 will work. There’s no size requirement for IFR. Start with low level IFR in a small plane. What you learn there you can then apply to larger planes that hit flight levels like the TBM, CJ4, CRJ, etc.


Personally, I’d start with the C152 or C172, either G1000 or classic. It’s not about speed. Learning IFR is all about procedures, and the slower that things happen for you the better off you will be. Even just adding the retractable landing gear of the Arrow is another thing you have to manage.

I started flying again last year, and even though I sim all the time, actual flying is very different as you can’t skip things and be safe. It took a few hours of practice to get back into the swing of managing the cockpit and the speed with which things happen during important moments. Adding in communication with ATC REALLY makes things happen fast for a beginner and it’s really important to manage that appropriately. And that was just VFR flying in a Piper Warrior. So one thing about practicing in sim is making sure you don’t skip a single step just because you can. Flying is all about managing multiple tasks and not missing anything.

One thing I would definitely do is get involved with BVATC or Pilot Edge



Joe pretty much nailed it. I’ve done a little IFR in real life and actually took me a long while to get comfortable using the G1000. Steam gauges and VOR navigation is a great way to learn. Actually easier than mucking about with technology while trying to handle the added workload of IFR. I suggest the 152 so you can learn a proper instrument scan and hand fly in the soup. I do not believe ANY new IFR pilot should even have access to autopilot until they can safely complete a to b entirely by hand. AP just introduces complacency and bad habits.


Adding one more recommendation of the analog C172 if you have that edition, otherwise the C152, you’ll develop better habits and it will make IFR in the glass cockpits and jets a lot easier to transition into.


Thanks all for the quick replies! I noticed a couple themes…one, autopilot is bad for someone trying to learn. Luckily I hardly ever use it. I’ve also flown almost exclusively on steam gauges because people said it would be better to learn.

As for the VOR navigation, I’ve gotten pretty good with it. For all of my VFR visual checkpoints in self-made flight plans, I x-ref 1 or 2 VORs for practice and am pretty comfortable with VOR to VOR as well. I can find my position by trianguation also. I started in the 152, then moved up to the 172, then almost excursively the piper arrow all with just steam gauges. Maybe I “should” learn IFR by going back to the 152, but what if I’m a little excited to move up the “plane classes” to a little something more complex? Does that change your answers?

Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

Oh…and I’ve got Pilot2ATC for learning the ATC side of things, I’ve been learning that a little bit as well.

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I can’t imagine learning to fly IFR approaches in a jet. I agree a 172 is a great choice but if you want more speed, a Mooney Ovation might work for you.

Start with the 152. Slower is better when you are learning. Once you have reasonable proficiency, step up. I would parallel that IFR with a familiarization of VFR light twin. IRL, single engine IFR is doable but the added stability and reliability of a light twin makes IFR safer and more enjoyable. An engine failure while in zero vis is much less likely to kill you when you have a backup.

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■■■■ you all! I guess it’s back to the 152/172. I was trying to talk myself into a new plane. :smiley: Again, much appreciated.


Glad to be of assistance to both you and your wallet. :stuck_out_tongue:


Once you get comfortable with the basics it will be pretty easy to quickly apply those to more complex planes.

I’ll pile on here too…stick with the 152/172, preferably steam gauges to start. After flying the airplane, IFR is all about knowing and understanding the procedures and then anticipating and preparing for your next move. The faster and more complicated the airplane, the harder that is to do. Once you master the basics, its much easier to move up to a more sophisticated airplane.

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