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6 IFR Procedures Most Instrument Pilots Rarely Fly

Let's face it, there's a lot of IFR procedures we don't use in our everyday flying. If you're an instrument rated pilot and fly IFR all the time, how many times have you flown these procedures in the past 12 months?

1) Missed Approach Procedures

I'm not just talking about briefing a missed approach procedure. When was the last time you actually flew an entire missed approach procedure? If you're practicing with a friend, tell them to call for one missed approach at a random point during your practice session.

2) "Green Needle" Holding

While many holding patterns are established off VORs, we usually use GPS overlays for holding procedures. Try flying a raw-data "green needle" hold using nothing but your NAV Radio/HSI and DME.


3) Procedure Turns

A procedure turn is a course reversal to help you line yourself up on the final approach course of an instrument approach. These procedure turns are flown in the direction indicated by the graphically depicted barbed arrow.

Headings are provided for course reversals using the 45-degree type procedure turn, but you do have more options, including the teardrop procedure turn, and the 80 degree/260 degree course reversal. Here's how to understand the maximum distance for procedure turns.

4) Filing IFR Flight Plans (Airline Pilots)

If you're an airline pilot, when was the last time you filed your own IFR flight plan? Do you remember all of the filing verbiage and how to plan out your own routing/alternates?

5) VOR Approaches

Most pilots fly ILS/LOC or RNAV GPS approaches. When was the last time you flew a VOR approach using nothing but green needles and no GPS overlay?

6) Partial-Panel Procedures

There's nothing like flying a partial-panel approach to minimums to get your blood pressure up! Practice with a friend or CFI to keep your skills sharp.

Should you fly an arc or procedure turn while partial-panel?


How many of these have you flown in the past 12 months? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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