A huge thank you to Kirk and Mike for this awesome week with IFR6. After taking a long time to get my pilots license, I decided to do an accelerated IFR course. I really did my research - I made a list of every accelerated course in the country, read their reviews and considered their cost. IFR6 ended up being the winner. Being able to escape the cold for the warmth in Charleston was an added bonus! Every day follows a similar pattern - you spend the morning in the simulator, shooting approaches, or doing other things like scan development or holds as needed. Then, for the afternoon you use the plane (I used their Skyhawk) and do the same things in the air. This method really works - you develop your skills quicker, and it's much more cost effective since you'll spend more time in the sim (which is included in the base IFR6 cost) rather than the plane. Kirk is a real asset for IFR6. IFR6 is the main CFI'ing he does, so he knows the program and the common pitfalls inside out. He also has a very gentle and encouraging teaching style that is a stark contrast to many CFI's! He's pretty much the perfect type of instructor for this course. The day of my checkride had actual IMC, and I had to file IFR in the system (usually the checkrides are done VFR, but with foggles). The wind was also gusting, making altitudes harder to hold, etc. However, I felt the program had prepared me very well, and the checkride went smoothly. It's crazy to think that a week before I wouldn't have felt comfortable or safe doing this, but here I felt totally in control, and I knew I would be fine to fly in real IMC and fit in the ATC system.
Truly as good as it gets. I did the IFR-6 program in September 2017. Mike runs a tight ship, and the instructors are a more-passionate and enthusiastic group than you would find at a puppy-mill flight school. This team is doing it because they love it. The team of instructors and management are humorous and personable more than most of the time, and yet deadly-serious when they need to be, just as you would expect. My IFR-6 instructor, Kirk, is in a class by himself among the CFIs and CFIIs I've flown with over 26 years when it comes to adapting to the learning style of his student. The entire team encourages you to ask as many questions as you can think up, and if you request them to challenge you in certain ways to suit your experience, style, knowledge gaps, or aircraft type, they are happy to oblige and don't consider it to be an "extra." The CRAFT team's mastery of their Redbird simulator is apparent and they will let you bang out patterns and approaches til your heart's content. It may be a little-known fact that the IFR-6 graduates are welcome to come back and practice in the Redbird whenever they like... an excellent perk.
Learning to fly an airplane solely by reference to instruments is almost like learning another language. Most would agree that the best way to learn a new language is by total immersion. Attempting to converse with the waiter in his native tongue once a week is not a very effective way to become fluent. Similarly, the once a week (or less often in most cases) that a student spends with his CFII is inefficient. I was looking for a better way to get this rating and found IFR6 through a google search. I was intrigued by the organization of the curriculum and, after a little more research and a call to Mike, I decided to take the plunge. I wanted to learn in my Bonanza but I live several states distant and the weather was not looking good for a VFR pilot to make it to Charleston. Not a problem as Mike came to Little Rock and we flew back together the next morning. The arrival at Charleston gave me a lot of confidence for the coming week as we had to shoot the ILS into 33 in moderate rain at night. We broke out around 400 feet and let me tell you, no approach lights ever looked better to me! Mike was a calm and reassuring presence in the right seat throughout. The next day I met Kirk Bray who proved to be a fantastic teacher. His calm demeanor and encouraging style was just what I needed. As advertised, we started each day in the sim which allowed me to become completely comfortable with my scan and my ability to control the airplane in turns, climbs and descents improved with each session. The afternoon was spent in the airplane. The time goes by fast and soon it was time for the checkride. I went into it with a nervous confidence but was assured by Kirk that I was ready and I was quickly put at ease by my DPE Wally Moran. The oral was a low stress conversation with another pilot (a very accomplished and knowledgeable one!) followed by the practical. It went well and I flew home 600 miles IFR the next morning. The very next day I made 2 short trips in IMC! The key to success is to come prepared and to come with confidence that you will be successful. Kirk and Mike have been doing this for a while and it is a program that works! Thanks Kirk and Mike!
I had read about the IFR6 program here on the COPA sight. I decided to give them a call and scheduled the training. It was a really good program. I started there last Saturday and left there 6 days later with my instrument rating. It was a good feeling filing and flying home 17K’ IFR. When I got back home, I had to shoot the GPS approach that has a DH of 480’ luckily as I was getting ready to hit the GA button, the runway magically appeared in front of me at 500’. If you have been putting this off or dragging it out give these guys a call.
Can't say enough about Kirk Bray, my CFII for the IFR6 course. "Above and beyond" are the right words, because while each day has a 9am start, the day is not over until everything on the syllabus *and* your own list of items in the same topic areas have all been achieved. This is a personal touch by the CFII on a flat rate. Need to jump back into the sim late in the day to see something one more time? No problem. You go home to do the homework each night tired but confident. My favorite part was how they spend all of Day 1 to learn about you, the student, your experience and learning style. This makes the remaining days go smoothly and you get maximum time to hammer away at the sim and real airplane. CRAFT has established a robust curriculum for the IFR6 program, which they consider valuable IP (I agree), but how they fine tune it to the particular student is the more impressive part. I was able to bring my own list of "soft spots" to work on, which the instructor added to his own list after watching me fly, and together we built a decent candidate for the "additional license to learn" that is the IFR ticket.
I would highly recommend IFR6 for anyone that wants to knock the training out in a short, focused time period. The repetition is the best way for me to learn and I was away from the distractions of my business & personal life. I would suggest taking your course as soon after passing the written as possible.
I went into IFR6 a little skeptical thinking I would not be ready for the checkride on day 6, but as soon as they get a hold of you and start cranking and polishing your skills within the first few minutes you feel your getting somewhere. Mike and Kirk really make you feel at comfort and ease until everything falls into place! I went in feeling like a pigeon and left feeling like an eagle. Definitely will not forget the fun I had that week and walking away with my instrument rating was a blessing.
One year after taking my written test and making very little progress on getting the practical training done for my IFR certificate I learned about the IFR6 program. While I had done some prep work prior to going to the IFR6 I was doubtful that I could actually get it done in just one week. I figured I would at least make some good progress towards my ticket and finish up after I got home. It turns out the IFR6 training was very efficient. The repetition in the RedBird each morning was very effective at building muscle memory in preparation for the afternoon flight in the airplane. On the afternoon of the sixth day I had my check ride. On the morning of the seventh day I was able to fly three hours of actual IMC safely on my way home with IFR ticket in hand. The program is very well structured and organized and the instructors are very professional.
The same winning process of learning in the sim and practicing in the plane that they use for the PPL worked exactly the same for the IFR. There is plenty of time to make mistakes and learn from them in the sim. When you get to the plane it feels like you have already "been there, done that". I received my IFR certificate on April 1 2017, no "fooling". Fantastic learning environment and people, well worth the investment and time... Many thanks to all involved in such a wonderful experience.
The IFR6 program was exceptionally professional and well run from start to finish. The syllabus is particularly well crafted to the material and timeline, and the simulator provides an incredible training experience that cannot be duplicated. Highly recommended to anyone considering accelerated or non-accelerated IFR training. Further, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the CRAFT crew to anyone contemplating any level of pilot certification or instruction