How useful is getting IFR rating after my PPL?
I have just started my PPL course at the Diamond Flyers in Lelystad, the Netherlands, but I already start to look at: what's next? The Diamond Flyers are developing a course on getting IFR ratings too, I personally think it's great to be able to fly by just looking at your instruments... not having to fly around any cloud, and even be able to fly when it's dark. OK, I know, there's also the "night VFR" which a quite easy to add to your PPL license, but that's not quite the same as an IFR rating! Now what have the experienced pilots to say about this? Does it make you a much safer pilot, as I expect? Or is it quite useless, to have an IFR rating as a "hobby pilot"? Please share ALL thoughts!
Timmo, you are thinking far ahead of your time at the PPL course. It was many flying hours after I finished all training and I was happy. But one day I got caught when my course headed me into a low bank of cloud. There were mountains below and I was scared. I managed to find a valley that helped me go low and eventually away from the cloud. Now, that was when I realised that IFR training would not be useless. If ever I encountered a cloud mass that worried me I could fly through it. Yes, hobby flying might seldom use IFR but it’s mighty handy when the unexpected pops up.
I would recommend you to get an IFR-rating, but not right after your skill test. In my opinion, you should gather some experience flying VFR, and thus making yourself comfortable with flying before you continue. It will most likely give you additional mental capacity to absorb all the extra knowledge required for the IFR-program, and will in turn make you a safer pilot.