Radek Wyrzykowski, who founded IMC Club, has launched the Pilot Proficiency Network (PPN), which, like IMC Club, is designed to help pilots improve IFR flying proficiency. With PPN, however, Wyrzykowski is opening local chapter meetings to any pilot, not just those with instrument ratings. IMC Club became part of the Experimental Aircraft Association in 2015.
The goal is to promote “organized hangar flying focused on building flying knowledge and skills,” according to PPN. Members will meet monthly and discuss real-life scenarios, including decision-making based on actual weather scenarios generated by the ClimaDrive weather simulator.
Wyrzykowski wants to encourage all kinds of pilots who could benefit from interacting with each other to join PPN. While regular membership with free access to ClimaDrive costs $49 per year, anyone can join and pay what they can afford, from $1 on up. “I want everybody to be able to participate,” he said, which is why he came up with the “make your own” membership level.
When he founded IMC Club, he said, “the original focus was primarily IFR-rated and experienced pilots. [With PPN] we want this program not only to have IFR pilots exchanging ideas but also non-IFR pilots exposed to IFR-rated pilots. We want people to encourage [fellow pilots] to get their IFR rating and use some elements of instrument flying if they don’t have their rating. Even if you can’t fly in [instrument meteorological conditions], it can help you. If you do have knowledge and find yourself in IMC, I strongly believe it would help get you out of there.”
The monthly PPN meetings will follow a format of discussing IFR flying scenarios, based on ClimaDrive historical weather. Participants will review a ClimaDrive-generated scenario, including a full preflight weather briefing, then make a group go/no-go decision about the proposed trip. The ClimaDrive system captures the real-world dynamic weather situation, instead of just a static set of weather conditions, to make this decision-making more realistic.
If the group decides it’s a no-go, then ClimaDrive will generate a second weather scenario that is achievable, so the presentation will proceed based on being able to depart. But then a situation will develop, such as a weather front, thunderstorm, icing, etc., and the group will have to decide how to deal with the varying conditions. “This is more realistic,” Wyrzykowski said.
Those who are interested in further study can run the same scenarios on their home desktop computer, integrated with ClimaDrive. Members will also need a subscription to HiFi Simulation’s ActiveSky program to run ClimaDrive on their desktop. ClimaDrive runs on Microsoft FSX and Lockheed Martin Prepar3D simulator software, but the company is planning to release an X-Plane version shortly.
As of mid-April, six PPN chapters had been formed, paying the one-time fee of $150 to launch a chapter. Membership dues are paid via the PPN website.