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Instrument Rating Requirements

Instrument RatingInstrument rating refers to the qualifications that a pilot must have in order to fly under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). It requires further training and instruction apart from what is required for a Private Pilot certificate or Commercial Pilot certificate, in conjunction with  rules and procedures specific to instrument flying, additional instruction in meteorology and more demanding training in flight by reference to instruments only.

Testing consists of a written exam and a practical test (known more commonly as the check ride). The check ride is divided into an oral component to certify that the applicant understands the theory of instrument flying and an actual flight to ensure the pilot possesses the practical skills required for safe IFR flight.

For most private pilots, the most significant value of flying under IFR is the ability to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (such as inside clouds). More so, all flights operating in Class A airspace, defined as all airspace above 18,000 feet, must be conducted under IFR. In the United States, an instrument rating is required when operating under Special visual flight rules (SVFR) at night.

REQUIREMENTS FOR THE INSTRUMENT RATING

  • Hold a private pilot certificate.
  • Take instrument ground school and pass a written test with a score of 70% or better. This test consists of 60 multiple-choice airplane related question, such as.
  • Airplane instruments
  • Airplane systems
  • Federal Aviation Regulations
  • Airports and airspace
  • Airplane performance
  • Aeromedical factors
  • Weather
  • Navigation
  • Instrument approaches
  • IFR en route

In addition, the following hours must be logged in:

  • 50 hours as pilot-in-command (P.I.C) time cross country, not counting the 10 hours from your private cross-countries.
  • 40 hours of simulated or actual instrument time (either under the hood or in the clouds) and not more than 20 hours in an instrument ground trainer.
  • 15 hours of instrument flight instruction by a certified flight instructor (CFII) with at least 5 hours in airplanes or helicopters.
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