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Instrument Rating

In very simple terms, the instrument rating allows pilots to safely fly in and through clouds. This can be extremely helpful to being able to complete a flight safely and efficiently. Even if you don’t anticipate conducting flights in ‘bad weather’, the instrument rating is a wonderful tool for cross country flying within the airway system. Instrument Rated pilots are safer, more precise in their flying and adherence to procedures and statistically less likely to be involved in an aviation accident.

Requirements for an instrument rating:

  1. Hold at least a private pilot certificate.
  2. Be able to read, write, and converse fluently in English.
  3. Hold a current FAA medical certificate.
  4. Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course, Other excellent resources for your instrument training will include: the invaluable Jeppesen Instrument/Commercial Manual, the FAA’s Instrument Procedures Handbook and Instrument Flying Handbook
    Subjects include:
    1. FARs
    2. IFR-related items in the AIM
    3. ATC system and procedures
    4. IFR navigation
    5. Use of IFR charts
    6. Aviation weather
    7. Operating under IFR
    8. Recognition of critical weather
    9. Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)
    10. Crew Resource Management (CRM)
  5. Pass the FAA instrument rating knowledge test with a score of 70% or better.
  6. Accumulate flight experience (FAR 61.65):
    1. 50 hrs of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which at least 10 hrs must be in airplanes:
      1. The 50 hrs includes solo cross-country time as a student pilot, which is logged as pilot-in-command time.
      2. Each cross-country must have a landing at an airport that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 NM from the original departure point.
    2. A total of 40 hrs of actual or simulated instrument time in the areas of operation listed in 7. below, including:
      1. 15 hrs of instrument flight training from a CFII (CFII is an instructor who is authorized to give instrument instruction) in the aircraft category for which the instrument rating is sought.
      2.  at least 3 hrs from an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test within the 60 days preceding the test.
      3. Cross-country flight procedures that include at least one cross-country flight in an airplane that is performed under IFR and consists of:
        1. A distance of at least 250 NM along airways or ATC-directed routing
        2. An instrument approach at each airport
        3. Three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems
  7. Demonstrate flight proficiency (FAR 61.65). You must receive and log training, as well as obtain a logbook sign-off (endorsement) from your CFII on the following areas of operation:
    1. Preflight preparation
    2. Preflight procedures
    3. Air traffic control clearances and procedures
    4. Flight by reference to instruments
    5. Navigation systems
    6. Instrument approach procedures
    7. Emergency operations
    8. Post flight procedures
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