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Instrument Rating - Airplane

An Instrument Rating (IR) is a pilot rating earned through intensive training focused on flying solely by reference to instruments. It is arguably one of the most valuable ratings you can add to your pilot certificate and is a fun and challenging discipline of flight training. A well-trained and proficient instrument pilot can fly an airplane from point A to point B without ever having to look out the window except for takeoff and landing; it is truly a remarkable skill.

For many new pilots, the training provided in the instrument rating is the first glimpse at how the National Airspace System, radar and air traffic control works. All-important concepts as you will now be qualified to fly in the same airspace that the turbine airplanes. For others, it is usually the first time they’ve been allowed to enter the clouds or fly on a dark and stormy night, known as flying in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) on an Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) flight plan.

Why Should You Get an IR?

  • The first is safety. 

    • Extra layer of safety just in case things do not go as planned during a flight.

    •  Not only will the pilot understand more about the weather and what to expect, if the situation really became dire and their only solution was to fly through the clouds, they could safely do so in an aircraft with IFR capabilities.

  • A pilot may also opt to get an instrument rating if they want to become a flight instructor.

  • Fly as a commercial airline pilot. While it is possible to earn a commercial certificate without obtaining an instrument rating, doing so limits the types of jobs and flying you can do with your commercial certificate.

Instrument Rating Requirements (FAA minimum)

  • Private Pilot Certificate 

  • 50 Hours of Cross-Country Flight Time as PIC

  • 40 Hours of Actual or Simulated Instrument Flight Time 

  • 250 Nautical Mile Dual IFR Cross Country Flight 

  • 15 Hours Flight Time with CFII

  • Hold an FAA Medical

  • Be Able to Read, Write and Converse Fluently in English

  • Written Exam

  • Checkride