Instrument Rating

An instrument rating allows you to fly in less than V.F.R conditions (visual flight rules), 1000 foot ceiling or less than 3 miles visibility.

The following are current FAA requirements for receiving an instrument rating:

  • Have at least a private pilot certificate.
  • Read, speak, write and understand English.
  • Hold at least a Third Class Medical Certificate.
  • Pass the FAA computer-based exam, which consists of multiple‑choice questions.
  • Pass a practical test (check-ride) with an FAA Inspector or Designated Examiner.

A person who applies for an instrument rating must receive and log the following:

  • At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command.
  • At least 10 hours of this time must be in airplanes, for an instrument airplane rating.
  • A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time; to include:
    • At least 15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in the aircraft category for which the instrument rating is sought;
    • At least 3 hours of instrument training to prepare for the practical test, from an authorized instructor, and within the 60 days preceding the date of the test. This training must be in the aircraft category for which the instrument rating is sought.
  • Instrument training on cross- country flight procedures specific to airplanes that includes at least one cross-country flight in an airplane that is performed under IFR, and consists of:
    • A distance of at least 250 nautical miles along airways or ATC-directed routing; An instrument approach at each airport; and three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems.

Click here for more on instrument rating regulations.

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