After getting your Private Pilot License, the next step is getting Pilot Instrument Rating. On this phase, you’ll discover that it’s much nicer flying above those clouds where the air is calm, and the visibility is endless. It will all starts feeling like being a true professional pilot.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an Instrument Rating?
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.
Why Should I Get My Instrument Rating?
There are several reasons why a pilot might want to earn an instrument rating on their pilot certificate, including:
- The first is safety. Even if a pilot never intends to fly in the clouds or conditions outside of visual flight rules (VFR), the instrument rating provides an 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, but they could also 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.
What Does IFR Mean?
IFR stands for Instrument Flight Rules and without an instrument rating, pilots may not operate under IFR. Instrument Flight Rules essentially means:
- You can file an instrument flight (evaluate weather conditions)
- You can efficiently move through areas of differing airspace
- You do not have to adhere to any specific weather requirements
For pilots that fly longer distances, this is a great tool, as it generally results in a significantly more efficient flight while likely receiving assistance from air traffic control along the way as an additional set of eyes on the air traffic and weather around you. Even if a pilot never intends to fly in actual Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), flying on an instrument flight plan will generally shorten flight times and increase safety.
How Long Does It Take to Earn an Instrument Rating?
The timeframe for a full-time student pilot with no experience to earn their Private Pilot Certificate is two months. Adding on an Instrument Rating will take an additional seven weeks.
20 Hours of Flight Time
Most of your training will be in the actual aircraft: our Piper Cherokee PA-28. Learn how fun and exciting flying through the cloudy skies can be with our highly trained pilots. Once your instructor says you are ready, you will be able to begin preparing for your instrument rating Checkride.
20 Hours of Flight Simulator
FAA Approved Aviation Training Device. Based on the popular Cessna 172, our One-G Foundation simulators are model specific FAA Approved Aviation Training Device that are designated as platform for integrated instruction for all pilots, from student through commercial.
30 Hours on The Ground
You will be learning alongside a small group of individuals who share a common goal. Your academy group will work together in a classroom environment for aviation concept learning and practice teaching on the ground and in the simulator.
15 Hours of Online Videos
Like all classes, there is some homework to reinforce your learning and help teach you fundamental concepts that are critical to becoming a successful pilot. We partner with Sporty’s to integrate the Online Training For our Private Pilot students.
- Read, speak, write, and understand the English language
- Hold at least a current private pilot certificate, or apply for a private pilot certificate along with their instrument rating
- Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or accomplish a home study course for the aeronautical knowledge required for the rating
- Receive an endorsement from an authorized instructor to take, and pass, the instrument rating knowledge test
- Receive and log the required flight training
To exercise the privileges of a private pilot license with an instrument rating, you must hold a third-class medical certificate, which can be obtained through an aeromedical examiner (AME). This should be done early on in training as you will not be able to solo an airplane without your medical certificate. Certificates must also be renewed periodically. If you are under the age of 40, this is every 60 months. While if you are over the age of 40, you must renew your medical certificate every 24 months.
The instrument rating requirements are summarized here:
- At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command. At least 10 of these hours must be in airplanes for an instrument-airplane rating.
- A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time on the areas of operation is listed in 61.65(c).
- At least 15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in the aircraft category for the instrument rating sought.
For instrument-airplane rating, instrument training on cross-country flight procedures includes at least one cross-country flight in an airplane that is performed under instrument flight rules. This flight must consist of:
- A distance of at least 250 nm along airways or ATC-directed routing.
- An instrument approach at each airport.
- 3 different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems (Example: ILS, VOR, GPS, etc).
- At least 3 hours of instrument training that is appropriate to the instrument rating sought from an authorized instructor in preparation for the Checkride within two calendar months before the examination date.
Reference 14 CFR §61.65 for the entire list of eligibility requirements.
Cost of Training
Click to see our current rates and pricing for the Instrument Rating programs
Start with an Introductory Flight
Get your first experience of taking off, flying, and landing an airplane with a certified flight instructor by your side. Later, meet the team and current students to ask all the questions you have about becoming a pilot.
Start with a Zoom Consultation
Our Zoom consultations are the most convenient way of answering all your questions about starting your flight training to becoming a pilot. Zoom consultations are free of charge, but we require advance scheduling.