What is an Instrument Pilot Rating?

by Josh on September 20, 2010

Life doesn’t end with the private pilot checkride. In fact, after attaining your private pilot certificate, you are in a for a lot more. One of these is the instrument pilot rating, which would require you to learn more about instrument flying. Having an instrument pilot rating will also open up many other opportunities for you.

Why Get an Instrument Pilot Rating?

As a private pilot, most of the times you will be flying in VFR or visual flight rules. You would probably be doing most of your flying by day, and that’s where VFR is very much useful. In some cases, however, you would find that you would have to navigate without visual cues from outside the aircraft. That could be confusing, that is why one needs to have an instrument pilot rating attached to his private pilot certificate.

So, basically with an instrument pilot rating, you would have the capabilities and the certification that would allow you to fly using only your instruments. This can really come in handy especially when you find yourself in situations where visibility is suddenly and quickly dropping to zero. Using your navigational instruments and other similar tools would certainly be life-saving; having instrument flying skills will make you one of the safest pilots on Earth.

In addition, every FAA private pilot that plans to upgrade to a commercial license in the future should also make it a point to learn to fly using instruments only and with minimal visuals. If you’re planning to become a teacher, getting this rating can also qualify you for becoming a CFII or certifiled flight instructor-instruments.

How to Get an Instrument Pilot Rating?

Instrument flying is one of the basic things that you definitely learn during your private pilot training, but to attain a private pilot certificate with an instrument rating, you would have to take a separate test administered by the FAA. This test consists of two parts: the FAA knowledge test and – you guessed it!—an instrument private pilot checkride. You would have to get at least 70% of the questions answered correctly as well as ace the checkride in order to be awarded the rating.

To prepare and to qualify for the instrument pilot test, you would have to take at least 15 hours of training from a CFII. In addition, 60 days before the flight, you would have to take at least 3 hours of training. Your CFII will provide you with the necessary documents and paperwork that will certify your preparedness to take the knowledge test and the checkride.

Private Pilot Blueprint

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