What is an Instrument Rating?

Earning your Instrument Rating is the next logical step after earning your Private Pilot License. Flying with an Instrument Rating (IR) expands the flight territory in which a pilot can safely operate. You will learn how to safely fly in inclement weather and be licensed to do so. This is unlike the PPL, which operates under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). The IR certification is supplementary to the Private Pilot or Commercial licenses. It qualifies the pilot to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Having this capability affords new opportunities personally and professionally. You must meet certain prerequisites to pursue your IR.
Instrument Rating Course Requirements
To be eligible to apply for your Instrument Rating Course, you must:
⦁ Be at least 17 years old.
⦁ Hold at least a current private pilot certificate.
⦁ Read, speak, write, and understand English.

Instrument Rating Course Overview

The Instrument Pilot Course is designed to teach pilots to operate aircraft in low-visibility environments, such as heavy cloud cover or heavy rain. The flight lessons in this course provide pilots with the knowledge to rely solely on instruments to navigate the aircraft in situations where they cannot rely on visual instincts.

As many pilots can attest, weather conditions do not always permit the sole reliance on visual flying tactics. This restricts the ability to fly on certain days. The Instrument Rating is essential for any pilot looking to improve flight safety. It is also the next step in the pursuit of a career in flying. Pilots without the rating are prevented from operating aircraft in certain weather conditions where visibility is greatly reduced. Therefore, this limits their maximum allowable altitude, restricts the ability to operate the aircraft at night, and more.

Holding an Instrument Rating also allows pilots the ability to operate under an IFR flight plan, which provides Air Traffic Control services not available to VFR pilots except upon special request. These include traffic advisories, airspace transitions, and vectors. When operating in high-volume airspace, these privileges are a significant advantage.

Instrument Rating Requirements

In addition to meeting standard eligibility requirements, you must pass the course, exam, and checkride. Your course syllabus covers specific content, including aeronautical knowledge and flight proficiency.
Aeronautical Knowledge:
MCAA rules relevant to IFR operations
⦁ IFR flight operations covered in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
⦁ ATC systems and procedures for IFR
⦁ Navigation and approaches using nav systems for IFR
⦁ IFR en route and instrument approach charts
⦁ Weather reports and forecasts
⦁ Efficient and safe flight operations under IFR
⦁ Critical weather conditions and windshear avoidance
⦁ Sound aeronautical decision-making
⦁ Crew resource management (CRM)
Flight Proficiency:
⦁ Preflight preparation and procedures
⦁ ATC clearances and procedures
⦁ Flight by reference to instruments
⦁ Navigation systems
⦁ Instrument approach procedures
⦁ Emergency flight operations
⦁ Post-flight procedures