Often considered the rating due to the additional safety margin it provides while flying, an instrument rating not only makes you a better pilot, but can also reduce insurance premiums.
Chris’ real world instrument background (routinely flying in “the soup” for a UPS feeder) provides a depth of knowledge not always found in instrument instructors. When you learn the art and science of flying by the numbers, you learn more than radials, rules and regulations; you also learn to enjoy a respectful and rewarding relationship with mother nature.
Instrument rating refers to the qualifications that a pilot must have in order to fly under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). It requires additional training and instruction beyond what is required for a Private Pilot certificate or Commercial Pilot certificate, including rules and procedures specific to instrument flying, additional instruction in meteorology, and more intensive training in flight solely by reference to instruments. Testing consists of a written exam and a practical test (known more commonly as the check ride). The check ride is divided into an oral component to verify that the applicant understands the theory of instrument flying and an actual flight to ensure the pilot possesses the practical skills required for safe IFR flight.
For most private pilots, the most significant value of flying under IFR is the ability to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (such as inside clouds). Additionally, all flights operating in Class A airspace, defined in the US as the airspace from 18,000 MSL up to FL 600 (roughly 60,000 feet), must be conducted under IFR. In the United States, an instrument rating is required when operating under Special visual flight rules (SVFR) at night.
Requirements for Instrument Rating in the United States are listed in section 61.65 of the Federal Aviation Regulation are:
- 50 hours of Pilot in Command cross country
- 40 hours of simulated or actual instrument time
- 15 hours of flight instruction towards Instrument Rating