Instrument Training

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.


  1. Hold at least a private pilot certificate.
  2. Be able to read, write, and converse fluently in English.
  3. Hold a current medical Certificate
  4. Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course.
    Subjects include:

    1. FARs
    2. IFR-related items in the AIM
    3. ATC system and procedures
    4. IFR navigation
    5. Use of IFR charts
    6. Aviation weather
    7. Operating under IFR
    8. Recognition of critical weather
    9. Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)
    10. Crew Resource Management (CRM)
  5. Pass the FAA instrument rating knowledge test with a score of 70% or better.
  6. Accumulate flight experience (FAR 61.65):
    1. 50 hr. of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which at least 10 hr. must be in airplanes:
      • The 50 hr. includes solo cross-country time as a student pilot, which is logged as pilot-in-command time.
      • Each cross-country must have a landing at an airport that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 NM from the original departure point.
    2. A total of 40 hr. of actual or simulated instrument time in the areas of operation listed in 7. below, including:
      1. 15 hr. of instrument flight training from a CFII (CFII is an instructor who is authorized to give instrument instruction) days preceding the practical test
      2. Cross-country flight procedures that include at least one cross-country flight in an airplane that is performed under IFR and consists of:
        • A distance of at least 250 NM along airways or ATC-directed routing
        • An instrument approach at each airport
        • Three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems
      3. If the instrument training was provided by a CFII, a maximum of 20hr. may be accomplished in an approved flight simulator or flight training device.
      4. Use our Instrument Pilot Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep book from your first flight lesson to your practical test. We outline and illustrate each flight maneuver you will perform during your flight training and explain the common errors associated with each flight maneuver.
  7. Demonstrate flight proficiency (FAR 61.65). You must receive and log training, as well as obtain a logbook sign-off (endorsement) from your CFII on the following areas of operation:
    1. Preflight preparation
    2. Preflight procedures
    3. Air traffic control clearances and procedures
    4. Flight by reference to instruments
    5. Navigation systems
    6. Instrument approach procedures
    7. Emergency operations
    8. Postflight procedures