Instrument Rating

Achieving an instrument rating is not only a fun pursuit but a worthwhile accomplishment. You will gain the increased skill and confidence that comes from the precise flying required for this rating. For those pursuing a career in aviation, the Instrument Rating, and the knowledge you will receive during training, is a must.


  • Hold at least a current private pilot certificate with an aircraft category and class rating that applies to the instrument rating sought.
  • Be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language.
  • Have received and logged ground training on the aeronautical knowledge areas that apply to the instrument rating sought.
  • 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time, 15 of which must be in an airplane with a certified flight instructor, instrument (CFII).
  • 50 hours of cross-country time as pilot in command. Note that cross country is considered a flight with at least a 50-mile leg and a landing. The local cross-country flights your primary instructor signed you off for do not count unless one leg was at least 50 miles. The long cross-country you did for your private certificate does count towards this 50-hour requirement.
  • A 250-mile, three-leg cross country in the ATC system under instrument flying rules (IFR). The three legs must end in 3 different types of instrument approaches, such as a VOR approach at airport A, an ILS at airport B, and an ILS back course at airport C.
  • 3 hours of practical test preparation within 60 days of your check ride.
  • Pass the written test.
  • Pass the practical test.

Privileges and Limitations
With an instrument rating, you will have the freedom to fly in more places and in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC).

As the title implies, an instrument rating permits you to fly “by instruments,” i.e., without visual references to the ground, horizon, and other landmarks. You will be able to fly through clouds, rain, fog, etc., all of which restrict visibility. This skill is particularly useful when you fly long distances. It is frequently difficult to travel such distances without encountering weather systems requiring instrument pilot skills.

  •  As an instrument-rated pilot, you are required to adhere to the operating and flight rules as outlined in FAR Part 91.167-193. These include:
  • Specific fuel requirements
  • IFR flight plan and ATC clearances
  • Takeoff and landing minimums
  • Altitude and communication requirements

Flying under instrument flying rules is often spoken of as being the most challenging and at the same time, the most rewarding flying a pilot will ever do.

If you have your Private Pilot’s License and are interested in earning your Instrument Rating, please fill out our student registration form.