Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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Instrument Rating General Information

Navigation:   General Info Instrument Rating | Instrument Rating Lesson Plans | 7-day IFR Rating IFR Adventure | Instrument Ground School | Safety Pilot | Holding | IFR Risk | Trip Reports | Flight Profiles | Rating Requirements | After the IFR Rating | Checkride Reviewer | Visi-Hold | Are you ready?
Climbing left turn
For most people, the next step after your Private Pilot Certificate is the Instrument Rating.  Earning an instrument rating is not only an increase in responsibility, but a growth opportunity for pilots to work in the same system as the big guys.  You can get your instrument rating in 7 days with the 7-day IFR Rating or finish up in 3 days with the  IFR Adventure.

Why get an instrument rating? 
The addition of the instrument rating opens up a whole new world of flying.  When you operate under IFR (Instrument flight rules) you can fly in the clouds without reference ground or horizon.  This new freedom offers you the variety to anywhere, anytime, day or night, rain or shine (with some exceptions or course). Getting an instrument rating is proven to improve your skills, increase your safety, and build your confidence.

When can I start an Instrument rating?
You can start an instrument rating after you get a private pilot or commercial certificate. You need at least 50 hours of cross country PIC, preferrably earned after your Private certificate.  At the end of your instrument training, you will have had to logged at least 15 hours of instruction with a CFII, and logged a total of 40 hours, simulated or actual instrument time. 

What is the training like?
You will typically wear a view limiting device, which restricts your view outside so you maintain reference only to flight instruments. If possibly, try to fly in cloudy weather:  If you look up in the sky and the ceilings are low, call your CFII.  For specific tasks during your training, see the Instrument Rating Lesson Guides.  Students seeking a rating are required to prove US Citizenship and Flight Instructors must examine and keep a copy of a US Birth Certificate, US Passport, or Naturalization papers.   Citizens of other countries are required to register with the Transportation Security Administration prior to beginning training.

<>Can I do any of my training in a flight simulator?
Refer to Advisory Circular 61-126 for more info on the use of qualified/certified PCATD's:
- 10 hours toward Instrument rating flight instruction time under part 61, § 61.65(e)(2) with a CFII
- Recurrent training: performing instrument recency of experience requirements of § 61.57(c)(1) with a CFII
ILS Approach to Minimums
Do I need to use an instructor to build the 40 hours of simulated instrument time?
Once you become proficient with approaches procedures and basic maneuvers, you should work with a safety pilot.  A safety pilot will be your eyes while you're 'under the hood.'  While you are under the hood, you can log PIC as the sole manipulator of the controls.  The safety pilot can log PIC while you are under the hood but not during actual instrument conditions.  By splitting costs between two pilots, your instrument training becomes much less expensive.  While it is sometimes difficult to find a compatible safety pilot, it is a valuable experience.   Learn how to log safety pilot time.

Begin your Instrument Rating with the Instrument Pilot Ground School.  If you are interested in a career with the airlines, read Why You Should do Your Instrument Rating in a Twin.

Curious about the instrument checkride?  Get the Examiner's Notes with the Checkride Plan of Action and Practical Test Standards.

New Students
My Teaching Beliefs
Instruction Policies
Pledge to Flight Students
Instrument Ground School Syllabus
Instrument Pilot Requirements
Instrument Rating Lesson Guides
How to Get the Most From Your Ground School
Working together on an instrument rating
Information for Foreign Students
FAA Aviation Safety Program - additional aviation education opportunities
Information for Foreign Students
How to save money on your flight training

Instrument Pilot Resources

Visi-Hold - the easy way to figure out instrument holds
After the IFR Rating
Are you really ready for an Instrument Rating?
178 Seconds to Live - Spatial disorientation
IFR Risk Management
Logging Safety Pilot Time
Working together on an instrument rating
Clearance Shorthand
Instrument Approaches: Power Performance Model
IFR Lesson Plans - adapted from the Instrument Training Handbook
Bravo Pattern - beginning exercise for IFR students
Holding Patterns Simplified - How to do them 
VFR Weather Minimums (When you cancel IFR)
General Tips on Radio Communication

Single Pilot IFR - tips for managing the flight
Why You Should do Your Instrument Rating in a Twin
FAR Part 95, What does it mean to you?
IFR Cross Country Flight Planning Checklist
IFR Flight Planning Form (download)
How to Get the Instrument Flight Plan You Want
Basic IFR Skills in the Automation Age

Special Topics
Avoiding Icing
Simple Rules for Winter Flight
Ten Commandments for Overwater Flight
ATC's Top 9 Pet Peeves - Radio technique
AOPA Single-Pilot IFR Safety Advisor
AOPA Spatial Disorientation Safety Advisor
AOPA Weather Strategies Safety Advisor
AOPA Weather Tactics Safety Advisor
AOPA Aircraft Icing Safety Advisor

Checkride Resources
Instrument rating worksheet (download)
Airman Certificate/Rating Application, Form 8710 (download)
IFR Flight Planning Form

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