Everything You Need to Know About Instrument Rating

Everything You Need to Know About Instrument Rating

airlink Articles

An instrument rating is an advanced pilot certification that allows pilots to fly in a broader range of weather conditions, especially when visibility is poor or when flying through clouds. It is a crucial step for pilots who wish to become more skilled and versatile aviators. Although the specifics of obtaining an instrument rating may vary slightly depending on your country’s aviation authority and regulations, it remains an imperative step for pilots who want to expand their career opportunities. 

Whether you are a seasoned pilot or a student, instrument rating training can offer many benefits. It opens up opportunities for more advanced and challenging flying jobs, such as flying for airlines or conducting corporate and charter flights. If you are curious and want to learn more, here’s everything you need to know about instrument rating:


  • To pursue an instrument rating, you must already hold a private pilot certificate or a commercial pilot certificate.
  • You must be at least 17 years old.
  • You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand English fluently.

Training Requirements

  • Fulfill the minimum flight hour requirements set by your aviation authority (e.g., the FAA in the United States typically requires a minimum of 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot-in-command, among others).
  • Receive training from a certified flight instructor (CFI) with an instrument instructor (CFII) rating.
  • Complete ground school training, which covers topics like weather theory, regulations, navigation procedures, instrument interpretation, and emergency procedures.

Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) vs. Visual Flight Rules (VFR)

  • The instrument rating focuses on flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), which means flying solely by reference to instruments and without relying on external visual references.
  • Visual Flight Rules (VFR) are used for flying in good weather conditions, where pilots navigate primarily by visual cues outside the aircraft.

Training Content

  • Instrument rating training involves both flight and simulator training. You will learn to operate and interpret flight instruments, fly under various instrument conditions (e.g., controlled flight into terrain scenarios), and perform instrument approaches (e.g., ILS, VOR, RNAV, etc.).
  • Training includes mastering procedures for holds, departures, arrivals, and approaches. Simulator training allows for practicing emergency scenarios and procedures in a safe environment.
  • You will learn how to interpret and use various flight instruments, radio navigation aids (VOR, ADF, GPS, etc.), and advanced cockpit technology like GPS navigation and autopilot systems.

Flight Simulator Training

  • Flight simulator training is an essential part of instrument rating instruction. Simulators allow pilots to practice instrument procedures and emergency scenarios in a safe, controlled environment.

Written Exam

  • Before taking the practical flight test, you must pass a written exam that assesses your knowledge of instrument flying procedures, regulations, weather, and other relevant topics.

Practical Flight Test

  • The practical flight test, also known as the checkride, is conducted by an FAA-designated examiner or an examiner authorized by the relevant aviation authority.
  • During the checkride, you will demonstrate your ability to fly solely by reference to instruments and execute various procedures and approaches.

Currency and Proficiency

  • Once you obtain your instrument rating, you must maintain currency by flying a certain number of instrument approaches and holding procedures within specific timeframes.
  • Regular practice and continuing education are crucial for staying proficient.

Turn Your Dreams Into Reality with Airlink Flight School

As you can see, with an instrument rating, you can operate flights in a wider range of weather conditions, making you a more reliable and versatile pilot. If you are looking for the best school to start your aviation career or want to get instrument rating certified, Airlink Flight School offers the best platform for pilot students. We have various planes and simulators, and one of the best faculty to learn the necessary skills to become a successful pilot. Call or email us today to learn more about training programs!