Only flying the required forty hours is not adequate to get an instrument rating. The FAA requires more from a private pilot acquiring instrument rating.
Not knowing the requirements and jumping into a decision to get an instrument rating can be disappointing for private pilots.
I precisely described what it takes to become a competent IFR pilot, FAA instrument rating requirements, and more.
Do you know learning to fly in adverse weather conditions and forecasting are a crucial part of instrument flying?
No one talks about it! There are several other essentials no one talks about, similar to weather flying.
Hence, I discussed more aspects of instrument flying in this article than FAA’s flight hours requirements.
I spoke about the requirements in five different categories:
- The hour requirements;
- Study material requirements;
- Tips and techniques understanding;
- Practice in a home simulator;
- Effort & dedication.
Let us begin with the fundamental requirements to apply for an instrument rating.
What is the flight hour requirement by FAA?
According to FAA Part 61 regulation, a pilot must fly at least 40 hours in an instrument-rated aircraft to apply for an instrument rating.
However, there’s more to that.
Merely flying forty hours will not make you eligible for instrument rating.
- A pilot must have a current private pilot license before applying for an instrument rating;
- A private pilot must receive at least 15 hours of instrument rating instruction from a CFII;
- Apart from instrument instruction, a pilot must have logged at least 50 hours of cross country time as PIC.
- An instrument rating trainee must fly one cross country flight at least 250 nautical miles along airways and air traffic directed routes.
- Practice three different kinds of approaches using the navigation systems.
That’s all the FAA expects a pilot to have before applying for an instrument rating.
A pilot also must take the instrument written test. To pass the FAA instrument rating written test, you need preparation.
What are the required study materials for instrument rating?
To ace your instrument rating written test, you need to study adequately.
Merely flying the instrument hours is not sufficient to give all the knowledge to answer the questions.
Though the test is straightforward, it will test your Instrument flying knowledge relying on aircraft instruments.
Similarly, there will be questions around aviation weather.
One of the most critical aspects of safe flying is understanding the weather.
When you fly VFR, you remain out of the weather. However, flying IFR means you will often fly into the weather.
Hence, it is crucial to forecast and understand how weather can affect safe flying.
The FAA wants pilots to become very good in weather flying.
Every private pilot must get their hands on this practical book:
This book will prepare for all kinds of weather practically. It is an old book but a must-read for any pilot taking instrument rating.
I believe it is a requirement to study this book before getting your instrument rating. This book saved the time and life of many pilots in the past.
Likewise, it is imperative to study for instrument rating continuously. To obtain an instrument rating, you need to ace your instrument rating written, oral exam, and practical exam to become a better and safer instrument pilot.
Getting lost in an IFR flight and adverse weather can be fatal for both pilots and passengers.
There are tons of materials and resources online for Free. Take time and study and read more books like Jeppesen.
A smart pilot needs to keep learning.
Reading more books will make you knowledgeable, but you need tips and applicable techniques to perform better in flights.
So what do you need to become better in IFR flight?
What are the techniques required for better action in instrument flight?
You studied a lot and aced your instrument rating written test, but you can’t remember a thing in actual flight. To forget what you learned in ground school is typical of many IFR trainee pilots.
At the very least, you are not quick enough to multi-task, and you often find yourself lost in instrument flight.
That’s the reason why you might fail in your check-ride.
I know you are knowledgeable, but instrument rating requires pilots to act quicker than in VFR flight.
Sometimes, knowing little instrument flying techniques combined with your knowledge can be powerful in an instrument flight.
That way, you can awe you chek-pilot in actual flight.
To get your instrument rating, you must eliminate all chances of mistakes.
Flying ATC directed airways is very comfortable.
However, the instrument student mostly get lost during approach and communicating with the air traffic control tower.
Wonder how do airline pilots remember all these?
Well, airline pilots enough practice already to operate safe IFR flights. If you intend to work in airlines someday, it is essential to grasp techniques, and you need a short course that emphasizes on necessary materials. Reasoning, you may not have the time to practice before you go for your first interview.
Therefore take a short course by Rod Machado that only talks about Instrument rating departure and approaches. It will help a lot.
Home simulator practice.
Like I mentioned, airliner pilots have hundreds of hours of practice in flying instruments. They are used to with the techniques of instrument approaches and departures and communicating at the same time.
But what about you? Do you think you can be like them with insignificant 40 hours of instrument flying and 15 hours of instruction from a CFII?
I know many of us cannot afford to fly IFR-rated aircraft frequently for practice.
Gladly, we are in the 21st century, and we have simulator games.
You can set-up a home simulator and practice as much as you want without losing a fortune.
Practice, practice, and practice! Though it will not feel like flying, you may think it is a waste of time.
But honestly, if you practice approaches and the departure procedures many times, you will see a striking improvement in your actual instrument flying.
Effort and dedication.
I believe the last requirement to get an instrument rating is the dedication of a private pilot to join a club of advanced flyers.
For many, the aeronautical knowledge is overwhelming.
When you study for an instrument rating, you will find subjects get more involved about specifics. Instrument rating teaches and trains each subject in-depth than private pilot ground lessons.
Without dedication, you are not going to put effort into your studies.
If you are an adventurous person and crave an adventurous flying experience, then an instrument rating is for you.
The instrument rating’s final requirement is to put effort and time to ace your IFR written test and instrument flying. Therefore, with an instrument rating, you will open your doors to newer destinations.