FAA Requirements

§61.65   Instrument rating requirements.

A person who applies for an instrument rating must:

  • Hold at least a current private pilot certificate, or be concurrently applying for a private pilot certificate, with an airplane appropriate to the instrument rating sought;
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. 
  • Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or accomplish a home-study course of training on the aeronautical knowledge areas of paragraph (b) of this section that apply to the instrument rating sought;
  • Receive a logbook or training record endorsement from an authorized instructor certifying that the person is prepared to take the required knowledge test;
  • Receive and log training on the areas of operation of paragraph (c) of this section from an authorized instructor in an aircraft, full flight simulator, or flight training device that represents an airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift appropriate to the instrument rating sought;
  • Receive a logbook or training record endorsement from an authorized instructor certifying that the person is prepared to take the required practical test;
  • Pass the required knowledge test on the aeronautical knowledge areas of paragraph (b) of this section; however, an applicant is not required to take another knowledge test when that person already holds an instrument rating; and
  • Pass the required practical test on the areas of operation in paragraph (c) of this section in—
  • An airplane appropriate to the rating sought

Aeronautical Knowledge.  A person who applies for an instrument rating must have received and logged ground training from an authorized instructor or accomplished a home-study course on the following aeronautical knowledge areas that apply to the instrument rating sought:

  • Federal Aviation Regulations of this chapter that apply to flight operations under IFR;
  • Appropriate information that applies to flight operations under IFR in the “Aeronautical Information Manual;”
  • Air traffic control system and procedures for instrument flight operations;
  • IFR navigation and approaches by use of navigation systems;
  • Use of IFR en route and instrument approach procedure charts;
  • Procurement and use of aviation weather reports and forecasts and the elements of forecasting weather trends based on that information and personal observation of weather conditions;
  • Safe and efficient operation of aircraft under instrument flight rules and conditions;
  • Recognition of critical weather situations and windshear avoidance;
  • Aeronautical decision making and judgment; and
  • Crew resource management, including crew communication and coordination.

Flight proficiency. A person who applies for an instrument rating must receive and log training from an authorized instructor in an aircraft, or in a full flight simulator or flight training device, in accordance with paragraph (g) of this section, that includes the following areas of operation:

  • Preflight preparation;
  • Preflight procedures;
  • Air traffic control clearances and procedures;
  • Flight by reference to instruments;
  • Navigation systems;
  • Instrument approach procedures;
  • Emergency operations; and
  • Postflight procedures.

Aeronautical experience for the instrument-airplane rating. A person who applies for an instrument-airplane rating must have logged:

  • 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which 10 hours must have been in an airplane; and
  • Forty hours of actual or simulated instrument time in the areas of operation listed in paragraph (c) of this section, of which 15 hours must have been received from an authorized instructor who holds an instrument-airplane rating, and the instrument time includes:
  • Three hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in an airplane that is appropriate to the instrument-airplane rating within 2 calendar months before the date of the practical test; and
  • Instrument flight training on cross country flight procedures, including one cross country flight in an airplane with an authorized instructor, that is performed under instrument flight rules, when a flight plan has been filed with an air traffic control facility, and that involves—
    • A flight of 250 nautical miles along airways or by directed routing from an air traffic control facility;
    • An instrument approach at each airport; and
    • Three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems.

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