What is an instrument rating?

Okay, so I don’t how you all feel; but I find it hard to believe it’s already March and that Spring Break is less than a week away, which is good because I need a break from all these midterms and that means it’s almost my birthday (March 16th to be exact). Over the course of the semester, I’ve told you all and my friends that I’m currently working towards my instrument rating and the question my friends always seem to ask me is “what’s an instrument rating, and why is it so important?” so for this week’s post I will answer some of the questions about what exactly an instrument rating is and why it’s so important to have in your flying career.

What is an Instrument rating?

An instrument rating in the flying world is just basically saying that “you as pilot in command of an aircraft have properly demonstrated the safe and control ability to fly an airplane based on the sole use of instruments” in other words you can safely fly the plane when your outside visibility is taken away from you 99.9% of the time due to weather conditions (examples- rain, clouds, fog, thunderstorms, snowstorms).

What does my instrument rating allow me to do?

While receiving your private pilot’s, license is a huge first step in your flying career, you do have a few restrictions that may prevent you from flying into a few things; yet, your instrument rating allows you to take off those restrictions. So here is what your instrument rating allows you to do:

  1. Fly into class Alpha (A) airspace which begins at 18,000 mean sea level (MSL)
  2. File an IFR flight plan (aka ATC airspace)
  3. Fly in weather conditions less that VFR and clouds
  4. Fly in special VFR at night

So, as you can see your instrument rating is a key rating to have.

How do I obtain an instrument rating?

Before you can get your instrument rating, there are a few requirements you must meet to obtain your instrument rating. The first thing you will need to have is either your private pilot or commercial rating. Next, you will need to have at least 50 hours of cross country flying of being pilot in command as well as 40 hours of simulated or actual instrument conditions. Finally, you will need to have done six instrument approaches, 1 holding pattern, and tracked and intercepted courses within six calendar months; this also helps you to stay instrument current or meet the requirements.

Why is an instrument rating so important?

Ask any commercial airliner “what is the most important rating, besides your ATP?”(Airline Transport Pilots License) and they will most probably tell you that your instrument rating is by far the most important. If you are like me and you are one day wanting to work for the airliners or a corporate company, you absolutely must have an instrument rating to fly for these companies, because you will be flying to major cities and airport, as well as the fact that you will be doing Instrument approaches and arrivals (ILS appraoches, RNAV Approach, Texon 3 departure, ect.) out of and into these airports. You must also be able to do what ATC tells you to do because they are trying to get your aircraft into your destination, or have you on your way to your destination. As I stated earlier your instrument rating allows you to fly into class A airspace at 18,000 MSL and I’m sure you want to be flying where all the other jet liners are, so you can reach your destination ASAP. Not only is your instrument rating crucial for your future career as a pilot, but it also is beneficial to have during your training period. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my flight cancelled due to low hanging clouds, and most of the times these clouds are not producing any form of rain or snow. Yet, since I don’t have my instrument rating now, I’m not legal to fly in these clouds just yet. However, when I do get my instrument rating, I can legally fly into these clouds on cloudy and continue with my training rather than being grounded. So, believe me getting your instrument rating is important during your training days and future career as a pilot.

(Here’s a good example of a situation where you 100% need your instrument rating to land the airplane photo credits to Langley flying school)

Also here’s a video on youtube of why an instrument rating is so important

Well guys that’s it for this week’s blog, Also, make sure to check out https://blog.globalair.com/  for other great blogs and featured stories on other pilot stories as well as other reviews on aviation related articles. As always guys remember that “adventure is out there!”


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