- FAA PPL
- Or foreign pilot certificate with validation
- Education: no requirements
- English: upper intermediate level
The Instrument Rating is the next step after obtaining a Private pilot certificate. It enables a pilot to fly in any type of weather condition and at any altitude. Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) allow properly equipped aircraft to be flown under instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). We can offer the instrument course under both part 141 and part 61.
With a Private Pilot Certificate, a pilot is only limited to fly under visual flight rules, (VFR). This means a pilot can only navigate his aircraft through visual references outside the airplane during clear weather conditions. A private pilot must avoid clouds and any other dangerous weather events (fog, rain, low visibility, etc.). This is why the instrument rating is vital to have so in the event that these weather conditions arise, a pilot will be able to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.
The Instrument Rating is the most challenging course in the entire pilot training curriculum. The performance of flight is now determined solely on an aircraft’s instruments as opposed to visual references outside. Pilots must mentally prepare themselves during a flight to trust their instrument panels to avoid special disorientation. This occurs when pilots may feel like they are flying upside down when actually the aircraft is flying straight and level.
This course needs special attention to detail as it is based solely on the safety of the pilots and passengers when it comes to flying in poor weather conditions.
The course, which is FAA approved, consists of three stages. Each stage includes the required ground and flight training, followed by a stage check administered by the chief pilot or senior instructor. Classes are taught in accordance with the standard Jeppesen training program. An Instrument Rating (IR) is arguably one of the most valuable ratings you can add to your pilot certificate and is a fun and challenging discipline of flight training. For pilots that fly longer distances, this is a great tool, as it generally results in a significantly more efficient flight while likely receiving assistance from air traffic control along the way as an additional set of eyes on the air traffic and weather around you.
The first stage is dedicated to instrument flying skills training. Students study the principles of instrument flight, instrument navigation, and instrument engine failures. During this stage, students will also be educated on the advanced use of the VOR, GPS, and ADF.
The second stage of the course is solely concentrated on instrument approach procedures. Students study these using equipment such as ILS, VOR, GPS, NDB, LOC, and others. Students will also learn how to perform holding patterns, approach maneuvers, missed approach procedures, and approaches with partial panel. Partial panel is when one or more of an aircraft’s instruments have failed during flight.
The final stage of the instrument course is dedicated to cross-country flight and navigation. Students will become proficient with IFR flight planning and clearances. During these training flights, students will be utilizing the necessary instruments such as the VOR, GPS, and NDB. They will also practice in flight emergencies such as communication failure, avionics failure, and other emergency procedures.
The Checkride is broken down into two phases: the theoretical (Oral) and practical (Flight) exams. During the oral exam, the examiner will ask the student various types of questions pertaining to knowledge and theory of the Instrument Rating Course. The average time it takes to complete the oral exam is approximately two hours. Once the oral exam is successfully completed, the student and the examiner will partake in the practical exam, also known as the flight test. Here, the student must demonstrate the ability to execute successful instrument flight maneuvers, instrument navigation, and instrument approaches. These items must also be done successfully under partial panel conditions in the event of real-life avionics failure.
Once the flight is concluded and successful, the student will receive his Instrument Rating, which will allow the student to exercise his Private Pilot Certificate in adverse weather conditions.