Instrument Rating Course

Learn the skills needed to fly challenging weather

What Is An Instrument Rating?

An Instrument Rating (IR) is a rating that most pilots get after their private pilot certificate. Having an instrument rating allows you to safely operate aircraft under conditions of reduced visibility and adverse weather. With an instrument rating, a pilot gains the ability to fly and navigate using the aircraft's instruments alone without external visual references. This level of expertise represents a significant milestone in a pilot's career, demonstrating their capacity to handle complex and challenging situations with precision and confidence.

Obtaining an Instrument Rating not only expands a pilot's capabilities but also broadens their horizons in the world of aviation. It opens up opportunities to fly in a wider range of weather conditions when visual flight is not feasible. This rating is particularly valuable for those pursuing careers in commercial aviation, as it is a requirement for airline transport pilots. The rigorous training and testing involved in earning an instrument rating contributes significantly to a pilot's overall proficiency and aeronautical decision making abilities, making them safer and more capable pilots.

An Instrument Rating is not just about adding another credential to a pilot's resume. But rather, it represents a mastery of the precision flying and a commitment to safety. Having an instrument rating allows pilots to handle challenging scenarios and navigate the skies safely, when weather is less than ideal.

Step 1: Start Flight Training

Sun City's Cessna 172 flying in the clouds

Starting your Instrument Rating journey is an exciting step in your pilot training. At Sun City Aviation Academy, we'll pair you up with a certified flight instructor instrument (CFII) who specializes in instrument flight training. During this phase of your training, you'll need to accumulate a minimum of 50 hours of cross country flight time as the pilot in command (PIC), including 40 hours of dedicated instrument training. Throughout your Instrument Rating training, you'll focus on developing the skill of flying solely by reference to instruments. This includes guided practice in navigating various instrument approaches and holding patterns.

Our comprehensive training program is designed to build your confidence and skills, allowing you to operate an aircraft safely and effectively in diverse weather conditions and airspace. With the guidance of our experienced CFII instructors, you'll be well prepared to excel in your instrument rating exams and become a proficient instrument rated pilot.

Step 2: Pass the Written Exam

Sun City Aviation Academy students studying

This exam covers a wide range of topics crucial for safe and knowledgeable instrument flying. As you embark on your journey, you'll dive into detailed subjects such as aviation regulations, flight procedures, and meteorology, gaining an understanding of aircraft systems, navigation, and how to interpret weather information. These comprehensive lessons will equip you with the knowledge needed to fly confidently and safely, even in challenging conditions governed by IFR (instrument flight rules) weather.

The knowledge test will also look at your understanding of aircraft performance, aerodynamics, and airspace. As you delve into these topics, our experienced instructors will provide guidance and support, ensuring you grasp each concept thoroughly. At Sun City Aviation Academy, we are dedicated to helping you excel in the written exam, providing you with the solid foundation required to become a skilled and safe pilot.

Step 3: Complete the Long Cross Country

Picture taken above the beach during a cross country flight

A major step in your aviation journey is completing what is commonly known as the long instrument cross country flight. It's a significant milestone where you'll complete a cross country covering a minimum of 250 nautical miles along airways or ATC directed routes. During this flight, you'll be immersed in the practical application of your instrument training, putting your skills to the test in a dynamic and ever changing environment. This experience equips you with invaluable capabilities, allowing you to confidently navigate under IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions, where you'll encounter a myriad of weather and navigation challenges.

From navigating through complex airspace to briefing approach charts and procedures, this flight will solidify your proficiency in real world instrument navigation, emphasizing your ability to make sound decisions and adapt to a wide range of in flight scenarios. Successfully completing this significant flight not only marks a pivotal point in your training but also underscores your dedication and readiness to become a skilled and competent pilot.

Step 4: Pass the Checkride

Sun City Instrument Student passing his instrument checkride

Sun City Instrument Student passing his instrument checkride

The checkride represents the culmination of your extensive training and dedication, serving as a comprehensive evaluation of both your theoretical knowledge and practical instrument flying skills. During this rigorous examination, you'll need to successfully navigate two distinct components: the oral portion and the flight test, both of which are designed to thoroughly assess your proficiency. In the oral exam, you'll be tasked with demonstrating your profound understanding of aviation regulations, procedures, and decision making processes. This section serves as a platform to showcase your comprehensive knowledge and the ability to apply it in real-world scenarios.

Following the oral portion, the flight portion of the exam is next. You'll be required to conduct instrument maneuvers, complete different types of instrument approaches, and communicate effectively throughout the evaluation. Once you pass and complete the flight exam, you'll emerge as a highly capable and confident instrument rated pilot, well prepared to fly in instrument conditions with confidence and proficiency.

Ready To Become A Instrument Rated Pilot?

At Sun City Aviation Academy, we are dedicated to training you into a capable, adaptable, proficient, and safe pilot.

Still looking for more information on pilot training?

Get Your FREE Pilot Training Guide Book!

We have a free booklet which explains everything you need to know for your pilot certificate.

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What's Next?


Let's meet and see how we can help you achieve your aviation goals. Learn more about what it takes to become a pilot. Click the big red button to schedule a time to speak with one of our team members.

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