Permission to Fly in the Clouds
Pilot Training Programs: The Instrument Rating

Why Get This Rating?

Studies show that pilots who undergo pilot training programs for instrument ratings fly safer. The skills acquired with this rating allow pilots to safely fly through clouds without outside visual references. Pilots also learn how to make approaches and landings in unideal weather conditions. Imagine a thick of clouds obstructing your view of the land below. You need to use GPS and other cockpit instrumentation to guide you through those clouds, break out, and find the runway directly in front of you.

The Instrument rating does more than give you permission to fly in turbulent weather. Among our pilot training programs, these skills teach pilots what weather conditions are ideal for Instrument flight and which conditions to avoid. You’ll learn how to scan cockpit instrumentation and use that information to safely travel through the skies.

Commercial pilot training programs require the Instrument Rating for an unrestricted license, but that’s not the only benefit to this training. Instrument-rated pilots have a wealth of additional tools at their disposal. Their decision-making skills are enhanced after exposure to new scenarios and weather conditions. The instrument rating will allow you to fly in weather conditions such as fog, rain (which reduces visibility), snow, and clouds.

To Obtain an Instrument Rating, You Must:

  • Be a Private Pilot
  • Meet flight experience requirements
  • Meet flight training programs’ requirements
  • Pass a written knowledge exam
  • Pass a practical (flight and oral) exam

The Training Program

Learn quickly and effectively with our time-tested, curriculum-based program. Ground and flight school are interwoven with simulators, books, and videos to maximize learning into our seamless pilot training programs. All training is delivered in a one-on-one basis. Your experienced ADF Flight Instructor will guide you through each stage with patience and a smile. Classes can be arranged to fit your busy schedule. We are available for training 7 days a week, 363 days a year (closed Christmas and New Year’s Day).

Stage 1 – Basic IFR Flight

In this stage, you learn the basics of using cockpit instrumentation while in flight by training in a simulator and an aircraft. When training in the aircraft, you won’t be able to look outside, allowing you to focus on the cockpit instrumentation in front of you. By wearing either an approved hood to limit outside vision or special glasses called “foggles,” you’ll simulate the visibility conditions of being inside clouds. This stage will teach you how flight instruments work, why they’re important, and how to safely perform basic flight maneuvers without looking outside.

Stage 2 – IFR Approaches

Instrument flying involves more than maneuvering through air. You have to learn to safely descend from clouds, practice set up for approaches and landings, and execute waiting maneuvers called holds—essential if you want to successfully fly in the Instrument Flight System. In addition to these skills, you will also learn how to use VORs, ADFs, and GPS equipment. Upon completing this stage, you will be able to safely bring an airplane on an approach to land down to 200 feet without looking outside in visibilities of up to a half mile.

Stage 3 – IFR Cross-Country and Practical Exam Preparation

In stage three, you compile all you’ve learned in the previous stages and apply them in the real-world ATC system. While flying cross countries, you will plan, depart, navigate, and make approaches down to minimum visibility conditions. You will also prepare for the practical test, which will be conducted upon the completion of stage three.

Once you pass the practical test, you will be issued an Instrument rating on your certificate, making you free to fly into the clouds.

All pilot training programs are based on the FAA Practical Test Standard (PTS). Our goal is to ensure the pilot applicant meets or exceeds PTS expectations. If you would like to learn more about the Instrument Rating PTS, click here.

Where Do I Go From Here?

A Private Pilot License with an Instrument rating is ideal for flying in a wide range of conditions on a personal basis. However, if you want to fly in corporate aviation, emergency services, travel and tourism, flight instruction, agriculture, banner towing, or another aviation field, the next logical step at an aviation flight school will be Commercial Pilot Flight Training.

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