Studies show that pilots with instrument ratings tend to fly safer. The skills acquired with this rating allow a pilot to safely fly in clouds without outside visual references. Pilots also learn to make approaches and landings in weather conditions that are not considered ideal. Imagine being above the clouds without being able to see land, using radio or GPS equipment to guide you down through those clouds, then breaking out and seeing the runway right in front of you. The instrument rating does more than give you permission to fly in bad weather. It teaches you what weather conditions are good for Instrument flight and what conditions should be avoided. You learn how to scan cockpit instrumentation use the information to safely travel through the skies.

The Instrument Rating is a requirement for an unrestricted Commercial Pilot License, but that is not the only reason to get this training. Instrument rated pilots have a wealth of additional tools at their disposal and their decision making skills are enhanced by being exposed to new scenarios and weather conditions.

The instrument rating will allow you fly in weather conditions such as fog, rain which reduces visibility, snow, and clouds.


In order to obtain an instrument rating, you must

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

The Training Program

Instruction is based on a time tested, curriculum-based program which will allow you to learn quickly and effectively. Ground and flight school are interwoven with simulators, books, and videos into a seamless training program that maximizes learning. All training is delivered in a one-on-one setting. 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 to train 7 days a week, 363 days a year (Christmas and New Years day are the only days we are closed)

The Program consists of 3 stages


In this stage you will learn the basics of instrument flying. You will be training in a flight training device (simulator) and in an aircraft. When training in the aircraft, you will not be able to look outside. This allows you to focus on the aircraft instruments in order to safely fly the aircraft. You will be wearing either an approved hood which limits outside vision or special glasses called “foggles”, which essentially do the same thing – simulating being inside of clouds. The purpose of this stage is to teach you how the flight instruments work, why it is important to understand them, and how to safely perform basic maneuvers with the airplane without looking outside. Completing stage 1 means you have mastered the basics of instrument flight.


There’s more to Instrument flying than just moving around in the air. You have to learn how to safely get down from above the clouds, practice setting up the airplane for approaches and landings, and execute waiting maneuvers called holds, which are essential if you are to successfully fly in the Instrument Flight System. You will learn how to use VORs, ADFs, and GPS equipment to conduct approaches and holds. Once this stage is complete you will be able to safely bring an airplane on an approach to landing down to 200 feet without looking outside and in visibilities of up to ½ mile.


In stage 3 you take everything you learned in stages 1 and 2 and apply it in the real world ATC system. You go out and fly cross countries, planning, departing, navigating, and making approaches down to minimum visibility conditions. In addition, you will be preparing for the practical test, which will be conducted once stage 3 is complete.

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

All training is based on the FAA Practical Test Standard (PTS). Our goal is to get the pilot applicant to meet or exceed PTS expectations. If you would like to know more about the Instrument Rating PTS, please click on the link below.

Instrument Rating PTS (PDF File)

Where do I go from here?

A Private License with an Instrument Rating is ideal for those who want to fly in wide range of conditions for personal reasons. However, if you are looking to fly for hire in corporate aviation, emergency services, travel and tourism, flight instruction, agriculture, banner towing, or any other aviation fields, the next logical step in your aviation training will be a Commercial Pilot license.