Instrument Rating Resources

An instrument rating makes you a safer pilot as well as increases the opportunities to safely complete cross countries over a wider variety of weather.

An instrument rating is required in the following cirumstances:

  1. In IMC – 91.155
  2. On an IFR flight plan – 61.3
  3. Flight in Class A airspace – 91.135
  4. Under SVFR at night – 91.157
  5. Commercial operations at night 50 NM away – 61.133


Instrument Rating Overview

Here is a document covering the requirements, general checkpoints, and endorsements necessary for an Instrument Rating

For more information, consult the relevant parts of the FAR/AIM:

§ 61.65 Instrument Rating Requirements.

§ 61.57 Instrument Currency.

§ 61.51 Logging Instrument Time.

§ 91.103 Preflight Action.

§ 91.119 Minimum Safe Altitudes.

§ 91.167 Fuel Requirements for IFR.

§ 91.169 IFR Flight Plan: Information Required.

§ 91.171 VOR Check.

§ 91.173 ATC clearance and flight plan requirements

§ 91.175 Takeoff and landing under IFR

§ 91.177 Minimum altitudes for IFR operations

§ 91.179 IFR cruising altitude or flight levels

§ 91.181 Course to be flown

§ 91.183 IFR communications (mandatory Reports)

§ 91.185 Two-way radio communications failure

§ 91.187 Malfunction reports: Operation under IFR in controlled airspace

§ 91.205 Instrument and equipment requirements

§ 91.209 Aircraft Lights

§ 91.213 INOP Equipment

d-TPS digital-Terminal Procedure Supplement

INFO 15012 Logging instrument time

Written Exam

Before the checkride (the earlier the better, at least before cross country training is recommended) you must take a written exam through PSI that is $175:

  1. Instrument Rating Airplane (IRA, 60 questions, 2.5 hours allotted time)

Like Private Pilot, you need an endorsement for this exam. You can either obtain this after going through the required items with your instructor and keeping a ground log or completing an online course (e.g. King Schools).

I recommend using Sheppard Air. This is essentially a vehicle for rote memorization of the exam questions so you will NOT actually learn the material but be able to mindlessly answer the actual exam questions. As mentioned previously, the written is a relatively unimportant portion of flight training so this is a good tool for checking the box. You will need to learn the material another way.

Required Knowledge/Flight Areas


These are the lessons, resources, and documents I use with my students as supplements while I teach them. They are not meant to be a substitute for certified ground or flight training. Always consult with your flight instructor for clarification and before attempting any maneuver/approach.

GPS Approaches

ILS and Localizer Approaches

VOR, NDB, and Circling Approaches