An instrument rating is an advanced type of aviation certification enabling pilots to fly rather than be grounded even during cloudy weather and other weather conditions that cause low visibility. The Instrument Flight Rules Rating (IFR) training requirements include 30 hours of pre and post flight ground school, 40 hours of instrument flight training, 50 hours of PIC Cross-Country, and the successful completion of an instrument written exam. It is an excellent addition to a private pilot’s certificate, which by itself leaves the pilot limited to flying only during Visual Flight Rules (VFR) conditions. Aside from the obvious, though, there are many additional advantages that come with an instrument rating. Here are seven good reasons why an instrument rating ultimately makes for a better pilot:
1) Better Planning Pre-Flight
It’s typically true that a pilot with an instrument rating will be better at pre-flight planning than a pilot without an instrument rating. The training prepares pilots for alternates, deviations, hazards, fuel stops, and more.
2) Heightened Pilot’s Intuition
Pilots with an instrument rating also tend to be more forward-thinking, as opposed to less skilled pilots who are always in the present moment. Being a couple steps ahead, with split-second reaction times, is always a good thing in the sky.
3) IMC Flight Preparation
Flying inadvertently into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) can be tricky, but with an instrument rating pilots are better prepared for the unexpected limitations to their visibility due to unpredictable weather and clouds.
4) Improved Accuracy
Pilots with an instrument rating are known to possess an improved level of accuracy because IFR training gives pilots an opportunity to learn more precise flying techniques in terms of power changes, pitch, heading, altitude, and airspeed.
5) More Instrument Knowledge
Completing IFR training provides pilots with a more in-depth knowledge of the instruments and other technology in their aircraft as well, which makes them a superior pilot in a variety of circumstances.
6) Weather Predictions Become 2nd Nature
Pilots tend to improve their ability to notice and predict weather conditions once they’ve gotten an instrument rating. The required training includes a heavy focus on the ins and outs of weather reporting and weather theory, as well as exercises to build specific skills such as recognizing frontal passages, ice, thunderstorms, and more.
7) You’ll be a Traffic Pro
And finally, once you have finished your IFR training, you will also improve your ability to find nearby traffic with a high level of accuracy and understanding of the leading pilot reporting terminology.
If you’re ready to get an instrument rating in addition to your private pilot’s license, there is no time like the present. Coast Flight offers an Instrument Flight Rules Rating Program that prepares private pilots for clouds and other bad weather in an accelerated format. Pilots build their confidence in a complex and busy airspace and are only certified when they have reached an airline-standard of skill for flying in little (or no) visibility. After getting an instrument rating, pilots are also qualified to begin a commercial pilot’s certification program.