A person who applies for an instrument rating must:


  • Hold at least a current private pilot certificate or be concurrently  applying for a private pilot certificate with an airplane, helicopter,  or powered-lift rating appropriate to the instrument rating sought. 
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language. 

You must have logged the following:

  • At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command.  At least 10 of these hours must be in airplanes for an  instrument-airplane rating. 
  • A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time on the areas of operation listed in 61.65(c)
  • At least 15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized  instructor in the aircraft category for the instrument rating sought. 

For instrument-airplane rating, instrument training on cross-country  flight procedures that includes at least one cross-country flight in an  airplane that is performed under instrument flight rules. This flight  must consist of:

  • A distance of at least 250 nm along airways or ATC-directed routing. 
  • An instrument approach at each airport. 
  • Three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems (Example: ILS, VOR, GPS, etc). 
  • At least 3 hours of instrument training that is appropriate to the  instrument rating sought from an authorized instructor in preparation  for the checkride within two calendar months before the examination  date.