The instrument rating requirements, as specified in 14 CFR 61.65, are summarized here:

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.
    • ​​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).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Must pass the FAA Instrument Rating written exam
  • Must pass the Instrument Rating Oral and Practical Exam

This series of 12 articles from AOPA Pilot magazine addresses instrument flying issues and challenges.

Secrets for Staying AliceWeather on the Fly
Too Quiet in the CockpitPartial-Panel Emergencies
Tricks of the TradePrecise but Flexible Flying
Nonprecision ApproachesPrecision Approaches
Missed ApproachesAdvance Planning
Is Currency Any Easier?Balancing the Juggling Act

Obtaining an instrument rating is the biggest step you can take towards becoming a safer, more knowledgable, and more professional pilot. Instrument training will teach you precise control of the aircraft by reference only to instruments. You will also learn the full intricacies of airspace and regulations. With an instrument rating you can feel free to take that trip you’ve been considering, without the worry of being delayed due to weather or low ceilings. As an instrument pilot you will gain valuable and advanced knowledge and skills that will make your flying safer, more convenient, and more versatile.


Instrument Rating Training Requirements 

  • Must hold at least a private pilot license in the category and class of aircraft for which the rating is sought
  • Must have 50 hours of cross country flight time as pilot in command
  • Must have 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument flight time of which 15 hours must have been received from an authorized instrument instructor
  • Must conduct at least a 250nm cross country flight with 3 instrument approaches 
  • 3 hours of checkride preparation with an instructor
  • Must pass the FAA Instrument Rating written exam
  • Must pass the Instrument Rating Oral and Practical Exam

Cape Fear Aviation Flight Training 
Home of Friendly Flying


  • Be 17 years old.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or acquire TSA Clearance
  • Read, speak, and understand English.
  • Hold at least a third-class medical certificate 

Gray's Creek Airport  -  7154 Butler Nursery Rd. -  Fayetteville NC 28306   |   (910) 223-0567 office    (910) 759-7530 text   |