Instrument Rating

A good question to ask yourself before you start instrument training is, why do you want this rating? The answers can usually be grouped into three areas. One common answer is that it’s a good thing to have in your pocket just in case you need it. Next is that it’s just another important step to a career in aviation. The third reason is that you want to increase the productivity of your personal or business flying.

To earn an instrument rating you must pass the FAA knowledge written test and practical exam; hold a current private pilot or commercial certificate and a third-class medical certificate; complete a minimum of 35 hours of actual or simulated flight training instrument time (10 hours may be in a Personal Computer-based Aviation Training Device or PCATD) to include one IFR cross-country flight of at least 250 NM with an instrument approach at each airport and a total of three kinds of approaches.

Commercial Certificate

The Commercial Pilot’s Certificate is your gateway to a professional career in aviation. With a Commercial Pilot’s Certificate, you will be free to earn money as a pilot as well as undertake further training to add to your qualifications.

You’ll be able to pursue the job in aviation that you’ve always dreamed possible. Whether it’s working for the airlines, a charter company and a flying school or in agriculture, a Commercial Pilot’s Certificate will be essential.

To earn a commercial certificate you must be at least 18 years of age and able to read, speak, and understand the English Language; hold a private or instrument pilot certificate; pass an FAA written exam and practical exam, have at least 190 hours of pilot flight time that includes 55 hours of training to include 5 hours of instrument training, 10 hours of training in a complex airplane, 20 hours of cross-country training; have at least 65 hours of solo flight in a singe-engine airplane that includes at least 7 hours of night solo, 35 hours of day cross-country Pilot-in-Command (PIC) and 4 hours of night cross-country PIC.

Complex Endorsement

A complex airplane is defined by 14 CFR 61.31(e) as an airplane that has the following:

  • Retractable landing gear
  • Flaps
  • Controllable pitch propeller

Prior to August 1997, a separate requirement to operate as pilot in command in a “complex” airplane didn’t exist under part 61 and was considered to be part of the high-performance criteria. Today, a separate endorsement is required for each operating privilege.

There are no minimum number of flight hours required to obtain a complex endorsement, although you will be required to receive and log ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a complex airplane, or in a flight simulator or flight training device that is representative of a complex airplane, and have been found proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane.

High Performance Endorsement

The FAA defines a high-performance airplane as an airplane with AN ENGINE of MORE THAN 200 horsepower. Notice the emphasis on the engine, not the airplane, and the fact that the engine must exceed 200 hp, not just meet it. This means that aircraft having an engine of only 200 hp do not qualify under this definition.

In order to join the ranks of qualified pilots flying Bonanzas, 182s, Piper 6s, and other high-performance airplanes, you will need to receive and log ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a high-performance airplane, or in a flight simulator or flight training device that is representative of a high-performance airplane, and have been proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane.