ADVANCED PILOT TRAINING

5.1  THE INSTRUMENT RATING

An instrument rating is added to your private or commercial pilot certificate upon satisfactory completion of your training program, a pilot knowledge test, and a practical test. Your private or commercial pilot certificate will look the same, except it will have the words “Instrument Airplane” typed on the certificate under the ratings section.

As the title implies, an instrument rating permits you to fly “by instruments,” i.e., without visual references to the ground, horizon, and other landmarks. You will be able to fly through clouds, rain, fog, etc., all of which restrict visibility. This skill is particularly useful when you fly long distances, e.g., over 300-500 NM. It is frequently difficult to travel such distances without encountering weather systems requiring instrument pilot skills. Similarly, if you must make a flight at a specific time, it may be possible only under instrument flight rules (IFR) due to adverse weather conditions.

REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN AN INSTRUMENT RATING (PART 61)

  1. Hold at least a private pilot certificate.
  2. Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English.
  3. Hold at least a current third-class FAA medical certificate.
  4. Flight experience
    1. 50 hr. as pilot in command on cross-country flight (of which 10 hr. must be in airplanes) to airports more than 50 NM from the original departure point.
    2. 40 hr. of simulated or actual instrument time (of which up to 20 hr. can be in a flight simulator or flight training device; up to 10 hr. can be in an aviation training device).
    3. 15 hr. of instrument flight instruction in an airplane. This must be with a CFII (a CFI who has been certificated to instruct instrument flight).
  5. Appropriate ground instruction (such as studying the Gleim Instrument Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book, FAA Test Prep Online, and Online Ground School) to learn
    1. Federal regulations applicable to instrument pilots
    2. IFR navigation
    3. Aviation weather
    4. Safe and efficient flying skills applicable to IFR
    5. Aeronautical decision making and judgment
  6. A score of 70% or better on the pilot knowledge test. The test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions selected from approximately 900 airplane-related questions in the FAA instrument rating test bank. Sample FAA airplane questions are reproduced (with complete explanations to the right of each question) in the Instrument Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book. The questions test the following 11 topics:
    1. Airplane Instruments
    2. Attitude Instrument Flying and Aerodynamics
    3. Navigation Systems
    4. Federal Aviation Regulations
    5. Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Airspace
    6. Holding and Instrument Approaches
    7. Aeromedical Factors
    8. Aviation Weather
    9. Aviation Weather Services
    10. IFR En Route
    11. IFR Flights
  7. Flight instruction and development of the necessary skills to pass the instrument rating practical test. Your instrument instructor must provide a signed recommendation that you are competent as an instrument pilot.
  8. Successful completion of the FAA Instrument Rating Practical Test. The FAA requires the following 25 tasks to be tested.
    1. Preflight Preparation
      1. Pilot Qualifications
      2. Weather Information
      3. Cross-Country Flight Planning
    2. Preflight Procedures
      1. Aircraft Systems Related to IFR Operations
      2. Aircraft Flight Instruments and Navigation Equipment
      3. Instrument Cockpit Check
    3. Air Traffic Control Clearances and Procedures
      1. Air Traffic Control Clearances
      2. Compliance with Departure, En Route, and Arrival Procedures and Clearances
      3. Holding Procedures
    4. Flight by Reference to Instruments
      1. Straight-and-Level Flight
      2. Change of Airspeed
      3. Constant Airspeed Climbs and Descents
      4. Rate Climbs and Descents
      5. Timed Turns to Magnetic Compass Headings
      6. Steep Turns
      7. Recovery from Unusual Flight Attitudes
    5. Navigation Systems
      1. Intercepting and Tracking Navigational Systems and DME Arcs
    6. Instrument Approach Procedures
      1. Nonprecision Approach (NPA)
      2. Precision Approach (PA)
      3. Missed Approach
      4. Circling Approach
      5. Landing from a Straight-In or Circling Approach
    7. Emergency Operations
      1. Loss of Communications
      2. Approach with Loss of Primary Flight Instrument Indicators
    8. Postflight Procedures
      1. Checking Instruments and Equipment
 

COST OF YOUR INSTRUMENT RATING

Remember that you must have 50 hr. of cross-country time as pilot in command flying to airports more than 50 NM from the departure point. Rental rates for IFR-certified airplanes range from $50 to $180 per hour or more. Instrument instruction will cost about $40 to $60 per hour for your instructor (you are required to have 40 hr., but plan on at least 50 hr.). If you go to a typical FBO, you will probably spend $7,000 to $10,000 (not including your time building). As we recommended to prospective private pilots, you should discuss the cost with potential CFIIs. After you select a specific program, develop a budget with your CFII and review your progress periodically.

Once you have your private pilot certificate, it may be in your interest to purchase an IFR-equipped airplane or gain use of one through a flying club. For IFR certification, you need a full panel, which includes an attitude indicator, a heading indicator, a turn coordinator, and IFR-certified navigation equipment. As you are building cross-country hours toward your instrument rating, you should work on your instrument skills. It is more effective to proceed under the supervision of a CFII (flight instructor-instrument) than to try to do it entirely on your own.

  1. Ground trainers and Aviation Training Devices (ATDs). There are several IFR flight simulators and Flight Training Devices that have been marketed widely to colleges, FBOs, etc., as well as more-affordable ATDs. If you can gain access to one, use it under the supervision of a CFII who will sign off these hours in your logbook. Remember, up to 20 of the 40 hr. of required IFR experience and 10 of the 15 hr. of required instrument instruction may be in a flight simulator or a flight training device (only 10 of the required 40 hr. of instrument time may be obtained in an ATD).
  2. Safety pilots. Once you have your private pilot certificate you can practice your instrument skills by using a “hood” (a view-limiting device so you can see your instruments but not outside of the airplane). At all times when you fly under the hood, you must have a safety pilot next to you watching for traffic. A safety pilot is appropriately rated to fly your airplane and is required by the FARs to look primarily for other air traffic (a midair collision would ruin your day). A safety pilot also can take over the controls if you get the airplane into an unusual attitude, i.e., if it begins to get out of control.
 

STEPS TO TAKE

  1. Order the Gleim Deluxe Instrument Pilot Kit with Online Ground School.
  2. Take and pass the FAA pilot knowledge test (you need to answer 42 of the 60 FAA test questions correctly in order to pass). Use the Instrument Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book, FAA Test Prep Online, and Online Ground School.
    1. Read the Introduction carefully.
    2. For each of the 11 study units,
      1. Study the outline at the beginning of the study unit.
      2. Read each FAA sample test question carefully and select the best answer.
      3. Check your answer with the correct answer next to each question.
      4. Read and understand our explanation of the question.
  3. Study the Gleim Instrument Pilot Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep book. Understand each aspect of IFR flight before you practice it in an airplane.
  4. Pursue a flight instruction program with a CFII. When selecting a CFII, consider the suggestions on how to select a CFI (presented in Part 1.6, “Flight Training”). One additional question to ask is how much actual IFR experience the CFII has. Another question is whether (s)he uses a simulator as a regular training tool.
  5. Take and pass your practical test!
 

5.2  THE COMMERCIAL PILOT CERTIFICATE

A commercial pilot certificate is identical to your private pilot certificate except that it allows you to fly an airplane and carry passengers and/or cargo for compensation or hire. The certificate will be sent to you by the FAA upon satisfactory completion of your training program, a pilot knowledge test, and a practical test. Your commercial pilot certificate will be identical to your private pilot certificate, except it will indicate “commercial pilot” rather than “private pilot.”

If you obtain your commercial pilot certificate before you obtain your multi-engine rating, your multi-engine rating practical test will be based on the commercial practical test standards, giving you a commercial pilot multi-engine rating rather than a private pilot multi-engine rating.

REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN A COMMERCIAL PILOT CERTIFICATE

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English.
  3. Hold at least a current third-class FAA medical certificate.
  4. Hold an instrument rating. A commercial pilot is presumed to have an instrument rating. If not, his/her commercial pilot certificate will be endorsed with a prohibition against carrying passengers for hire on day VFR flights beyond 50 NM or at night.
  5. Receive and log ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in the following areas of operations for an airplane.
    1. Preflight preparation
    2. Preflight procedures
    3. Airport operations
    4. Takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds
    5. Performance maneuvers
    6. Ground reference maneuver
    7. Navigation
    8. Slow flight and stalls
    9. Emergency operations
    10. High-altitude operations
    11. Postflight procedures
  6. A score of 70% or better on the pilot knowledge test. The test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions selected from approximately 600 airplane-related questions in the FAA commercial pilot test bank. Sample FAA airplane questions are reproduced with complete explanations of each question in the Gleim Commercial Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book, FAA Test Prep Online, and Online Ground School. The questions test the following 11 topics:
    1. Airplanes and Aerodynamics
    2. Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Systems
    3. Airports, Air Traffic Control, and Airspace
    4. Federal Aviation Regulations
    5. Airplane Performance and Weight and Balance
    6. Aeromedical Factors and Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM)
    7. Aviation Weather
    8. Aviation Weather Services
    9. Navigation:  Charts, Publications, Flight Computers
    10. Navigation Systems
    11. Flight Operations
  7. Flight experience. A total of 250 hr. of pilot flight time is required (with no more than 50 hr. in a flight simulator or flight training device). This must include the following:
    1. 100 hr. in powered aircraft, of which 50 hr. must be in airplanes
    2. 100 hr. as pilot in command flight time, which includes at least
      1. 50 hr. in airplanes
      2. 50 hr. in cross-country flight, of which 10 hr. must be in airplanes
    3. 20 hr. of flight training that includes at least
      1. 10 hr. of instrument training, of which at least 5 hr. must be in an airplane (not needed if you already hold an instrument rating)
      2. 10 hr. of training in an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and controllable-pitch propeller, or is turbine-powered
      3. One cross-country flight of at least 2 hr. in an airplane in daytime conditions, consisting of a total straight-line distance of more than 100 NM from the original point of departure
      4. One cross-country flight of at least 2 hr. in an airplane in nighttime conditions, consisting of a straight-line distance of more than 100 NM from the original point of departure
      5. 3 hr. in an airplane in preparation for the practical test within the 2 calendar months preceding the test
    4. 10 hr. of solo flight in an airplane, which includes at least
      1. One cross-country flight of not less than 300 NM total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 NM from the original departure point
        1. In Hawaii, the longest segment need have only a straight-line distance of at least 150 NM.
      2. 5 hr. in night-VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower
  8. Successful completion of an FAA practical test that will be given as a final exam. The practical test will be conducted as specified in the FAA’s Practical Test Standards. The maneuvers tested are the same as the maneuvers tested on the private practical test except five additional proficiency flight maneuvers are required:  chandelles, eights on pylons, lazy eights, steep spirals, and a power-off precision landing. Two additional knowledge tasks are required:  supplemental oxygen and pressurization. Obtain and study the Gleim Commercial Pilot Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep book. It contains a reprint of tasks required on the commercial pilot practical test with a complete discussion and illustrations.
 

5.3  THE FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR CERTIFICATE

A flight instructor certificate allows you to give flight and ground training, i.e., to teach others to fly. An individual who wishes to have a career as a pilot typically earns the private, commercial, and flight instructor certificates (and an instrument rating). As a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI), you can work as a flight instructor and get paid, rather than pay, for additional flight experience. After obtaining your CFI certificate, the next major step is the airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate, which requires 1,500 hr. of flight time and a minimum age of 23.

REQUIREMENTS TO BECOME A CERTIFICATED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR (CFI)

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Be able to read, write, and understand English.
  3. Hold a commercial or ATP certificate.
    1. Hold an instrument rating if applying to be a flight instructor in an airplane.
  4. Hold at least a current third-class FAA medical certificate.
  5. A score of 70% or better on the FAA flight instructor knowledge test. The flight instructor test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions selected from the airplane-related questions in the FAA flight and ground instructor test bank. Sample FAA airplane questions are reproduced with complete explanations of each question in the Gleim Flight/Ground Instructor FAA Knowledge Test book, FAA Test Prep Online, and Online Ground School. The questions test the following topics:
    1. Airplanes and Aerodynamics
    2. Airplane Performance
    3. Airplane Instruments, Engines, and Systems
    4. Airports, Airspace, and ATC
    5. Weight and Balance
    6. Aviation Weather
    7. Federal Aviation Regulations
    8. Navigation
    9. Flight Maneuvers
    10. Aeromedical Factors
  6. A passing score on the FAA fundamentals of instructing knowledge test. It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions taken from approximately 200 questions. The Gleim Fundamentals of Instructing FAA Knowledge Test book, FAA Test Prep Online, and Online Ground School consist of a complete study program including questions similar to those that appear on the FAA knowledge test. The questions test the following topics:
    1. The Learning Process
    2. Barriers to Learning
    3. Human Behavior and Effective Communication
    4. Teaching Methods
    5. Planning Instructional Activity
    6. Critique and Evaluation
    NAFI (National Association of Flight Instructors)
    Founded in 1967, NAFI is dedicated exclusively to raising and maintaining the professional standing of the flight instructor in the aviation community.
    SAFE (Society of Aviation and Flight Educators)
    SAFE is a member-driven professional organization open to all aviation educators and provides members with mentoring, support, and professional accreditation.
  7. Required Flight Instruction
    1. You must receive and log flight and ground training and obtain a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor on the following areas of operations for an airplane category rating with a single-engine or multi-engine class rating.
      1. Fundamentals of instructing
      2. Technical support areas
      3. Preflight preparation
      4. Preflight lesson on a maneuver to be performed in flight
      5. Preflight procedures
      6. Airport operations
      7. Takeoffs, landings, and go-arounds
      8. Fundamentals of flight
      9. Performance maneuvers
      10. Ground reference maneuvers
      11. Slow flight, stalls, and spins
      12. Basic instrument maneuvers
      13. Emergency operations
      14. Postflight procedures
    2. The flight instruction must be given by a person who has held a flight instructor certificate during the 24 months immediately preceding the date the instruction is given and who has given at least 200 hr. of flight instruction as a CFI.
    3. You must also obtain a logbook endorsement by an appropriately certificated and rated flight instructor who has provided you with spin entry, spin, and spin recovery training in an airplane that is certificated for spins and has found you instructionally competent and proficient in those training areas, i.e., so you can teach spins.
  8. Successful completion of a practical test that will be given as a final exam by an FAA inspector on the topics listed above. All of the tasks for the CFI are thoroughly explained as well as reprinted in the Gleim Flight Instructor Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep book, which will provide you with step-by-step instructions for each flight maneuver. The flight portion of the practical test consists largely of those maneuvers tested on the commercial practical test except you must explain each maneuver to the examiner as you are flying the airplane. During the practical test, you will fly the airplane from the right seat because this is where CFIs instruct (with the student in the left seat).
 

CERTIFICATED FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR - INSTRUMENT (CFII)

In order to instruct pilots working toward their instrument rating, you must be an instrument instructor, which requires more training, another pilot knowledge test, and a practical test.

The FAA pilot knowledge test consists of 50 questions from the same questions used on the FAA pilot knowledge test for the instrument rating; i.e., you (in effect) retake your instrument rating knowledge test. Thus, you need to study and use the Gleim Instrument Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book, FAA Test Prep Online, and Online Ground School.

The practical test consists of the instrument rating practical test maneuvers except you must explain the maneuvers as you perform them and you sit in the right seat. The Gleim Instrument Pilot Flight Maneuvers and Practical Test Prep book is an essential text to help you prepare for your CFII practical test.

CFIs NOTE:  This is an excellent IFR refresher and update. Another major advantage is that passage of the flight test extends your CFI privileges for another 24 months; i.e., the additional rating both renews your CFI certificate and satisfies the flight review requirement.

 


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