You’ve heard it before: Your PPL is a license to learn! You may have also heard that earning an instrument rating (IR) is one of the most valuable ratings you can add to your pilot certificate.
It’s true — becoming an instrument-rated pilot is a goal for many aviators, from aspiring commercial pilots to those who fly just for fun. Learning to fly IFR opens up an entire world of piloting experiences, giving you the flexibility to fly in cloudy or inclement weather conditions that would be otherwise limited by VFR weather minimums. Best of all, the process of IFR training itself creates safer, more confident pilots.
Are you ready for IFR? Here are five reasons to get your instrument rating:
Learning to fly IFR will give you an in-depth understanding of your aircraft’s flight instruments, how they work, and what to do in the event of instrument failure. Depending on the airplane you train in, this may involve learning on analog gauges or a modern glass panel with a moving map display, IFR GPS, and an autopilot.
Instrument-rated pilots also need a thorough understanding of meteorology in order to interpret weather data and forecast weather changes both during preflight and in flight. IFR training includes studying weather theory and patterns to ensure you’re prepared for all types of weather situations, from clouds and fog to turbulence, precipitation, thunderstorms, and more.
When you fly IFR, making and responding to rapid-fire radio calls must be second nature. At first, the idea of communicating with a busy control tower can be intimidating. By training for your IFR rating, you’ll learn the proper ATC phraseology, improve your workload management skills, and become a clearer, more confident communicator.
Having an instrument rating relieves worry about running into rough weather during cross-country flights. You know you’ll have the skills and knowledge to make the right decisions for the situation and operate a safe flight even without visual reference. With an instrument rating, you can expand your horizons and plan longer trips to unfamiliar destinations with less stress and hesitation.
The instrument rating is arguably the most challenging rating to acquire. Expect to invest time, money, and plenty of hard work in return for valuable skills, newfound confidence, and one of the most worthwhile additions to your certificate. Going through IFR training may be rigorous, but everything you’ll learn will make both VFR and IFR flying more exciting and enjoyable. Plus, with an instrument rating, you’ll be able to fly more in general, even when the weather is less than perfect.
At Hartzell Propeller, we’re experts in aircraft propeller design and manufacturing, but we’re also passionate about flight safety and proficiency. We know that IFR training creates better pilots, and we’re committed to supporting learning opportunities for pilots of all skill levels, including the Pilot Proficiency Center. Be sure to check out the new location for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, connected to the EAA Aviation Museum.