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9 Answers

When is instrument rating required?

Asked by: 3408 views Instrument Rating

I cannot find the reference of when is an instrument rating required??

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9 Answers



  1. jay2712 on Jun 08, 2016

    91.173

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  2. Kris Kortokrax on Jun 08, 2016

    Close, but no cigar.

    Try 61.3 (e).

    Try also 61.183 (c)(2)

    You also need one if you don’t want a limitation on your Commercial certificate for carrying passengers for hire at night or on flights greater than 50 nautical miles. 61.133 (b)

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  3. John D Collins on Jun 08, 2016

    91.173 only specifies that an ATC clearance and a flight plan are required when operating under IFR in controlled airspace. The requirement that a pilot acting as PIC under IFR or less than VFR requires an appropriate instrument rating is found in 61.3 (e).

    (e) Instrument rating. No person may act as pilot in command of a civil aircraft under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR flight unless that person holds:

    (1) The appropriate aircraft category, class, type (if required), and instrument rating on that person’s pilot certificate for any airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift being flown;

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  4. colopilot on Jun 08, 2016

    Thanks everyone who responded. Chris was close with 61.3.

    Here’s the answer I came up with. It is spread out.

    61.3: Can’t Operate below VFR wx mins without instrument rating.
    91.135: Can’t operate in Class A without instrument rating.
    91.157: SVFR at night requires instrument rating.

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  5. Kris Kortokrax on Jun 08, 2016

    91.135 says nothing about an instrument rating being required, it requires that flight be conducted under IFR.

    61.3(e) requires the instrument rating for flight under IFR and is the regulation requiring the instrument rating. John stated the requirement as well. Our answer is not close, it is spot on.

    61.133, 61.183 and 91.157 are ancillary requirements describing situations not related to flight under IFR or IMC where an instrument rating is necessary for certain flight situations.

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  6. colopilot on Jun 08, 2016

    Kris (my apologies for misspelling your name in last post)- so I just want to make sure I am understanding you correctly. You say you are spot on with 61.3 (e) and all of the other FAR’s mentioned are not related to flight under IFR?

    So if the DPE asks me “well son, when is an instrument rating required”, I point to FAR 61.3 (e) and say “here Mr. Examiner! this is the only reg where IFR rating is required!” ??

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  7. Kris Kortokrax on Jun 09, 2016

    That is exactly what I am telling you.

    Your analysis is wrong because you referenced 61.3 for flight in weather below VFR only. You do need an Instrument rating to fly under IFR even if flying in VFR weather, as 61.3 also states.

    Your reference to 91.135 is wrong because you need an instrument rating to fly under IFR below FL180 as well as in Class A. The requirement is not altitude dependent.

    Your reference to 91.157 (SVFR) only applies to airplanes and powered lift. I can fly all night under SVFR in a helicopter with no Instrument rating, even though I need an Instrument rating for flight under IFR or in weather below VFR in all categories and classes.

    The other situations I mentioned to you were the requirement to have an instrument rating to apply for a Flight Instructor certificate for airplanes and powered lift (note, I don\’t need it for helicopters) and the need for an instrument rating at the Commercial level for airplanes and powered lift to avoid a restriction on passenger carrying (even in VFR weather, and again, note that I don\’t need it for helicopters).

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  8. Andre Venter on Jul 14, 2017

    Watch the youtube video where DPE Andy Munnis explains exactly how he asks the question and how he expects it to be answered. I think colopilot is on the right track. Not that anyone above is in error, but the video clearly indicated what this DPE expects as an answer.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUzR8f1Npss

    Forward to 20:30

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  9. Andre Venter on Jul 14, 2017

    I guess the choices are:

    1- Answer the question in the way the DPE expects it to be answered
    2- Start an argument with the DPE as to why his expectation of the answer is incorrect

    Then wait to see if you pass the oral or not…..

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