Understanding How To Learn
About Me
Understanding How To Learn

When I started college, I quickly realized that the rest of my class was far ahead of me. In addition to struggling to understand the material, I also had a hard time working in group settings and understanding how the lectures tied to the homework. After failing my first two semesters, a helpful counselor asked me to sign up for a study habits class. In the class, I learned how to apply myself in formal educational settings, which really helped. I think that everyone should take the time to understand how to learn, so that they can be successful in their classes.


Understanding How To Learn

Instrument Rating: Taking Your Pilot's License To The Next Level

Lewis Thompson

If you are already certified to fly a plane from aviation colleges, then you know that there are many levels of training that you can take in order to advance to larger aircraft, better paying jobs, and higher altitudes. One of the most basic aspects of advanced training is Instrument Rating-- an additional qualification for private or commercial pilots that allows them to fly in conditions that are regulated by Instrument Flight Rules. If you want to make flying your life, you'll need to get familiar with Instrument Rating and the additional abilities it can unlock in you as a pilot.

What is an Instrument Rating for?

The Instrument Rating provides the expertise that pilots need when they can no longer depend on visual cues in order to correct and maintain a flight pattern. Therefore, the pilot needs to learn to operate the aircraft with reference to instruments, like global positioning systems and attitude indicators. Basically, any flight condition that would reduce visibility and the pilot's ability to reference his or position with the ground or with the terrain surrounding requires an Instrument Rating. 

So, why spend the extra time and money for this qualification?

Flying in the United States is heavily regulated, with specific rules pertaining to types of aircraft and safety in perilous situations. Basically, without an Instrument Rating you will not be able to:

  1. Fly in the clouds. Visibility is drastically reduced in clouds, and chances of meeting turbulence are higher. Flying in a cloud takes training, so if you're a private pilot hoping to take a crop duster out during overcast weather, forget about it. 
  2. Fly in all types of weather conditions. If you want to be a commercial or cargo pilot, your Instrument Rating is your golden ticket to getting the job. Cargo pilots often have to fly at night, and because they are held to delivery expectations, they will need to fly and land during storms or high winds. 
  3. Fly above 18,000 feet. Because only certain types of aircraft can handle being at very high altitudes, you'll need additional certification in order to fly higher, simply because you'll be handling a bigger plane with more people and more cargo and, of course, more flight instruments.
  4. Fly at night. Night flying often falls under Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR). These special rules cover anything that might be "out of the ordinary" for a pilot's visibility-- including darkness.

What does it take to get certified?

While nothing beats time in the cockpit, this certification is largely knowledge based. You'll have to be familiar with all of the rules and laws surrounding safe flying procedures-- these are the Instrument Flight Rules. Examples include:

  • required changes in flight patterns when flying near the Grand Canyon.
  • special rules surrounding the use of GPS when flying in Alaska.
  • flight restrictions in an area that has suffered an accident or disaster. 
  • mastering the use of Air Traffic Control (ATC) systems.

These rules, and many others, including flight requirements in Class A airspace, will be part of a class at your chosen flight school, and following instruction, you'll need to take a comprehensive test. In addition to class time, you will need an additional forty hours of combined simulated and actual flight time. These hours help you to practice the knowledge you need for your Instrument Rating. Then, you'll need to practice with the instruments themselves. These will also be part of your test, as well as contribute another 15 hours of hands-on application.

At first, you may just be focused on getting your pilot's license. But, if you want to pursue a career in flight, instrument training is just as important-- you won't ever be able to really progress as a pilot without it.