Why Does an Instrument Rating Make Me a Safer Pilot?

Does an instrument rating make me a safer pilot? The answer is a definitive and resounding ‘yes!’ Flying under VFR (visual flight rules) into IMC (instrument meteorological conditions) is considered to be the leading killer in the aviation industry and for good reason. However, a pilot who has an instrument rating does not only remain safe in the air but he/she is also more insurable at a lower cost.

An instrument rating is a qualification a private or commercial pilot must have in order to fly under Instrument Flight Rules. If you lose visual contact while you are flying in bad weather, you have 178 seconds to live. If you are aware of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) you can increase your chances of survival significantly.

These regulations kick in when the weather starts acting up or when an instrument flight plan is filed. A pilot who is flying under VFR is expected to see and avoid traffic on his/her own. This is where your IFR training can help.

The first thing students are taught is how they can ‘stay ahead’ of the plane or how to determine what lies ahead. This critical ability allows pilots to understand the plane’s performance at any given point in time and in the future. This ability can literally mean the difference between life and death when you are flying in zero visibility.

With instrument training, you can become an efficient navigator that can determine a safe pathway for the plane in the air. That’s because the training teaches pilots safe ways to navigate and makes sure that they remain aware of clearances when they come in. Rapid fire bursts of information will be easier to figure out as well, a skill that will prove invaluable when you can’t see ten feet in front of the plane.

The Author
Scott Gault

Senior Vice President, Aviation & Aerospace Leader at Newfront

Scott Gault is the Aviation & Aerospace Leader at Newfront. As a generational aviator (Grandfather was a B25 pilot and Father a Huey pilot) Scott has achieved an instrument rating and flies a Bonanza E33. His passion for flying has him visiting clients and delivering renewals by air. Scott has competed in the Beijing and London Olympics in rowing, capping off his career with a bronze medal in London.

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