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10 Reasons Why You're A Safer Pilot When You Get Your Instrument Rating

Getting your instrument ratings is one of the best things you can do as a pilot. Here are 10 reasons why:

1) Learning to fly by instruments increases your situational awareness

It also prepares you for unexpected weather, day or night.


2) You learn to analyze weather in more detail

Icing, thunderstorms, turbulence, and countless other things come into play on IFR flights. As an instrument pilot, you know how to analyze it all.


3) It makes flying more flexible

All it takes is a 100 foot cloud layer to ruin your VFR day. With an instrument rating, you can pick up a clearance, punch through the layer, and enjoy views like this from above the clouds.


4) You understand every ATC radio call

Whether ATC tells aircraft to 'report the outer marker', 'join the localizer' or 'climb via the SID', you know what it all means.

4 NATS Press Office

5) You know your avionics inside and out

They're the only things getting you safely back to Earth. You learn how to use every piece of equipment, and what to do if they fail.


6) Airspace is no longer a concern

MOAs? TFRs? You still need to be aware of them, but as long as you're on your ATC assigned route and altitude, you're good to go.

Swayne Martin

7) Your insurance is less expensive

Do you want to own an airplane? Having your instrument rating is one of the easiest ways to lower your insurance premiums.


8) You can fly above 18,000 feet

VFR pilots are restricted from flying in Class A airspace (yes, there are exceptions), but many GA airplanes can go as high as 25,000 feet. Having your instrument rating gets you into the flight levels, and lets you take advantage of bigger tailwinds, faster true airspeeds, and those incredible views.


9) You'll be more confident

IFR or VFR, you're prepared for an entirely new set of challenges and adventures at the controls of your plane.


10) You can fly an approach to minimums

Because there's no better feeling than shooting an approach and seeing this at the end...

Live from the Flight Deck

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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