Maintaining instrument currency can get confusing, especially once you’ve passed your check ride and aren’t searching through the FARs every day. Here’s your guide to understanding instrument currency…
The regulations define weather flight conditions for visual flight rules (VFR) and instrument flight rules (IFR) in terms of specific values for ceiling and visibility. IFR means a ceiling less than 1,000 feet AGL and/or visibility less than three miles. Low IFR (LIFR) is a sub-category of IFR.
A person who applies for an instrument rating must:
• Hold at least a current private pilot certificate or be concurrently applying for a private pilot certificate with an airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift rating appropriate to the instrument rating sought.
• Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
You must have logged the following:
• At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command. At least 10 of these hours must be in airplanes for an instrument-airplane rating.
• A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time on the areas of operation listed in 61.65(c).
• At least 15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in the aircraft category for the instrument rating sought.
For instrument-airplane rating, instrument training on cross-country flight procedures that includes at least one cross-country flight in an airplane that is performed under instrument flight rules. This flight must consist of:
• A distance of at least 250 nm along airways or ATC-directed routing.
• An instrument approach at each airport.
• Three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems (Example: ILS, VOR, GPS, etc).
• At least 3 hours of instrument training that is appropriate to the instrument rating sought from an authorized instructor in preparation for the checkride within two calendar months before the examination date.