Instrument Flight
Requirements and Procedures

These lessons prepare the Altair pilot for flying under Instrument Flight Rules. As a Trainee, you must first complete and pass the VFR Checkride before proceeding with this series. Successful completion of the IFR Written Exam is required before flying online with VATSIM and before taking the First Officer checkride once 50 hours have been logged.

When flying, you must conform to either Visual Flight Rules (VFR) or Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). We've covered the basics of VFR, but what is this IFR all about? It is a system of rules that govern flights filed as such. You must file and fly IFR if meteorological conditions are below VFR minimums or when flying within Class A airspace; above 18,000 feet in the US. Basically, you must must file a detailed flight plan and receive clearance prior to entering instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) or class A airspace. Usually this is performed on the ground prior to departure, but doesn't have to be. Once filed and cleared, ATC will be responsible for your separation from other aircraft under most circumstances, and you will have to follow certain rules and procedures. The main ones are covered in this series of lessons.

It is interesting to note that flight under IFR may be performed anytime, not just in bad weather or above 18,000. Additional ATC, radar and other services are available to pilots flying IFR that can make any flight safer. Airline passenger operations always file IFR. So why would pilots ever fly VFR? It's more work to prepare and plan, pilots must first be instrument rated, and you must follow specific routing and altitudes once airborne. VFR is not as restrictive and provides a little more freedom .

Instrument Flying


  1. Instruments & Auto-Pilot
  2. IFR Overview
  3. Enroute Charts
  4. Approach Charts
  5. Departures
  6. Enroute
  7. STARs
  8. Approach Procedures
  9. The ILS Approach
  10. Flight Plan and Trip
  11. VATSIM

Click here when ready to take the IFR Written Exam

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