View Full Version : OT: Instrument rating and commercial

10-26-2004, 01:23 PM
Ok I'm working towards getting me private pilots license, I assume that with it I can fly night or day in good weather. Now what will an instrumnt rating do for me? And what will a commercial pilots license do for me? And I assume that muli-engine rating is just what it says, allowing me to pilot multi engine A/C

El Turo
10-26-2004, 02:50 PM
In very, very short summary.. more or less:

Instrument Rating allows you to legally (and safely) fly both closer and within clouds. This will make you a much safer pilot all-around for those "whoa, where'd this weather come from?" moments as well as keeping current in book-learning. The most dangerous pilot time-line is the point between 100 and 300 hours I believe.. in that murky point between being very sharp on the academics and skills as a noob to being lax and complacent about flying around in the sky and forgetting/omitting safety checklists and doing things to the letter.

Commercial Rating allows you to charge a fee or have someone else pay for all of the travel expenses in exchange for you flying them to your destination. Plus, you get to learn some fun manuevers! Good "Weeee!" factor.

I was right in the middle of my instrument/commercial training when 9-11 occurred and that more or less put the kabosh on my future commercial aviation career. Now, I fly for personal enjoyment on occaison as time, finances and family permit.

I'd be lying if I told you there weren't days that I'd gladly give up my cushy office job to go fly every day and be poor. There is just NOTHING as joyous, free and incredible as piloting a flying machine. It is certainly not uncommon for me to daydream at my desk about yelling "Clear!" and firing up an airplane in the crisp, cool, quiet morning air just after sunrise for a scenic flight over the lakes, rivers, and forests up here in the Pacific Northwest.



10-26-2004, 03:02 PM
El Turo pretty much covers it. Getting paid as a commercial pilot is a little more complicated than that, but in the simplest terms, it's what lets you get paid to fly.

IMO, if you've any interest in it and have gone through all the work to get the instrument rating, go ahead and go for the commercial certificate as well. Instrument is IMO the hardest one of them all (short of ATP). After that, commercial and multi are basically cake. I had loads of fun with my multi training.

10-26-2004, 03:59 PM
Type ratings for certain aircraft are a tough nut to bust.

Best way I've noticed to log up hours is to get your CFI or certified flight instructor license and then teach kids to fly in your free time. Might put bread in your basket if you're a college student.

10-26-2004, 04:16 PM
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
private pilots license, I assume that with it I can fly night or day in good weather

This is not actually true. To fly at night, you would need a night rating. Night VFR here in Australia. It's about ten hours total, two for circuits, two ADF/VOR training, and six on Nav's. Then you can fly night VFR.
Like I said, those are the rules in Australia, but as I understand it, Australia is only lacking in about six of the ICAO's standards, and they have nothing to do with aircraft capable of being flown with only the PIC

10-26-2004, 08:25 PM
WTE_Snowhawk, I didn't know Australia had a separate Night VFR rating. Not a bad idea, but the training you describe was part of what I did for my PPL (Private Pilot's Licence) back in the 80's here in the 'States. I remember doing patterns at Bridgeport's airport (forgot the name) on Long Island Sound, and getting the experience of "Where'd everything go" when I turned base and pointed towards the sound. Probably similar to what JFK Jr. experienced.

Mike8686, El Turo summed it up pretty well. An instrument rating will take longer and cost more money (both to earn and maintain), but if you can swing it, I recommend getting it. The two most common causes of General Aviation accidents (at least from a few years ago) were 1) fuel starvation (i.e. running out of gas, or not using the gas in the aircraft properly) and 2) VFR pilots flying into IMC (Instrument Meteorological Conditions.) Most VFR pilots don't intentionally push the weather, but an IFR rating will add more flexibility to your flying, as well as more safety.

El Turo
10-26-2004, 08:36 PM
I'll say one thing about night flying.. your first few goes at landing at night are usually a bit rough! I remember my instructor asking me if I felt good on flare and I told him "I got it!" Well.. I wasn't dangerously high, but let's say I put it down pretty hard. Hehe.. getting that depth perception down at night is a whole new ballgame!

That first night flight we went out to this old half-abandoned airstrip and found that the lights were only partially working and that the runway (very large) had been partially grown-over by tall grass. So, on the way back home my instructor called in a pilot report for malfunctioning lights and added in "oh.. and the runway needs a good mow.."

Hehe.. funneh!


I wish I had the free time to fly more.




10-26-2004, 10:28 PM
the other difference I would point out is that, at least in Australia, you need a commercial licence and the minimum of a utility rated aircraft to do anything even remotely commercial in an aircraft .. something as simple as you or your passengers taking some photos out the window and later on selling them can jeopardise your PPL

its also worth bearing in mind that being RATED on an aircraft does not necessarily mean anyone is going to lease you one .. especially if you are talking a fast twin or business jet .. its likely the lessee will want see the PIC with quite a few logged hours, not just rated for type, before leasing out something like a citation or kingair for example

10-26-2004, 11:07 PM
Many private pilots consider me a snob for having this opinion, but I really believe all pilots should be able to do a glideslope landing. I've seen too any situations where the VFR conditions went bye, bye in a hurry. Still, you are going to need at least "some" experience in the basics before going on to intrument flight. Do you "have to have it"? No, but I really think anyone with more than 60 hours in the lft seat needs to take a good look in the mirror before blowing off getting an instrument rating.

10-26-2004, 11:10 PM
the problem with an instrument rating is not getting it .. its keeping it current .. and depending where you are based that can cost big bucks every year

10-26-2004, 11:44 PM
6 approaches every 6 months. . . that aint too bad if ya ask me. However if that is all you do, you may be current, but safe? Perhaps. Proficient? no! However it is still a lot of capability to add to your bag of tricks in the event you need it. (Which you shouldn't because you don't make the choice to go when it's marginal do you?)

Oh and in the US there is no night rating, part of the private pilot certificate is 3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:
a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
b) 10 T/O's and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.

and as such, you are not restricted to daytime with a US Private Certificate.

For now just get your private, be cautious, take your time, do a thorough pre-flight, if you really have to get there take a car if the weather is anything but wonderful. As you build hours and experience and seek to add more, then the additional ratings will come easilly. You will need time building in prep for each anyway (unless you use a part 141 school). 50 hours XC as PIC for instrument, and 250 hours TT with 10 hrs. in complex, some longer xolo XCs etc for commercial.