How Many Questions Are On The Instrument Rating (IFR) Test?

The instrument flight rating is a type of rating certificate for pilots that allows the holder to fly an aircraft equipped with instruments and navigate by airways, airports, or other navigational aids.

The FAA does not require all pilots flying in U.S. airspace to have an IFR rating but it can be useful for many situations in the air.

How Many Questions Are On The Instrument Rating (IFR) Test

An IFR pilot must be able to read and interpret the various instruments onboard an airplane, and the written IFR test will ask questions about these instruments and navigation.

We take a look at how many questions pilots need to answer for the written IFR test.

What’s The Instrument Pilot (IFR) Exam?

The instrument rating is a type of pilot certificate that allows the holder to fly an aircraft with instruments, such as an airplane or helicopter.

It is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States and other countries.

In addition to the FAA, the European Union also issues its type certificates for pilots who are qualified to fly airliners under ICAO standards.

Types Of Instrument Ratings

The instrument rating is one of two types of ratings available from the FAA: Airplane Single-Engine Land and Multiengine Land.

Single-Pilot Instrument Rating

A single-pilot instrument rating is required if you want to fly only airplanes.

Multi-Pilot Instrument Rating

If you plan on flying more than one airplane, you need a multi-pilot instrument rating. This includes all airplanes except helicopters.

You can’t have both a multi-engine land instrument rating and a single-pilot instrument rate at the same time.

Helicopter Instrument Rating

To be able to fly a helicopter, you must hold either a commercial or sport pilot certificate.

To obtain your helicopter instrument rating, you’ll take a flight test where you will demonstrate your ability to safely operate a helicopter.

How Many Questions Are On The Instrument Flight Rating (IFR) Exam?

An instrument rating is a type of certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) that allows a person to fly an airplane equipped with navigational equipment.

Pilots need to take a special knowledge test for this rating which covers 60 questions on a large range of important navigational topics.

The questions are taken from a pool of overall 900 questions.

How Long Can You Take To Answer The Questions On Your IFR Test?

You need to complete the exam and answer all questions of the IFR test within 2.5 hours.

Topics Covered In The IFR Exam

While the exam for your PPL covers questions on aeronautics and aviation laws and regulations, as well as weather forecasting and emergency procedures, the IFR exam covers topics specific to the use of instruments.

Departure And Preflight

This section tests your understanding of how to prepare for a flight, including what to do before takeoff, during takeoff, and after landing.

The Flight And Arrival

Questions about navigating through the airspace, communicating with air traffic control, and determining the location of airports are included here.

Approach And Landing

This section covers the basics of using instruments for landing, including making approaches, monitoring altitudes, and performing flare maneuvers.

Airport Operations

This section covers the basic operations of an airport, including taxiing, parking, deplaning, and fueling.

Radio Navigation

This section covers navigation techniques such as VORs, NDBs, DME, ADFs, and VORTACs.

Navigation Techniques

This section covers the different kinds of navigation aids used around the world, including GPS, LORAN, TACAN, OMEGA, and WAAS.

Flight Planning

This section covers planning routes, calculating fuel consumption, and estimating arrival times.

Weather Theory

This section covers the fundamentals of meteorology, including clouds, precipitation, wind direction, and visibility.

Weather Forecast And Reports

Weather Forecast And Reports

This section covers the types of weather forecasts available, including METARs, SIGMETs, NOTAMs, AIRMETs, and WX reports.

Aircraft Navigation

This section covers the principles of aircraft navigation, including heading, ground speed, and altitude.

Instrument Flying

This section covers the use of instruments in general, including compass directions, airspeed indicators, attitude indicators, and radio communications.

Aircraft Instruments

This section covers the various types of instruments found on most aircraft, including altimeters, artificial horizons, air data computers, gyroscopes, and autopilot systems.

How To Study For Your IFR Exam?

As you already have your PPL and you know the type of questions that are going to be asked for this exam, you may already know how you can best study for the test.

There are several ways to prepare for your IFR test.

Use The Study Guide

First, read through the study guide provided by the FAA. It contains information about how to pass the test, what areas to focus on, and many sample questions.

Study With A Friend

If you don’t want to spend money on a book or online course, then enlist the help of a pilot friend who has taken the test before. They will be able to give you advice on how to improve your score.

Practice Test Papers

You can also practice with actual test papers. This is probably not recommended if you plan to take the test soon, but it can be useful if you need more time to prepare.

Take Practice Tests Online

Finally, some free online resources provide practice tests. Some flight schools offer instrument rating test examples.

These sites offer practice tests that cover all of the topics covered on the official test.

Tips On How To Take Your Instrument Rating Test

The following tips should help you get ready for your upcoming IFR test:

  • Read each question carefully
  • Try to answer each question. Even an educated guess can help you pass.
  • Don’t try to memorize the test questions. You will need to understand all the content of the questions to ensure you can safely fly with instruments.


The bottom line is that no matter which method you choose to prepare for your instrument rating test, make sure that you do enough research so that you can easily answer the 60 questions.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is An IFR Check?

An Instrument Flight Rating is one of the different ratings a private pilot (or also commercial pilots) can add to his certificate.

This will allow him to navigate an aircraft under the instrument flight rules (IFR), which means that he will be able to fly an airplane with instruments.

This requires special training and particular navigation skills which must be acquired before being allowed to do so.

It is important to note that while flying an airplane under the instrument flight rules, the pilot cannot rely solely on visual cues such as landmarks or terrain features.

Instead, he needs to follow specific procedures to ensure that he stays within safe boundaries.

Why Do You Need An Instrument Rating?

An instrument rating allows you to operate an aircraft equipped with navigational equipment.

While doing so, you will need to follow certain guidelines that are laid out in the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

Some of these include using charts, navigating by dead reckoning, and communicating with other aircraft.

In addition, you will need to learn how to use the instruments onboard the plane.

Is IFR Easy?

This depends. The instrument rating test is similar to the exam to obtain your private pilot license.

However, the 60 questions for your IFR test are more focused on flight rules, and how navigation impacts the flight.

This means that you need to learn more with books, and theory.

How Many Hours Is IFR Rating?

Both the written exam and practical test for your instrument rating can take over 40 hours.

Jacob Stern
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