An Instrument Rating (IR) is a pilot rating earned through intensive training focused on flying solely by reference to instruments. It is arguably one of the most valuable ratings you can add to your pilot certificate and is a fun and challenging discipline of flight training. A well-trained and proficient instrument pilot can fly an airplane from point A to point B without ever having to look out the window except for takeoff and landing; it is truly a remarkable skill.
An instrument rating makes every pilot a more knowledgeable, safer pilot. Instrument rated pilots will also be equipped with the aeronautical decision skills to stop and think before you get into a situation where you need to use your instrument flying skills. Attempting VFR flight in IMC is one of the most consistently deadly decisions or mistakes in all of aviation.
History has shown us that weather-related general aviation accidents are often fatal. When pilots cannot see the horizon, spatial disorientation can onset rapidly. When John F. Kennedy, Jr. crashed his Piper Saratoga into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, on July 16, 1999, he did not have an instrument rating. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated that Kennedy’s failure to maintain control of the airplane was the result of spatial disorientation, with haze and the dark night being factors.