Logging instrument time


Well-Known Member
Since you must have an instrument rating to fly at FL 180 or above, does that time flown at those altitudes count as actual instrument?

How do you continue accruing inst time when you're with an airline besides the true actual when you're in the smuck? Or is that the only way?


Well-Known Member
Re: Logging instument time


I assume you mean Class A airspace rather than above FL180 (there are areas where you can fly VFR above 18,000 msl). In order to fly in Class A, yes, you must have an instrument rating and be on an instrument flight plan. But being on an instrument flight plan doesn't automatically entitle anyone to log actual instrument time.

To log actual instrument time, you need to be in cloud and or visibility conditions that prevent you from being able to control the by simple looking out the window.

Lots of folks are pretty familiar with the famous "moonless night" FAA Legal opinion, which says that even a VFR-only pilot can log actual if the conditions are right, although technically VFR. But people are less familiar with the definition of "actual" that the opinion contains:

"Actual" instrument flight conditions occur when some outside conditions make it necessary for the pilot to use the aircraft instruments in order to maintain adequate control over the aircraft.

As to your second question: simulators. really good ones.


Staff member
Re: Logging instument time

I just had this visual of airline pilots flying with foggles or a hood on.....


Well-Known Member
Re: Logging instument time

Cockpit Conversation...

(Beep Beep Beep)

Captain: Ok Joe, you can look up now...

FO: Ohhhhh, There's the runway!