If my IFR rating is not current, does this mean I can't fly by IFR, or does it just mean that I can't fly in IMC?

It seems that if it's just the latter, then it would make sense to fly IFR if the weather is still VMC. It would allow me to stay current on procedures while waiting for the opportunity to get my rating current.

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    $\begingroup$ You can file a VFR flight plan, at VFR altitudes and follow the IFR waypoints, but you must remain VFR. Do it "under the hood" with a safety pilot for the practice, ask for to fly the IFR approach even. ATC will give it you, full approach & miss if you ask, or with vectors, but they'll tell you to remain VFR while doing it. I just did the same with my instructor to get signed off for an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) in the Boston, MA area, even getting vectored around for other planes on IFR plans, in VMC conditions for the whole flight (nice sunny afternoon, no clouds). $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Oct 3, 2019 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


No, you cannot. 14 CFR 61.57 (c):

(c) Instrument experience. Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, a person may act as pilot in command under IFR or weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR only if: [instrument currency requirements]

To accept an IFR clearance as PIC, even in VMC, you must be instrument current.

  • $\begingroup$ Just to throw a wrench in, when I was in training, before I had my instrument rating, the military would have us take IFR clearances, under some weird agreement that we were to remain clear of clouds (ie, the pilot would deviate if necessary), while we transited to and from the MOA and home field. It wasn't VFR flight following, we had strict altitudes, heading assignments and even departure procedures we had to follow, but we weren't totally IFR either. We operated in some sort of weird nebulous, FAR's be damned. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ @SHAF, same experience in the first jet I flew. Having prior flight time, it took awhile to wrap my nugget around it. Glad it wasn't just the AF. $\endgroup$
    – user3309
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 22:06

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