Related to Can a plane be IFR certified, but not allowed in IMC? and Are there any LSA aircraft that can be flown IFR in IMC? . I understand the distinction between IFR and IMC. I can train for IFR in such an airplane in non-IMC conditions, but I cannot fly in actual IMC.

Does this mean that I can take my IFR checkride in such an airplane, too?

  • $\begingroup$ It looks like your question is already answered in the first question you linked to. It quotes an FAA document on instruction and checkrides. Can you clarify what is different about your question? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 28, 2017 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ clarification: checkride not just training. $\endgroup$
    – ivo Welch
    Jan 1, 2018 at 18:40
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, the document says "instrument flight training and/or airman certification testing". $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jan 2, 2018 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


Legally, you can take your instrument rating checkride (not "IFR checkride") in an airplane that is not equipped for flight under instrument flight rules. That is because you will fly your check ride under VFR. As I did. The examiner will act as "safety pilot," a require crew member, while you are the sole manipulator of the controls under SIMULATED IMC via the view limiting device. The examiner will ask you to do the required tasks, and you will coordinate the tasks needing ATC assistance with ATC, who will remind you to "remain VFR" while you are on practice instrument approaches and so on. You cannot fly the checkride under instrument flight rules because you don't have an instrument rating. The examiner won't (or at least most won't) file an IFR flight plan as PIC using his/her rating.

But that's legal. In practical terms, at least in my opinion, any examiner is going to be reluctant, or at least suspicious, of a request for an applicant to complete the instrument rating checkride in an airplane not fully equipped for instrument flight. In particular, he or she is going to insist that the airplane be equipped for several different types of instrument approaches. My understanding is that it's up to the examiner, so check in advance if your examiner is comfortable using the airplane that you propose to use.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 29, 2017 at 2:07
  • $\begingroup$ I would train in an LSA that is IFR equipped, but not legal in IMC . If even VFR airplanes can do this, then it presumably means that LSA "IFR equipped in non-IMC permitted aircraft" are good for the instrument rating checkride. your answer goes further, but leads me to believe that I should be ok in this scenario without difficulty. $\endgroup$
    – ivo Welch
    Dec 29, 2017 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ You are most certainly wrong. In most cases, the IR checkride will take place in VMC under VFR, however, the examiner can and will file and fly IFR, acting as PIC, for the checkride if there are clouds present that must be flown into to complete the approaches. $\endgroup$
    – PilotDan
    Jan 31, 2019 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ PilotDan: When I took my IR checkride, the examiner insisted on an VMC day and made it his particular practice to do all his checkrides in VMC under VFR only. We had to wait for good weather to do the IR checkride. No doubt about what happened with your examiner, and that certainly is allowed. It is up to the examiner whether he wants to act as PIC and file and fly under IFR. Your examiner did; my examiner didn't. I'm not sure we have enough data to say "most do" or "most don't". $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Feb 3, 2019 at 16:27

There are lots of reasons that an IFR certified aircraft may not be legal to fly in IMC. An airplane must have had an altimeter and pitot/static check within the last 24 months. If using VORs for navigation, a VOR check is required within 30 days. If you are planning on using GPS approaches or departures, then your database must be current.

Since you start off your checkride by filing and flying an IFR flight plan, then it you would need an airplane that is currently capable of IFR flight. However, the current PTS does not require that an actual ATC clearance be received:


NOTE: The ATC clearance may be an actual or simulated ATC clearance based upon the flight plan.

If your designated examiner agrees beforehand that you will use a simulated clearance, then you would not need an IFR certified airplane. Otherwise I believe you would.

From the FARs:

§91.205 Powered civil aircraft with standard category U.S. airworthiness certificates: Instrument and equipment requirements. (d) Instrument flight rules.

(1) Instruments and equipment specified in paragraph (b) of this section, and, for night flight, instruments and equipment specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

§91.411 Altimeter system and altitude reporting equipment tests and inspections. (a) No person may operate an airplane, or helicopter, in controlled airspace under IFR unless—

(1) Within the preceding 24 calendar months, each static pressure system, each altimeter instrument, and each automatic pressure altitude reporting system has been tested and inspected and found to comply with appendices E and F of part 43 of this chapter;

(Emphasis added)

And from the Instrument Practical Test Standards (FAA-S-8081-4E PTS Instrument)

Aircraft and Equipment Required for the Practical Test The instrument rating applicant is required by 14 CFR part 61 to provide an airworthy, certificated aircraft for use during the practical test.

Its operating limitations must not prohibit the TASKS required on the practical test. Flight instruments are those required for controlling the aircraft without outside references. The required radio equipment is that which is necessary for communications with air traffic control (ATC), and for the performance of two of the following nonprecision approaches: very high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR), nondirectional beacon (NDB), global positioning system (GPS) without vertical guidance, localizer (LOC), localizer-type directional aid (LDA), simplified directional facility (SDF), or area navigation (RNAV) and one precision approach: instrument landing system (ILS), GNSS landing system (GLS), localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) or microwave landing system (MLS).

GPS equipment must be instrument flight rules (IFR) certified and contain the current database.

(Emphasis added)

Training is a different issue since, except for your cross-countries, you do not need to file an IFR flight plan to practice approaches and navigation solely by reference to instruments.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Regarding the checkride, the regs quoted in the referenced question seems to indicate otherwise -- that the checkride can be taken in VMC in an aircraft used to train in VMC. Any thoughts on that? $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Dec 29, 2017 at 1:09
  • $\begingroup$ [1] does a checkride need to file a real IFR flight plane?? how? legally, I can't file IFR as PIC until after the ride!! (we reasonably need to fly one on the checkride, but do we need to file one?!) [2] my issue is not the pitot/altimeter check, but (primarily) the Rotax engine, so 91.411 should not bite me. either of these would suggest that this specific issue should not be a hurdle, but I am not certain. $\endgroup$
    – ivo Welch
    Dec 29, 2017 at 23:13
  • $\begingroup$ It was a while ago, but if I recall correctly, on my IFR checkride I filed an IFR flight plan and opened it. We flew the departure then cancelled. Just like on my Private checkride where we filed a VFR flight plan then cancelled it after the first or second checkpoint. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Dec 30, 2017 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ @ivoWelch The current PTS does not require that an IFR flight plan be activated so I updated my answer. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Dec 30, 2017 at 0:50
  • $\begingroup$ Uggghhh...this raises a new question: does to provide an airworthy, certificated aircraft mean that checkrides cannot be done in experimental IFR equipped aircraft, like Vans? $\endgroup$
    – ivo Welch
    Dec 31, 2017 at 4:32

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