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The EAA has a document that strongly suggests that IFR operation in Experimental Aircraft is legal. The necessary equipment is described in 91.205. Provided all this is met, as well as all other IFR requirements (e.g., pitot check, appropriate engine, etc.), I think instrument rated pilots are ok to fly IFR in an experimental.

However, in a question related to a checkride in an LSA, Can I do an IFR checkride in an airplane that isn't certified for IMC? , I learned about another concerning aspect. It says:

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.

[my boldface]. Putting all this together suggests that I can train and fly in true IMC in IFR in an experimental aircraft, but I cannot take my checkride in one. Is this interpretation incorrect? Are there (m)any cases in which checkrides were done in experimentals?

PS: I sometimes wonder whether we are training to become pilots or lawyers...

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  • $\begingroup$ That word “certificated” seems a bit nebulous. When pilots talk about “certificated” aircraft they are usually referring to aircraft with a type certificate. But every aircraft must have some kind of airworthiness certificate, so it’s unclear in this context what is meant, at least to me. It doesn’t specifically say in that paragraph that a SAC doesn’t suffice. $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jan 1 '18 at 20:19
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Yes, but only if the examiner agrees. 61.45 says:

(a) General. Except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section or when permitted to accomplish the entire flight increment of the practical test in a flight simulator or a flight training device, an applicant for a certificate or rating issued under this part must furnish:

(1) An aircraft of U.S. registry for each required test that—

[...]

(ii) Has a standard airworthiness certificate or special airworthiness certificate in the limited, primary, or light-sport category.

(2) At the discretion of the examiner who administers the practical test, the applicant may furnish—

(i) An aircraft that has an airworthiness certificate other than a standard airworthiness certificate or special airworthiness certificate in the limited, primary, or light-sport category, but that otherwise meets the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section;

This article describes an IR checkride in a Van's RV6.

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