Instrument Flying Handbook


  • This Instrument Flying Handbook is designed for use by instrument flight instructors and pilots preparing for instrument rating tests. Instructors may find this handbook a valuable training aid as it includes basic reference material for knowledge testing and instrument flight training. Other Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publications should be consulted for more detailed information on related topics
Become a Patron!

Instrument Flying Handbook:

  • This handbook conforms to pilot training and certification concepts established by the FAA. There are different ways of teaching, as well as performing, flight procedures, and maneuvers and many variations in the explanations of aerodynamic theories and principles. This handbook adopts selected methods and concepts for instrument flying. The discussion and explanations reflect the most commonly used practices and principles. Occasionally, the word "must" or similar language is used where the desired action is deemed critical. The use of such language is not intended to add to, interpret, or relieve a duty imposed by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).

  • All of the aeronautical knowledge and skills required to operate in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) are detailed. Chapters are dedicated to human and aerodynamic factors affecting instrument flight, the flight instruments, attitude instrument flying for airplanes, basic flight maneuvers used in IMC, attitude instrument flying for helicopters, navigation systems, the National Airspace System (NAS), the air traffic control (ATC) system, instrument flight rules (IFR) flight procedures, and IFR emergencies. Clearance shorthand and an integrated instrument lesson guide are also included.

  • This handbook supersedes FAA-H-8081-15A, Instrument Flying Handbook, dated 2007.

  • This handbook may be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9325, or from GPO's web site.


  • This handbook is also available for download, in PDF format, from the Regulatory Support Division's (AFS-600) web site.


  • This handbook is published by the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, Airman Testing Standards Branch, AFS-630, P.O. Box 25082, Oklahoma City, OK 73125.

  • Comments regarding this publication should be sent, in email form, to the following address.


  • Instrument Flying Handbook Cover
    Instrument Flying Handbook Cover


  • Handbooks can be purchased on venues like Amazon or downloaded from the Federal Aviation Administration Website
  • These handbooks are constantly updated in response to safety investigation recommendations and updates to regulations, so check the FAA's website for the most up-to-date version!