Three hours of instrument training required for the Private airplane rating
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There are two questions that come up regularly regarding this training requirement - 1. Does a CFII have to provide the training? and 2. Can I do the training in a simulator? The answer to both is no.

According to FAR 61.109(a)(3) or (b)(3), the training is properly referred to as "the control and maneuvering of an airplane solely by reference to instruments, including straight and level flight, constant airspeed climbs and descents, turns to a heading, recovery from unusual flight attitudes, radio communications, and the use of navigation systems/facilities and radar services appropriate to instrument flight." It is not actually instrument training, and that is why it is not required to be received from an instrument instructor.

Further, the same regulation requires the training to be accomplished in a single or multi engine airplane, as appropriate. This time cannot be obtained in a simulator.

Up to 2.5 hours of simulator time may be credited towards the 40 hours needed for a private, but these three hours must be done in an airplane with a flight instructor.
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BTW, those three hours also count towards the 40 hours of total instrument time for the instrument rating, but  because, as Daddis notes, it isn't "instrument flight training", it does not count towards the required 15 hours of instrument flight training for that rating.