Instrument Rating 

Instrument Rating

Your FAA Instrument Rating allows you to become an elite member of the aviation community and proudly wear the title professional pilot. With an instrument rating you will be able to fly in weather conditions you would most likely stay home for as a private pilot. Not only will you be able to get to your destination on those gloomy days, but your skills as pilot flying visually will improve greatly!

To achieve your Instrument Rating, the FAA requires you to complete the following:

AREA OF OPERATION – § 61.65(d)

  • 50 hours of X/C flight time as pilot-in-command, at least 10 hours must be in airplanes
  • 40 hours* of actual or simulated instrument time, consisting of at least:
    • 15 hours of training from an authorized instructor (CFII-airplane)
    • 3 hours practical test preparation within 60 days of the check ride [§ 61.39(a)(6)]
    • Instrument training on X/C flight procedures including at least one IFR X/C flight consisting of a distance at least 250 NM along airways or ATC-directed routing, an instrument approach at each airport, with three different kinds of approaches (note: three different approaches, not necessarily three different airports)

*Note: up to 20 hours of training out of the 40 hours total can be done in a simulator or flight training device.

After completing the flight hour requirements, you can earn your rating by passing three required tests: the Knowledge, the Oral, and the Practical. The oral and practical exams are usually done back to back and include a Q&A session with an FAA Designated Examiner, followed by the flight check of your abilities in the air. After completing this “Checkride”, you will have officially become an Instrument Rated Pilot!

Estimated Completion Cost:

20 hours Redbird FMX1000 Simulator: $1,500
60 hours Instruction: $3,240
20 hours C172R: $2,600
Written Test: $150
Grand Total: $7,490

Completion of the instrument rating can take quite some time. The training for the instrument rating can be an exciting challenge that may take awhile to master. Just like achieving a private pilot’s license it depends on how often you are able to schedule lessons. One important aspect of the instrument training is a requirement of 50 hours PIC cross country. If you are just beginning your instrument training after receiving your private license we would encourage you to rent on your off training days. This way you can build your cross country experience while working on your rating.

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