An instrument rating enables a pilot to fly in the clouds by operating by reference to aircraft instruments under IFR (instrument flight rules). Only a certified and current instrument-rated pilot is allowed to file and fly an IFR flight plan.
Some pilots pursue an instrument rating in order to be safer, just in case they encounter poor weather while they fly. Other pilots choose to become instrument rated to better ensure completion of business trips. For most pilots pursuing a professional pilot career, an instrument rating will usually be the next step after completing private pilot training.
An instrument rating requires a pilot to hold (or be concurrently applying for) a private pilot certificate in an airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift rating appropriate to the instrument rating sought. The pilot must be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
Like other certificates and ratings, instrument training involves ground training and flight training. Most pilots choose to do an online ground school course, which will prepare them for the Instrument Aeronautical Knowledge Exam. Ground school covers many aspects of instrument flying including regulations, air traffic control systems, instrument navigation, meteorology, and aeronautical decision-making.
For flight training, at least 50 hours of cross-country time PIC (pilot in command) are required, of which 10 hours must in be airplanes for an instrument-airplane rating. A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time are required covering the areas of operating listed in FAR 61.65, and at least 15 hours of instrument flight training is required from an authorized instructor (CFII) in the aircraft category for the instrument rating sought. Of the 40 hours, up to 10 may be completed in an FAA approved simulator or Approved Training Device (ATD), like the VIS-X simulator at Desert Flying Club. Instrument training also requires 3 hours of instrument instruction within 2 months of the practical test, and one long cross-country under IFR of at least 250 nautical miles.
Desert Flying Club has several aircraft available for instrument training, including Cessna 172, Cessna 177, Diamond DA-40 (with Garmin G1000), Piper Archer, and Beechcraft Musketeer.
Like other certificates and ratings, the time for completion depends on the student. A pilot flying 2-3 times per week may finish in as little 2-3 months, but most students take 3-6 months on average.
Like other certificates and ratings, training cost depends a lot on the individual student. Here is a breakdown of estimated expenses for the instrument rating based on the minimum 40 hours of simulated instrument time (30 hours in airplane, 10 hours in simulator).
|Based on 6 months, (50 hrs PIC cross-country not included)|
|Flying club dues||$55 x 6 months:||$330|
|Aircraft Rental – Cessna 172:||$140/hr x 30 hours||$4200|
|Simulator rental||$299/3 months||$299|
|Instructor flight training||$75/hr x 40 hours||$3000|
|Instructor simulator/ground training/debriefing||$65/hr x 35 hours||$2275|
|Online Ground School||$150|
|Renter’s Insurance (annual)||$200|
|Written Exam Fee||$100|
|Supplies, Charts, books||$100|
|Check ride examiner fee||$800|
|Check ride plane rental||$140/hr x 2.5 hours||$350|
Get started by purchasing an intro flight with our instructor.