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It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly.  You almost feel like you could fly without the plane." -Charles Lindbergh

Instrument Rating

An instrument rating is added to a Private Pilot’s License and allows a pilot to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). Instrument students exercise greater control of their aircraft, enabling them to fly in adverse weather conditions with reduced visibility. An instrument rating makes for a safer pilot and is usually a requirement for those looking to fly professionally.

The instrument rating removes the fair-weather restriction of your pilot certificate. With the instrument rating, no longer are you stuck on the ground, unable to return home, due to cloudy skies. With the instrument rating, you can fly right through it! It also will greatly increase your comfort in talking with air traffic control, and you will learn how to incorporate cockpit resource management into every flight. The instrument rating will make you an all-around safer pilot. 

FAA Certification Requirements

  • Hold at least a private pilot certificate
  • Be able to read, write, and understand English
  • Accumulate 50 hours of cross-country PIC flight time
  • Accumulate 40 hours of instrument time
  • Accumulate 15 hours of instrument flight training
  • Pass the FAA knowledge test and practical test

Typical Cost of Instrument Rating

Total Program Cost


25 hours flight training with an instructor-$5125

25 x $150/hr aircraft rental + 25 x $55/hr flight instruction

15 hours Ground instruction-$825

15 x $55/hr ground instruction

Instrument Home Study Materials-$345

King Schools Instrument Rating Course, Sheppard Air Test Prep, and course books.

Designated Practical Examiner's (DPE) Fee-$800

Payable to the FAA representative during your checkride.

What to Expect in the Course

Our instrument rating program includes 25 hours of flight instruction and 15 hours of ground instruction with an experienced CFII. From there, students can build time on their own until they reach the required 50 hours pilot in command cross-country time and 40 hours instrument time or they can continue to hone their skills with an instructor until the minimum hours are reached.  We will tailor the program to the individual student's goals.

The training follows a structured syllabus, but it may be easily tailored to the individual student as needed. The training includes both classroom and flight training and is broken up into 3 stages, each with different core objectives. The following are partial lists of what to expect in each stage:

Stage 1

Flying by reference to only instruments

Instrument systems

Instrument failures

Navigation systems and techniques

Weather Theory

Stage 2

Holding patterns

DME arcs

IFR clearances

Instrument approaches and departures

IFR flight planning

Stage 3

Further develop instrument flying skills

Build knowledge in all subject matter areas

Pass the FAA knowledge test

Demonstrate proficiency during an end-of-course check

Core Objective: Develop proficiency in instrument flying under simulated conditions

Core Objective: Develop proficiency at Instrument Approach Procedures and complete a 250 nm cross-country under IFR

Core Objective: Pass the Instrument Rating practical test

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