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Brendon VanThomme
Rochester Hills, MI

Instrument Rating

14 CFR 61.65 requires minimum 40 hours of flight time for a Instrument Rating.
This required time includes:


A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time, including:

At least 15 hours of instrument flight training from an authorized instructor in the aircraft category for which the instrument rating is sought

At least 3 hours of instrument training that is appropriate to the instrument rating sought from an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test within the 60 days preceding the date of the test


At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command, of which at least 10 hours must be in airplanes for an instrument—airplane rating;


For an instrument—airplane rating, instrument training on cross- country flight procedures specific to airplanes that includes at least one cross-country flight in an airplane that is performed under IFR, and consists of:


        A distance of at least 250 nautical miles along airways or ATC-directed routing

        An instrument approach at each airport

        Three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems

For the complete requirements see 14 CFR, § 61.65 Instrument rating requirements.


These hours are the minimum amount of training in each area as required for an Instrument Pilot Rating by the FAA. 

Based on minimum training times of 40 hours in a Piper Archer II, the total estimated cost of training is as follows:

* Cost does not include training supplies.

   Financing Available

Instrument Rating FAQ’s


Why should I get an Instrument Rating?

The Instrument rating allows the VFR(visual flight rules) rated pilot to fly IFR(instrument flight rules) in instrument meteorological conditions(IMC) that would keep a VFR rated pilot on the ground. It is also the usual next step a pilot takes after receiving the private pilot certificate. It will greatly increase your flying skills, proficiency and confidence in navigation control, ATC communications, weather and multi-tasking. The instrument rating will help allow you to do what you learned to fly for, travel!


Will I get to fly in the clouds during training?

Yes, if IMC conditions are present during the training. That is the purpose of instrument training. The more actual instrument time you get will greatly increase your confidence and ability to fly by instruments only. However, not all weather conditions are acceptable, such as thunderstorms, icing, heavy turbulence, which should be avoided by all light aircraft.


Is getting an instrument rating hard?

The instrument rating is similar to what you had to accomplish for your private pilot certificate. You will have to read and study to pass another written knowledge test and another practical test in flight. It is just a new and different skill set. It will be difficult at first, but as skill and proficiency grows during training, your confidence grows as well.


Can I use a flight simulator for instrument training?

Absolutely! Use of a simulator is highly recommended for instrument training. You are allowed up to 20 hours of simulator training for your instrument rating. Practice in a simulator is a tremendous learning too and will help enhance your skills and save you money in aircraft rental. See the DTC–IN-MOTION   section on this site for more information on simulator training.


Will I experience weather delays in training?

 As mentioned above, certain conditions are to be avoided in light aircraft, such as thunderstorms, icing, heavy turbulence and strong surface and crosswinds. On those rare occasions, the simulator can always be used. The simulator can be set up to allow you to be exposed to and deal with adverse weather conditions and do it without compromising safety , helping your decision making process.

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