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Obtaining an instrument pilot rating is the biggest step you can take towards becoming a safer, more knowledgeable, and more professional pilot.


Obtaining an instrument pilot rating is the biggest step you can take towards becoming a safer, more knowledgeable, and more professional pilot.

Safety Is The #1 Priority

Once you have your Private Pilot License (PPL), earning your Instrument Rating is the next and biggest step in progressing your flying privileges and abilities.

This rating qualifies you to fly in clouds and inclement weather using only the instruments as reference. This is technically known as flying under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).

Even if you don’t plan to fly in bad weather, an Instrument Rating can help make any pilot safer and more precise.

How to Obtain Your Instrument Rating

General Requirements

  • Hold a current Private Pilot Certificate
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English
  • Pass FAA Instrument Rating – Airplane Written Knowledge Test
  • Pass an FAA Practical Test (Oral and Flight)

Materials Needed

  • Cessna Private Pilot Ground School Course

  • ASA Private Oral Exam Guide

  • Current FAA Aeronautical Charts and FAR/AIM manual

  • Pilot Headset (Rentals Available)

Flight Requirements

FAA required 40 hours total time must include the following:

  • At least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as pilot in command
    – At least 10 hours must be in airplanes for an instrument airplane rating
  • A total of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time:
    – At least 15 hours of instrument flight training
    – One cross country flight in an airplane that is performed under IFR conditions and consists of a distance of:

    • at least 250 nm
    • an instrument approach at each airport,
    • three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems.

Note: Part 141 requires 35 of flight training time and there is no minimum cross country requirement.

Program Costs

Instrument Rating Training Package begins at $12,130

How Long Will it Take?

  • The FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours of simulated or actual instrument flight to be eligible for certification.
  • At least 15 hours of this must be accomplished with an authorized instrument instructor (CFII).
  • This rating also requires a FAA Third Class Medical as well as an instrument pilot airplane knowledge and practical exam.

  • Most students take advantage of the opportunity to obtain an instrument rating while building time towards their Commercial Pilot License.

Why EFI?

As an instrument pilot you will gain valuable and advanced knowledge and skills that will make your flying safer, more convenient, and more versatile.

  • At EFI Flight School, we utilize a modern glass cockpit, G1000 aircraft to ensure you get the most up-to-date training and experience.

  • We also offer the option to start your training in our FAA certified flight training device (simulator) that will help hone your skills before you even start your dual instrument training in the aircraft.

  • Utilizing the simulator for a portion of your flight time makes obtaining your instrument rating more efficient and less expensive.

4 Steps to Earn Your Certificate


From the first flight with your instructor you’ll need to study along the way in preparation for your written exam, which is usually taken towards the end of your flight training.


At least 15 of the required 40 hours of instrument flight has to be accomplished with a CFII.


One long IFR cross country flight is required. At least one leg of the three leg trip must have a straight line distance of at least 250 nautical miles. Additionally, three different types of instrument approaches must be flown during this flight.


Once you meet all the flight training requirements and your instructor believes you are proficient, you are ready for the check ride. This check ride is composed of a oral examination and a hands-on flight in the aircraft with an FAA designated examiner.