Cost For An Instrument Rating Pilot License

One of the most exasperating limitations of having an unrated private pilot’s license is that if it’s a cloudy day or if dusk is setting in - you’re grounded! The options you have are to wait until the weather clears, postpone your flight until the next clear day, or enroll in an instrument flight rules (IFR) course. By enrolling in an instrument rating course, you will learn to fly and navigate the aircraft solely through the guidance of your instruments and flight gauges in the cockpit, instead of looking out the window. Once you have your instrument rating license, you can fly and operate in the instrument rating environment without worrying about cloud clearance or visibility.


  • Possess private pilot license with at least 5-hours flight time in the previous month
  • Third-class FAA medical certificate
  • Flown at least 50-hours cross country as a licensed pilot (flying time away from the immediate vicinity of an airport with one landing at least 25 nautical miles from original point of origin)

Major Subjects Covered In An instrument Training Course

  • Flight planning and route selection
  • Pre-flight cockpit checks and instrument scanning
  • Basic attitude instrument flying with timed turns, unusual attitudes and precision adjustments
  • Navigation utilizing ground and space-based systems
  • Meteorology and weather
  • How to use the Air Traffic Control IFR System (IFR communications, VOR/NDB/Glidescope-Intercept and tracking)
  • Flying instrument approaches including non-precision, precision, procedure turns, holds, and missed approaches
  • Emergency procedures

The two most expensive components of instrument training are for the hours spent in a flight simulator, followed by the hours of actual flight training in an airplane. Keep in mind your costs will be significantly higher at schools that do not utilize simulators. This is because you will have to rent an airplane for all your instrument training at a cost of around $110 per hour compared to about $40 per hour in a simulator.

Average Instrument Training Costs:

  • $6,000 - with flight simulators
  • $8,200 - without flight simulators

Other costs:

  • Instrument Trainging Kit/DVD’s - $400
  • FAA written and flight exams - $500
  • FAA Examiners fee - $350
  • Aircraft rental costs for FAA flight test - $400

Total estimated costs: $7,000 to $10,000+

Cost For An Instrument Rating Pilot License

It is important to understand that in most flying schools, their estimated costs are not fixed but in reality are based on averaging the number of hours taken by previous students to master the program. In other words, there is no set timetable for completing the course since each student progresses at their own pace. Since the majority of the cost comes from the number of rental hours for the airplane and the number of hours with a flight instructor, the longer it takes an individual to acquire instrument rating skills, the more expensive the training will be.

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