VFR flying is great about three months out of the year, and marginal for about four more months. From November to March, though, you end up canceling a lot of flights because of weather.

The instrument rating is probably the most satisfying rating to get. Your VFR flying will improve with better control and better knowledge of the navaids and the air traffic control system. You are less likely to be grounded because of a low base of scud or rainstorms between you and your destination. And there’s nothing better than getting into the plane after two weeks of gray skies and popping out “on top” into glorious sunshine.

Making the decision to go for an instrument rating is not done lightly. It’s at least as expensive to obtain as the Private Pilot certificate, and maybe more difficult. It offers many opportunities, but one has to be aware that overconfidence can lead the pilot into situations more serious than the VFR pilot may get into. It can also get the pilot out of those situations.

What does it take to get an Instrument Rating?

Prerequisites

  • A Private Pilot’s Certificate.
  • At least 50 Hours of cross-country flight after the private
Optional Knowledge

BEFA offers an instrument ground school at least twice a year if demand allows it. This ground school will prepare you for the instrument written examination.

Costs for Flight Training and Tests

Only 40 hours of instrument time is required by FARs. 60 hours is a very conservative figure; you may complete it in less time. But taking the conservative assumption, the approximate cost of an Instrument rating in addition to your monthly dues and insurance is as follows:

  • 60 hours flight time in a C172 @ $121/hr..........$7,260
  • 60 hours dual instruction @ $60/hr .....................$3,600
  • Instrument written examination ............................$ 150
  • Flight test exam .............................................................$ 300
  • Tax on flights ...................................................................$ 726
  • Total................................................................................$12,036