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Instrument Rating

Expand your flying options with an Instrument Rating. With an instrument training program, you could earn your rating in as little as a month.

What is an Instrument Rating?

An instrument rating opens up a whole new world: mainly, the world of Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). It allows you to legally fly without being able to see the ground or horizon. More than that, it vastly increases your situational awareness and proficiency as a pilot.

Instrument pilot training includes classroom instruction, flight time, and training in our full-motion simulators in order to increase your knowledge, skills, and comfort level with instrument flying.

Learn to fly with the instrument panel during you instrument training

Is Instrument Training Worth It?

Pilot ratings are expensive, so you may be wondering what use the instrument rating would have for you.

If you’re planning on a career as a pilot, getting your instrument rating is a requirement. It will help you increase your abilities while also giving you the authority to fly in IFR conditions, a must-have for nearly every commercial operator. You’ll then have to earn your commercial pilot certificate so you can be paid to fly.

If you’re a recreational pilot, instrument training will help you expand your abilities and allow you to fly in a variety of weather conditions.

What are the Requirements to Earn an Instrument Rating?

The requirements for instrument training are laid out in the Federal Aviation Regulations.

  • Hold at least a Private Pilot Certificate.
  • You must be able to read, speak, write, and understand English.
  • Pass the required FAA knowledge test.

Instrument Rating Flight Requirements:

Instrument Training under Part 61:

  • 50 hours of PIC Cross Country Time
  • 40 hours of Instrument Time (Actual or Simulated)
  • 15 hours of Flight Time from an Authorized Instructor
  • A cross country flight of at least 250 nautical miles

Instrument Training under Part 141:

  • 35 hours of Instrument Time (Actual or Simulated)
  • 30 hours of Ground Training
  • A cross country flight of at least 250 nautical miles

Once you’ve met all of these requirements for an instrument rating, you take a practical exam (also called a checkride) that consists of both an oral question and answer session and a flight check. If you pass both, you’ll earn your instrument rating.

What Does Instrument Training Look Like?

Your instrument training at Thrust Flight will be done one-on-one with a flight instructor.

Whether you’re doing accelerated instrument training or go at your own pace training, the typical lesson is the same.

You’ll meet with your instructor for a few minutes to review your homework and see if you’re ready for the flight or simulator session. During the flight, you’ll practice maneuvers or scenarios that train you to fly in IFR conditions.

Sometimes, you work on a particular skill like landings. Other times, you work on an entire set of skills, like navigating to a new airport.

Once the flight is over, you’ll debrief with your instructor. You review your performance and discuss the things that went well—and the things that didn’t go so well. From this, you put together a plan for next time.

Most flight lessons are done in two to three-hour flight blocks based on your schedule.

Instrument training

How Long Does it Take to Get Your Instrument Rating?

Instrument training typically takes 2 to 4 months.

However, how long it takes is really up to you. An accelerated instrument training program can get you through training in as little as 3 weeks. But that will require full-time training and some diligent work and study on your part.

If you aren’t doing an accelerated instrument program, we recommend training at least 2-3 times every week. Any less than that and your progress slows dramatically.

Instrument Rating Program Overview

Instrument Rating Includes:

  • 21 hrs. of dual flight training in an air-conditioned Cessna 172 with G1000 avionics suite
  • 14 hrs. of RedBird full-motion simulator training
  • 30 hrs. of personalized knowledge (ground) instruction
  • Jeppesen Instrument Pilot Training System
  • Pilot Syllabus
  • Flight Bag


  • Hold at least a current private pilot certificate.
  • Be able to read, write, and converse in fluent English.
  • Hold BasicMed or 3rd class (or higher) medical certificate.
  • Not a prerequisite but you may also want to attend instrument pilot ground school.

Looking to become an Airline Pilot? Contact us to learn more about our Zero Time to Airline Program.

Common Questions About Instrument Training

Does an instrument rating have any restrictions?

The instrument rating frees you from many of the private pilot restrictions. But there is one big one that still applies, and that’s the ability to charge a fee for flying passengers or cargo. In order to earn money as a pilot you’ll need to go on and earn your commercial certificate.

Can I Get a Job With an instrument rating?

Unfortunately, you cannot get a job with an instrument rating. You’ll still need to continue your training with a commercial certificate.

What Comes After instrument training?

As shared in the questions above, the next step in your flight training journey is typically a commercial certificate if you’re working towards a career as a pilot. Then you’ll likely pursue your CFI and CFII and then multi-engine rating.

If you aren’t working towards a career as a pilot, most people stop at an instrument rating. You could, however, earn a multi-engine rating or add an endorsement like a seaplane endorsement or high-performance endorsement.