Adding an instrument rating to your private pilot certificate increases pilot proficiency and gives you the opportunity to travel more often — even on the cloudiest of days. Contact us today for more information!

How to Obtain an Instrument Rating


  • Have at least a private pilot certificate prior to completion of instrument rating
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Proof of US citizenship, or for non-US citizens you must obtain TSA approval (AFSP)
  • Have at least a third-class FAA medical certificate

Getting Started

  • Contact Sweet Aviation to meet our training manager
    • Discuss instrument training plan & instrument ground school options
  • Begin instrument ground school and/or instrument flight training

Flight Training Requirements

  • A minimum of 40 hours of actual or simulated instrument time to include:
    • 15 hours of dual instruction from a CFII
    • One cross-country flight that is performed under IFR and consists of ATC-directed routing, an instrument approach at each airport, and three different kinds of approaches with the use of navigation systems (ILS, LOC, VOR, ADF, GPS)
      • Airplane certification requires 250 nm total distance
      • Helicopter certification requires 150 nm total distance
    • Three hours of flight test preparation within preceding two calendar months of the practical test (check ride)

Final Steps

  • Pass your FAA Instrument Knowledge exam
  • Fulfill the minimum requirements of flight time and training specified by the FAA
  • Pass oral and flight tests given by the FAA or an approved designated pilot examiner

Q: What does it cost to get an instrument rating? Is it valuable?
A: It is similar in cost to a private pilot certificate. Much like the private pilot certificate, we provide several different pricing options to obtain your instrument rating. An instrument rating’s primary value is the advancement of your piloting skills, which allows you to safely fly in more challenging weather conditions.

Q: How do you actually practice instrument flight?
A: There are a few different ways to train. You can obtain instrument time through flight training in the clouds with an instructor, flying while wearing a view-limiting device alongside an instructor/safety pilot, or you can use an FAA-certified simulator. Sweet Aviation has all three options available!

Instrument Rating

Email us or give us a call at (260) 267-5505 if you have questions or would like more information.