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Cost of an Instrument Rating


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Instrument Flight Time- $20,781.00

Books, Supplies, Etc.- $3,739.06

 

Grand Total- $25,520.06

 

I just finished my Instrument Checkride a few days ago, and this is the grand total. I track my flight time, books, supplies, checkride fees, etc. on a couple of spreadsheets. All of my hours were in an R44 and there was no simulator time.

 

If anyone is interested in reviewing the data, I have it posted here. Just click on the hyperlinks to view the respective spreadsheets. You'll notice the dollar amounts at my website are higher since they include all of my flight time to date (Private + Instrument).

 

Cheers

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When I started my instrument, I was renting at $450 for dual. When gas prices spiked, my school increased the price to $470. I did about half my training at the $450 rate and the other half at $470.

 

My books, supplies, etc. category is a bit high due to UVSC tuition. Just over $2000 of that is tuition.

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You are creating an excellent resource. I really enjoyed reading your blog.

 

If only you could be a default response when newbies pop up on the forum.

 

Do you have a complete budget plan?

 

What does the UVSC tuition get you? How much extra book work is UVSC?

 

What questions do you have for those of us on the other side? (Currently working helicopter pilots - some even call us professionals.)

 

Maybe if I read more of the blog I would know the answers.

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Thanks Rotorwish. I'm hoping that the info I'm tracking will be helpful to the new guys who are trying to figure out how much training will cost. I didn't find a lot of info on the web when I started about the education process. Lots of info about being a pilot and how to get started, but very little for the 200+ hours of flying that take place in between.

 

I don't have a complete budget plan. I just crunch the numbers every couple of weeks based on the hours I have left to complete. One thing I've found is that the other expenses add up much more quickly than I thought they would. A lot of student pilots think about budget and just take 200 hours and multiply by the rental price of their machine. The cost of books, supplies, check rides, etc. really adds up. I never thought that number would be over $7,000 for me :o .

 

I've found UVSC to be a mixed bag. I thought their private ground course was excellent. It was well designed and did a great job of preparing you for the private written exam. I was very disappointed in the instrument ground course. The info was sparse and there were some slides in the online lectures that weren't complete... as if they had just stopped developing the material part way through the process. If it hadn't been for the ASA test prep software, I would never have been able to pass the instrument written. I got more from the $50 ASA software than I did from the $500 UVSC course.

 

What UVSC DOES do is give you access to money. Once you are pursuing a degree at UVSC, several financing options open up to you that would not be available otherwise.

 

As I think of questions for the experienced pilots, I'll be sure to post them here.

 

Sorry for the long post... hope this answers your questions.

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It is too bad about the cost of books. I have found that the information in books from the FAA (free to download and fairly cheap to purchase) is as good as the information in the 80-100 dollar text books, and in many cases more accurate and concise. Now, if you can find a DPE who allows the use of downloaded flight procedures publications, which are usually more current than what you get at the pilot shop, you can save even more money.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Spierman,

 

The online books seem like a good option if you're comfortable reading them on the computer screen. I've never been able to read more than a few pages of a digitized book on the computer screen. I'm much more comfortable reading from a paper book. It seems to me that the cost of printing hard copies from the .pdf files would negate the cost savings of just purchasing the book. I'm also on a CFI/CFII track and expect the books to pay off later as teaching tools.

 

I do think that if I had it to do over again, I would probably purchase the FAA publications rather than the Jeppesen textbooks. I've had a chance to look at both now, and think the FAA pubs are as good or better. I was required to use the Jepp books for UVSC.

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I have found that there is no substitute for redundancy. In many applications. Learning materials, instruments, whatever. I have used everything including FAA pubs, Jepp books, mentor pilots, the internet...whatever it takes to understand and learn the subject matter. Keep digging, it's all out there, and it gets easier eventually. :)

 

good luck

HG03

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Ya know.... you can almost cut R-44 instrument prices in half with a simulator. I did 20 hours in the fly-it, and right now I have 17 hours in the -44. Figure at most an hour or two past minimums for my checkride, it looks like I'll finish instrument for 14280. Less than my private (62 hours R-22) by about 4 grand.

 

Fly-it is your friend, as much as it may suck.

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Using a sim can save you money, but it doesn't always. It kind of depends on where you are in your training and what your goals are. Most people seem to aim to complete everything (cfii) around 200 hours of flight time in order to meet the SFAR cfi requirements without spending extra money. If you finish your private in a reasonable time, and work on your instrument rating while building time towards commercial minimums there is no reason (imo) not to use the aircraft for everything unless you are having a hard time and want to talk about it in the sim.

Otherwise you are paying for the simulator and instructor for the instrument time. Yet you will still pay for a helicopter, fuel surcharge and CFI for the flight time. With the prices a lot of places are charging, the total of those will be more than enough to fly dual in the R44.

I also find that you are pacing to accumulate more than 200 hours of flight time but need to save money, flying some instrument in a 172 is a great idea. Get some actual instrument time for a comparable cost to a flight training device.

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Using a sim can save you money, but it doesn't always. It kind of depends on where you are in your training and what your goals are. Most people seem to aim to complete everything (cfii) around 200 hours of flight time in order to meet the SFAR cfi requirements without spending extra money. If you finish your private in a reasonable time, and work on your instrument rating while building time towards commercial minimums there is no reason (imo) not to use the aircraft for everything unless you are having a hard time and want to talk about it in the sim.

Otherwise you are paying for the simulator and instructor for the instrument time. Yet you will still pay for a helicopter, fuel surcharge and CFI for the flight time. With the prices a lot of places are charging, the total of those will be more than enough to fly dual in the R44.

I also find that you are pacing to accumulate more than 200 hours of flight time but need to save money, flying some instrument in a 172 is a great idea. Get some actual instrument time for a comparable cost to a flight training device.

 

Well if I were going from 0-200TT in a R-44 Raven II, you'd be right. As it stands, I'm doing my instrument in the -44 and commercial/CFI in the 300CBi. Sim DEFINITELY saved me a good chunk of change and has not had any negative effects on my training. Yes, I'm paying for the sim, but I'm paying 100 bucks an hour for the first 20 hours. After that, all I pay is the instructor fee. I'd say that 2,000 dollars for 20 hours of honest instrument training is much better than, say, 9,000+ for that same amount of hours.

 

Now of course, that's my situation. Yours may vary for whatever reason. I'm still a big advocate of cheap practice time, and the sim definitely fills that role.

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Well if I were going from 0-200TT in a R-44 Raven II, you'd be right. As it stands, I'm doing my instrument in the -44 and commercial/CFI in the 300CBi. Sim DEFINITELY saved me a good chunk of change and has not had any negative effects on my training. Yes, I'm paying for the sim, but I'm paying 100 bucks an hour for the first 20 hours. After that, all I pay is the instructor fee. I'd say that 2,000 dollars for 20 hours of honest instrument training is much better than, say, 9,000+ for that same amount of hours.

 

Now of course, that's my situation. Yours may vary for whatever reason. I'm still a big advocate of cheap practice time, and the sim definitely fills that role.

 

Maybe my post didn't make sense. It makes a difference how much you pay for sim and aircraft also of course.

All I'm saying is, you still need the flight time no matter what. If the 300 cost say, $300, and the sim is $100, you could put that $400 toward flying an instrument trainer. May not make sense for you if the R44 is much more than that. But depending on rental rates and such it can make more sense (or almost) to fly an aircraft. Especially if you are planning on getting your R44 SFAR CFI endorsement. If you have an R22 or 300 instrument trainer than great! (although it is very slow and boring, lol)

 

I agree a training device can be a great tool! I had mixed experiences with students. I found it worked well to iron out "rough spots", train more on use of the gps equipment, and demonstrate some things. It is also nice to show them their track and talk about what happened, where and why. Other people couldn't concentrate, couldn't even fly it, and it was a waste of their time and money. Meanwhile they would do great in the helicopter.

 

I had great luck during my training with MS flight simulator at home when I felt like I just needed to go through my approach procedures. I could get out all of my approach plates that I normally use and run through them at the speeds I would normally fly and make sure I was doing things efficiently and correct. If I got behind I could pause. Load in bad weather and cross winds and fly NDB approaches. Saved me from having to do any more than the required minimums.

 

Overall, the main point I'm getting at is to plan ahead and build instrument time during your commercial training. I saw too many people get caught up in the "fun" of flying and end up with 200 hours, their commercial and CFI ratings but only 10-15 hours of instrument training. Now they had to pay for extra instruction and flying that could have been accomplished during their commercial training. Find out what keeps your overall costs down for what you want to accomplish and try to make that work for you. Talk to your CFI about what is and is not reasonable.

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