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Estimated Costs for Additional Ratings Beyond Private Rating

You have worked hard to get your Private Pilot License, but there is so much more to learn and the more you learn and experience, the better and safer a pilot you will be. Below is an overview of additional ratings and average costs to help you plan to take things to the next level.

Please click the “+” sign below each panel for additional information pertaining to the ratings featured on this page.

Instrument Economic Path

Economic Training Aircraft (ie: C172)
$ 170/hr aircraft
  • Dual Flight Time (60hrs) ($16,200)
  • Membership Dues (12mos) ($540)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)
  • Books & Supplies ($300)
  • Ground School ($250)
  • FAA Knowledge Test ($150)
  • Optional Simulator Credit SAVE: $2,200

Instrument Higher Performance Path

Newer/Higher Performance Training Aircraft (ie: C182 G1000)
$ 250 hour aircraft
  • Dual Flight Time (60hrs) ($21,000)
  • Membership Dues (12mos) ($540)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)
  • Books & Supplies ($300)
  • Ground School ($250)
  • FAA Knowledge Test ($150)
  • Optional Simulator Credit SAVE: $4,000.00

Truly a must have for all pilot's who have achieved their Private Pilot Rating. Learn the skills to fly under more difficult conditions. Sudden weather changes, visibility conditions, complicated airspaces, can create additional overhead on a Pilot in Command. Getting your instrument rating will make you a safer and better pilot for certain.

Instrument Pilots – Flying in Weather

  • Be at least 17 years old to take FAA practical test
  • Hold at least a current Private Pilot’s License
  • Be able to read, speak, and write in English
  • Hold a current medical or pass a physical exam administered by an aviation medical examiner (or basic med)
  • Pass a written exam (at least 70%)
  • Complete a practical test with FAA examiner

Legal Minimum Required Instruction

  • 40 hours total instrument time*
  • 15 hours minimum of flight instruction
  • 50 hours of PIC cross-country time
  • 3 hours of preparation for practical test

*National average is significantly higher *Up to 20hrs. of the 40hrs. can be done on a G1000 AATD simulator with a CFII

Steps to becoming an Instrument Rated Pilot

  • Basic Training: attitude instrument flying, instrument approaches, missed approaches, IFR communications (approx. 30 hours).
  • Cross-country: IFR navigation and handling emergencies (approx. 20 hours).
  • Practical test: Preparation for the FAA practical test (approx. 10 hours). Instrument phase check required

Estimated Cost for Commercial Pilot

Economic Training Aircraft (ie: C172)
$ 170/hr aircraft
  • Prerequisite: Private Pilot License (if needed) (average $22,690)
  • Instrument Rating (if needed) (average $15,940)
  • Dual Flight Time (20hrs) ($5,400)
  • Solo Flight Time (90hrs) ($15.300)
  • Membership Dues (12 mos.) ($540)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)
  • FAA Knowledge Test ($150)
  • Medical Exam (if needed) ($150)

Commercial Pilots – Flying for Compensation

  • Be at least 18 years old to take FAA practical test
  • Be able to read, speak, and write in English
  • Pass a first or second class physical exam administered by an aviation medical examiner
  • Pass a written exam (at least 70%)
  • Complete a practical test with FAA examiner
  • Legal Minimum Required Instruction
  • 250 hours total flight time
  • 20 hours of flight instruction
  • 100 hours of PIC
  • 50 hours of cross country
  • 10 hours of complex
  • 10 hours of instrument
  • 3 hours of preparation for practical test

Steps to becoming a Commercial Pilot

  • Private pilot and instrument rating (most common)
  • Complex Checkout: Basic airplane handling, basic take-offs and landings Advanced take-offs and landings, handling emergencies, commercial maneuvers (approx. 10 hours).
  • Practical test: Preparation for the FAA practical test (approx. 5 hours). Phase check recommended.

Estimated Cost for Multi Engine Add-on

Multi Engine Aircraft
$ 495/hr aircraft
  • Dual Flight Time (20hrs) ($11,900)
  • Membership Dues (12mos) ($540)
  • FAA Practical Exam ($700)


  • Be at least 17 years old to take FAA practical test 
  • Hold at least single engine private pilot certificate 
  • Be able to read, speak, and write in English
  • Hold a current medical or pass a physical exam administered by an aviation medical   examiner (or basic med)
  • Complete a practical test with FAA examiner

Legal Minimum Required Instruction 

  • None

Steps to becoming a Multi-Engine Pilot 

  • Private pilot 
  • Multi-engine Checkout: Basic airplane handling, basic takeoffs and landings, advanced take-offs and landings, handling emergencies, special emphasis on single-engine operations (approx. 10 hours). Phase check required. 
  • Practical test: Preparation for the FAA practical test (approx.

Additional Information

Here are some great tips to save you money and help get you to those additional ratings quicker:

  • Tip #1: Fly more often
  • Tip #2: Fly a lower cost aircraft
  • Tip #3: Take advantage of block rates
  • Tip #4: Make use of club simulators
  • Tip #5: Come prepared for each lesson
  • Tip #6: Attend WVFC Ground Schools (new page)
  • Tip #7: Fly with other pilots
  • Tip #8: Learn the “lingo” on the ground.
  • Tip #9: Take advantage of membership discounts
  • Tip #10: Apply for a WVFC Scholarship