Instrument Training

We believe strongly in a highly structured curriculum for the instrument rating to make sure that fundamental skills are learned and demonstrated proficiently, before moving on to the next skill. We also want to make sure we can do this in the most cost effective way possible. Therefore, our Instrument Syllabus and lesson notes (created by Bill Lewis of SuccessLink Aviation, Inc. for Crosswinds Aviation) are designed to learn skills in our Redbird simulator prior to putting them into practice in the airplane. Once the syllabus has been completed, and if practice is still required to become proficient prior to the check-ride, the practice is completed in our Redbird sim with Pilotedge ATC services so the experience is just like flying IFR flights in the airplane. We have found that this produces a very high learning curve, a high degree of proficiency, at the lowest possible cost for our students.

First, here are the requirements by the FAA to achieve your Instrument Rating:

  • 50 hours PIC cross-country
  • 40 actual/simulated instrument time
  • 15 hours with an instructor

Looking to finance your Crosswinds Aviation instruction?

1st National Bank, right here in Howell and member FDIC, has a financing program to fit most any budget. As the local, community bank, 1st National works with customers on an individual basis. Their decisions are made across a desk and down the street – literally, instead of across the country. Contact Brian Byrd NMLS#728437 @1st National’s Downtown Howell branch at 517.545.2227 or email him at – just tell them Crosswinds Aviation sent you.

Step One: Flight Training Supplies

We have all these items in stock at Crosswinds Aviation so we can get you started right away.

  • Your Instrument Pilot Training syllabus ($15.00) – We will print and wire-bind a syllabus with your name on it, and your name pre-populated on each lesson. This will guide you through the entire process.  Each lesson includes a Required Pre-study section which will tell you exactly what you need to study in your Sporty’s Learn to Fly self-study course in order to make sure you’re well prepared for each lesson in the Syllabus.  Most lessons will also have a reference to lesson notes, which will give further guidance from Crosswinds Aviation for each lesson in the syllabus.
  • Sporty’s Learn to Fly Instrument Pilot course ($199.99) – This is a self-study course that will give you all the required knowledge and background necessary in order to become a safe instrument pilot.  You can choose to purchase this from Crosswinds Aviation in Online, iPad, or DVD format.  We recommend the Online format for most of our clients.  The iPad version is great if you want to download the video lessons to your iPad for offline viewing and the DVD version is good if you don’t have a fast enough internet connection to support online video streaming.
  • Instrument Flying/Instrument Procedures Combo ($37.95) – The FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook (previously called Flight Training Handbook) has been required reading for all pilots for more than 30 years! This book introduces the basic pilot skills and knowledge essential for piloting airplanes. It benefits student pilots just beginning their aviation endeavors, as well as those pilots wishing to improve their flying proficiency and aeronautical knowledge, pilots preparing for additional certificates or ratings, and flight instructors engaged in the instruction of both students and licensed pilots.

Step Two: Scheduling Flights

We use an Online Scheduling System at Crosswinds Aviation. You will login to the scheduling system and schedule your flight lessons at your convenience. How often you schedule will determine how quickly you get your instrument rating. If you can commit all day for three weeks straight, you can achieve your license in as little as 3 weeks. Most of our clients will schedule to fly about two times per week with some study time in between flights. This will get you completed in about 4-6 months.

In order to start scheduling flights with us, sign up on our online scheduling system here: Online Scheduling System

Once you go through the signup process, we will approve your scheduling system ID and you can start scheduling your flights. You will want to schedule a 2 hour block of time in the aircraft of your choice with your instructor.

Of course we are always available by phone to schedule your flights. If you are not at a computer or prefer to schedule by phone, you can always call us at 517-552-1101 to schedule your flights.

Step Three: Check-Ride Preparation

After you have completed all ground and flight lessons in the syllabus, you will have met the FAA requirements and should be ready for your check-ride. If further instrument practice is necessary to get ready for the check-ride, we have a set of recommended flights to do in the simulator with Pilot Edge which will take you from an easy instrument clearance to progressively more difficult clearances. Once these flights are completed in the sim, you should be ready for your check-ride.

There are some additional supplies at this part of the training that you will need for test prep materials:

  • GLEIM Instrument Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book ($24.95) – The primary purpose of the Gleim Instrument Pilot FAA Knowledge Test book is to provide you with the easiest, fastest, and least-expensive means of passing the FAA knowledge test.
  • that must be demonstrated before an examiner can issue a certificate or rating to an applicant, and describes background study and reference materials.
  • Instrument Oral Exam Guide ($12.95) – Written to help prepare applicants for their oral exams with FAA examiners. Using a question-and-answer format, each Oral Exam Guide lists the questions most likely to be asked by examiners and provides succinct, ready responses.

Step Four: Take Written, Oral & Practical Exams

After you complete all the ground lessons in your syllabus and have completed final review of the material, your instructor will sign you off for the written exam. You will need to go to a designated FAA testing center to take the written exam.

Once you have passed the written exam, completed all flight lessons in the syllabus, and successfully demonstrated all the required skills to your instructor, your instructor will sign you off for the Instrument Pilot check-ride with an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). Your instructor will help you schedule your check-ride for a time that is convenient for you.


You are now an Instrument Pilot and can enjoy the enhanced utility that flying an aircraft has to offer. There is truly nothing like it.