Frequently Asked Questions
What about me ?
I'm just a private pilot, is your training OK for me ?
Absolutely ! This training is well suited for European private or commercial pilots. The FAA
Instrument Rating is a step towards improving your pilot qualifications, not only a step on
a long Airline Pilot training.
Intensive ground training
What's the program ?
1st day :
o Presentation of the FAA system
o Weather services
o Flight Instruments
2nd day :
o Regulations & Procedures
3rd day :
o En Route
o Arrival & Approach
o Questions & Answers
What about the final knowledge test ?
Where can I take the test ?
All FAA testing centers based in Europe are closed, which means that you need to go to the US for the written exam.
You can find a list of Testing Centers on this pdf
or locate a CATS testing centers on this webpage.
How much does it cost ?
FAA approved centers have different pricelists for that test. If you choose FlightSafety La Guardia,
you will be charged approx EUR 135 for a knowledge test (pricelist reported for 2019).
What is Orbifly's Success Rate ?
Orbifly has a success rate of 100% or nearly 100% every year since 1999.
I've passed the knowledge test ! What's next ?
You have to take your check ride (practical test) within the following 2 years (24 months).
Since September 11th, you have to
register your training and school chosen
on the internet prior to begin your flight training.
During this online registration you'll pay $130 for the TSA process (credit card payment on the internet).
The school will then confirm with the TSA that you did register with them. As soon as you receive the confirmation email,
you can begin your training.
You have the possibility to change school during your training (no extra charge).
I registered my training on the internet, what are these "fingerprints" I'm being talked about ?
Since September 11th, it is now mandatory to provide fingerprints to the US Authorities before beginning
The fingerprints process can be done in
any TSA certified Print Office, such as FlightSafety Le Bourget (you can
plan an appointment for fingerprints the same day you go for your knowledge test).
The cost of these fingerprints is included in the $130 you already paid, so you won't be
charged once more by the TSA, but some Print Office may request a fee for this process.
How many flight hours before the IFR checkride (practical test) ?
You have to fly 40 hours instrument time (actual or simulated IMC), including at least 15 hours of dual time with
an FAA instructor. Maximum 10 hours can be done on an FAA-approved ground trainer (simulator).
I already have some simulated IMC flight hours, can they be included ?
Yes. However, expect some training in the area you'll be flying your test, in order to become familiar with
the instrument approaches you may fly for the checkride.
What are the experience requirements for the checkride
You should have flown a minimum of 50 hours of cross-country as PIC (Pilot In Command).
You also need an FAA pilot certificate (PPL or CPL). A US PPL can be issued on the basis of your European PPL,
by a simple mail exchange process, the "foreign license validation process", followed by an appointment in a
FSDO (District Office).
Since September the 11th, if you already have a US pilote certificate issued on the basis of your foreign license,
you need to renew the validation process no sooner than 6 months before your checkride (this does not change
your US certificate, it is just a Homeland Security Concern).
Do you know any good US flying school ?
Check the internet, most schools have a website !
Avoid Florida between august and october (hurricanes and CBs...). Some places are known to welcome a hudge
number of foreign student pilots (Orlando, Arizona, Los Angeles), and Air Traffic Controllers are very
understanding with them, and easier to understand than those in the middle of Texas.
Orbifly works closely with 3 Californian schools. These schools can propose appropriate cursus for
foreign students, for a full training or simply to finish up a training begun in Europe.
Back in Europe, what can I do with my US PPL-IFR ?
First, congratulations ! You have joined the ever-growing family of those European pilots flying with
that kind of rating !
Your US Instrument Rating has 2 main advantages. First, you can fly any IFR US-registered airplane in Europe,
without having ever the need to go back in US for any renewal process, all can be done in Europe.
Moreover, this is an increase in safety for any of your VFR flights. If one day you get trapped into bad weather or
on-top, you will have the skills to manage the situation safely.
Do I need a specific medical certificate ?
If your US license is based on your European license, you just need your European medical certificate to be valid.
If you decide to get a full US PPL or CPL, not based on any European license, then you'll need a US medical certificate.
Many doctors in Europe can provide a US medical certificate.
I'm owner of an OO- HB- or F- registered plane, can it be registered in N- ?
Yes, if the type of aircraft is known in the US (one is enough).
I want to travel around Europe for my job, is it possible with this US Instrument Rating ?
Yes, but be careful ! The Rating is not everything. To fly anywhere and anytime, you need a deiced aircraft, powerful
enough to fly at high levels (FL180 to cross the Alps).
Even a Robin DR400 will allow you to fly high pressure IFR (winter stratus), and reasonable summer IFR.
A quite large pannel of possibilities are still offered to you.
How to contact you ?
Click here !