• You will need an instrument rating attached to your licence if you want to fly under instrument flight rules. The instrument rating enables you to fly the aircraft solely with reference to the in-cockpit instrumentation. This means you will be able to fly in cloud and other circumstances of reduced visibility.

    You can complete an IR for the following aircraft categories:

    • Aeroplanes
    • Helicopters
    • Airships

    Once you have completed you IR, you will be able to fly under IFR with a minimum decision height of 200 feet (60 m) on instrument approach procedures.

    Before applying for an IR

    You need to have met certain pre-requisite requirements.  These are explained below.

    You will need to hold a current and valid Class 1 Part medical or Class 2 medical with a valid audiogram to apply.

  • As part of the application for an instrument rating, exams will need to be taken and passed in the following subject areas:

    • Air law
    • Aircraft general knowledge - instrumentation
    • Flight performance and monitoring
    • Human performance
    • Meteorology
    • Radio navigation
    • IFR communications

    This should be completed as part of a course at an appropriately authorised ATO.

    In some instances you can elect to take ATPL theoretical knowledge examinations instead of instrument rating exams.

    If you already hold an instrument rating in another category of aircraft

    If you hold an instrument rating held in one category of aircraft, it will fulfil the theoretical knowledge requirements for an instrument rating in any other category of aircraft. The instrument rating must be issued onto an EASA licence for this to apply.

     

    You will need to pass a skill test to demonstrate that you can perform the relevant procedures and manoeuvres to an appropriate standard.

    For a multi-engine aircraft IR you will need to take your skill test in a multi-engine aircraft, and for a single-engine aircraft IR you will need to take your skill test in a single-engine aircraft. Multi-engine centreline thrust aeroplanes cannot be used as a multi-engine aircraft for the skill test.

    Please refer to Standard Document 1A (for aeroplanes) and 1H (for helicopters), 7 A/H and Appendix 7 to Part FCL.

  • Training

    Aim

    To gain an instrument rating by completing a standalone training course.

  • Licence

    You must hold one of the following licences: 

    • an ATPL
    • a CPL (H) or
    • a PPL (H)

    If you want to use the privileges of the IR (H) at night and you only hold a PPL (H), you will also need to hold a Night rating. 

    Flying experience 

    You must also have completed at least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as PIC in aeroplanes, TMGs, helicopters or airships, of which at least 10 hours must be in helicopters. However, if you have completed an ATP (H)/IR, ATP (H), CPL (H)/IR or CPL (H) integrated training course, you will not need to meet this requirement. 

    Ratings 

    If you want to complete the helicopter instruction phase of the IR (H) course, you must hold the helicopter type rating used for the IR (H) skill test, or have completed approved type rating training on that type. 

    If your skill test is going to be conducted in multi-pilot conditions, you must also hold a certificate of satisfactory completion of MCC, or be MCC exempt. 

    Completing your training

    All instructional stages must be completed in one continuous approved course of training.

    You must complete at least 150 hours of theoretical knowledge instruction. 

    You must pass the relevant theoretical knowledge exams within an 18 month period. 

    Theoretical knowledge crediting 

    If you hold an ATPL (H), the theoretical knowledge instruction time can be reduced by 50 hours. 

    If you have passed the theoretical knowledge exams for an ATPL (H) VFR, you will only need to pass the following exams: 

    • Air Law
    • Flight Planning and Flight Monitoring
    • Radio Navigation
    • IFR Communications

    If you have passed the theoretical knowledge examinations for a CPL (H), you will be credited the  exams below: 

    • Human Performance
    • Meteorology

    Applicants holding an IR(A)

    If you have already passed the aeroplane instrument rating theoretical knowledge exams, you are credited with Human Performance and Meteorology at CPL level.

    Flying training (single engine)

    You must complete at least 50 hours of instrument time under instruction, of which:

    • up to 20 hours may be instrument ground time in an FNPT I (H) or (A). (These 20 hours may be substituted by 20 hours instruction time for IR(H) in an aeroplane approved for this course); or
    • up to 35 hours may be instrument ground time in a helicopter FTD 2/3, FNPT II/III or FFS.

    The instrument flight instruction must include at least 10 hours in an IFR-certificated multi-engine helicopter.

    You must take a skill test at the end of your training course in the single engine helicopter type that the training was taken in.

    Crediting

    If you hold an IR (A) the total single-engine flying training requirement can be reduced by 10 hours.  This cannot be used in place of the 10 hours instrument instruction flown in an IFR certified single engine helicopter.

     


    Flying credits for ICAO third country licence holders

    Complete a minimum of 15 hours instrument time under instruction including recommendation for test in accordance with the approved procedures of the ATO, of which 5 hours may be in a FNPT I or 10 hours in a FNPT II or higher qualified device.

    Holders of a current and valid IR(H) issued in accordance with ICAO Annex 1, but with privileges obtained on single-engine helicopters only, seeking a Part-FCL-FCL ME IR(H) will be required to attend an approved IR(H) training provider. In addition to the  15 hours instrument time under instruction training, an applicant must comply with the Part-FCL requirements for an ME Type Rating and the Part-FCL SE(IR) to ME(IR) training course requirements of FCL.630.H


    Flying training (multi-engine)

    You must complete at least 55 hours instrument time under instruction, of which:

    • up to 20 hours may be instrument ground time in an FNPT I (H) or (A). (These 20 hours may be substituted by 20 hours instruction time for IR(H) in an aeroplane approved for this course); or
    • up to 40 hours may be instrument ground time in a helicopter FTD 2/3, FNPT II/III or FFS.

    The instrument flight instruction must include at least 10 hours in an IFR-certificated multi-engine helicopter.

    You must take a skill test at the end of your training course in the multi engine helicopter type that the training was taken in.

    Crediting

    If you hold an IR (A) the total multi-engine flying training can be reduced by 10 hours.

    This credit cannot be used in place of the 10 hours instrument instruction flown in an IFR certified multi engine helicopter. 

    If you hold a PPL (H) with a night rating or a CPL (H) the total instrument time under instruction can be reduced by 5 hours.


    Extending from single to multi-engine

    If you have completed the single-engine flying training for IR (H) and you are extending to multi-engine helicopters, you will need to complete a training course at an ATO comprising at least 5 hours dual instrument instruction time, of which 3 hours may be in an FFS or FTD 2/3 or FNPT II/III. You must take a skill test in a multi-engine helicopter at the end of this training course. 


    Extending helicopter instrument privileges to another helicopter type 

    Holders of an IR(H) who want to extend it to further types must have an additional 2 hours flight training on type by sole reference to instruments according to IFR which may be conducted in a FFS C/D or FTD 2/3. 


    Extending single engine helicopter privileges to multi engine helicopter privileges 

    Holders of an SE IR(H) wishing to extend the IR privileges to an ME IR(H) for the first time should complete at least 5 hours training. 


    Extending privileges on the same type rating from SPH to MPH (except for initial MP issue) or from MPH to SPH

    2 hours of training in a helicopter or using FFS C/D: at least 1 hour helicopter and at least 3 hours total.

  • Renewal and revalidation of instrument ratings

  • To renew their privileges applicants need to:

    • go through refresher training at an ATO to reach the level of proficiency needed to pass the instrument element of the skill test in accordance with Appendix 9 to Part-FCL;

      and

    • complete a proficiency check in accordance with Appendix 9 to Part-FCL, in a helicopter.

    If the IR(H) has not been revalidated or renewed within the preceding 7 years, he holtder will be required to pass again the IR theoretical knowledge examination and skill test.

    The UK CAA has adopted a derogation against FCL.625(d), see paragraph 5.3. The year period specified in FCL.625(d) commences from the date the IR(H) rating has expired.

    FCL.625(d): IR Renewal requirement for pilots who hold or have held an IR on An ICAO 3rd country licence

    The UK CAA has adopted a derogation such that where a pilot holds or has held an instrument Rating issued by a third country and that rating is compliant with Annex I to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the applicability of FCL.625 IR(c) and (d) may be based on the validity dates of the Instrument Rating of that other country.

    The effect of this exemption is that to renew the IR on a UK issued licence:

    • (i) a pilot with a current and valid 3rd country IR shall complete the revalidation requirements of FCL.625(b) and the aircraft category specific requirements for revalidation of the Part-FCL IR; meaning that he must pass the proficiency check, but is not required to undergo training or to re-take the theoretical knowledge
      examinations;
      or
    • (ii) a pilot who held a 3rd country IR that is no longer valid but had been revalidated or renewed within the preceding 7 years shall comply with the renewal requirements of FCL.625 IR(c), but is not required to re-take the theoretical knowledge examinations.

    United Kingdom Alternative Means of Compliance AltMoC1 FCL.625(c) IR t MoC1 FCL.625(c) IR - Validity, revalidation and renewal

    Renewal of instrument rating: refresher training

    Paragraph (c) of FCL.625 determines that if the instrument rating has lapsed, the applicant shall go through refresher training at an ATO, to reach the level of proficiency needed to pass the instrument element of the skill test in accordance with Appendix 9 to Part-FCL.

    The amount of refresher training needed should be determined on a case-by-case basis by the ATO, considering the following factors:

    • the experience of the applicant;
    • the amount of time elapsed since the privileges of the rating were last used;
      and
    • where considered necessary, the performance of the applicant in an IR test in the FSTD or under actual or simulated IMC in an aircraft. It should be expected that the amount of training needed to reach the desired level of competence will increase with the time elapsed since the privileges of the rating were last used.

    Once the ATO has determined the needs of the applicant, it should develop an ndividual training programme based on the ATO's approved IR training course, Focussing on the aspects where the applicant has shown the greatest needs.

    Theoretical knowledge instruction should be included as necessary. The performance If the applicant should be reviewed during the training and additional instruction Provided where necessary to reach the standard required for the proficiency check.

    Training completion certificates

    After successful completion of the training, the ATO should provide a training completion certificate to the applicant, describing the training provided. The training completion certificate should be presented to the Examiner prior to the proficiency check.

    Following the successful renewal of the rating, the completion certificate and examiner report form should be submitted to the competent authority, together with the relevant application form if the examiner cannot sign the certificate of revalidation in Section XII of the UK-issued licence.

    Signing the certificate of validation

    Licence holders, ATOs and examiners are reminded that examiners are only authorised to sign the certificate of validation in Section XII (page 5 onwards) of a UK-issued licence when the rating is still shown on page 4 (Section XII) of the licence. If the rating is no longer printed on page 4 (Section XII) of the licence, but appears in the section “ratings previously held by holder”, the rating is no longer included in the licence and cannot be reinstated by an
    examiner. In those circumstances application for renewal of the rating must be made to the CAA so that the rating may be made valid by being included in the licence again.

    An IR(H) can be revalidated within the 3 months immediately preceding the expiry date of the rating.

    Applicants who fail to pass the relevant section of an IR(H) proficiency check before the expiry date of the IR(H) shall not exercise the IR (H) privileges until they have passed the proficiency check.

    When revalidating an IR(H):

    1. when combined with the revalidation of a type rating, applicants must complete a
      proficiency check in accordance with Appendix 9 to this Part, for the relevant
      type of helicopter.

    2. when not combined with the revalidation of a type rating, applicants must complete
      only section 5 and the relevant parts of section 1 of the proficiency check established in Appendix 9 to Part-FCL for the relevant type of helicopter. In this case, an FTD 2/3 or an FFS representing the relevant type of helicopter may be used, but at least each alternate proficiency check for the revalidation if an IR(H) in these circumstances shall be performed in a helicopter.

    Cross credits detailed in Appendix 8 can only be used when both IRs are current and valid.

    Credits shall be granted only when the holder is revalidating IR privleges for single-engine and single-pilot multi-engine helicopters as appropriate.

    When a proficiency check, including IR, is performed and the holder as a valid:  Credit is valid towards the IR part in a proficiency check for: 
     MPH type rating  SE type rating (*) and SP ME type rating (*)
     SP ME type rating, operated as single pilot  SE type rating, SP ME type rating
     SP ME type rating, restricted to multi-pilot operation   SE type rating (*) and SP ME type rating (*)

    * Provided that within the preceding 12 months at least 3 IFR departures and approaches have been performed on an SP type of helicopter in an SP operation.




  • How to apply

    You will need to hold a valid English Language Proficiency and your valid Part MED Medical certificate must be held on our UK database.  


    For all other routes, please apply via our postal application forms with all other required associated documents listed in the guidance of the application forms ( such as ID and logbooks):

        If you are applying on the basis of training and testing conducted by a non UK approved EASA Part FCL Approved Training Organisation you must provide copies of the following:

        • the ATO’s PART ORA approval certificate;
        • the examiners licence, medical and authorisation certificate;
        • return email confirmation from testnotification@caa.co.uk

        If you are applying on the basis of a Third country ICAO licence conversion you will need to provide us:

        • the original Third country ICAO licence ,validating medical certificate and certificate of revalidation; or
        • a copy certified by the Head of Training of an Approved Training Organisation (ATO), or the holder of a registration for a Registered Training Facility (RTF), or a UK approved examiner
        • original logbooks or electronic logbooks 
        • Electronic logbooks are acceptable for all types of application provided they have been printed, signed and dated.

          If your ICAO licence does not show the validity dates of the ratings, please submit certified copies of logbook pages showing the rating validity and test dates.


      • Related Information

        How to find a UK examiner or UK approved school

        EASA ratings list and flight simulators