The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) today welcomed a proposal from the European Commission to allow the UK to continue issuing the Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) rating for pilots until April 2019. The move follows considerable effort by the CAA and UK GA to support the retention of the rating.
Since its introduction in the 1960s the IMC rating has been acquired by thousands of UK private pilots to help them plan and fly safely in instrument weather conditions. ‘National’ ratings, such as the IMC, were to be phased out by April 2014, but today’s proposal, which is expected to be included in the next amendment of the European Aircrew Regulation, will extend this deadline, allowing flying schools to continue offering IMC training and many more UK pilots to add the rating to their licences.
It had previously been agreed that pilots who already held the rating before April 2014 would be allowed to use it indefinitely within the UK and to transfer it to a new EASA Private Pilot’s Licence as an Instrument Rating (Restricted) and this agreement remains.
Praising the move, Andrew Haines, CAA Chief Executive, said: “The IMC rating has proven itself over the years to be a valuable safety tool for UK general aviation - training private pilots to cope with our very unpredictable weather systems. This is a sensible way forward which will aid flight safety in the UK. One of my first commitments to the GA community was that the CAA would argue strongly for the retention of the IMC rating and the privileges and safety benefits it brings. We will continue to make the case for the permanent preservation for the benefit of future generations of pilots.”
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The CAA is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include: making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards; preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency; planning and regulating all UK airspace; and regulating airports, air traffic services and airlines and providing advice on aviation policy.