Instrument ratings

Ratings and further training

If you have an EASA PPL and already have a night rating you can train for an EASA instrument rating (IR). This will allow you to fly under Instrument Flight Rules in any class of airspace and on instrument approaches down to a minimum decision height of 200 feet. In practice this includes legally flying in cloud or in weather where visibility is not good enough for normal VFR operation, and to fly in all classes of airspace with suitably equipped aircraft and clearances, and make approved instrument approaches.

The IR is valid for 1 year from the date you pass the skills test. To revalidate the rating you must pass a proficiency check within three months of expiry. To renew the rating after it has expired you need to take refresher training and pass a proficiency check at an ATO which has been approved to conduct IR training.

To apply for an IR for aeroplanes (IR(A)) you must already have a night rating and have flown at least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as a pilot in command in aeroplanes, helicopters or airships. At least 10 hours of the 50 must have been in aeroplanes. A cross-country flight is defined as a flight from a point of departure to arrival following a pre-planned route using standard navigation techniques.

You'll need to be trained at a Flight Training Organisation or ATO to complete a course to pass an exam and skills test. This will include:

  • 10 hours of basic instrument time under instruction
  • 40 hours single-engine or 45 hours multi-engine procedural instrument time under instruction 
  • A theoretical knowledge course of at least 150 hours, which must be completed within 18 months
  • At least 50 hours single-engine or 55 hours multi-engine instrument time under instruction
  • Successful completion of flying exercises as part of a skills test

To apply for an IR for helicopters (IR(H)) you must already have a night rating and have flown at least 50 hours of cross-country flight time as a pilot in command in aeroplanes, helicopters or airships. At least 10 hours of the 50 must have been in helicopters. A cross-country flight is defined as a flight from a point of departure to arrival following a pre-planned route using standard navigation techniques.

You'll need to be trained at a Flight Training Organisation or ATO to complete an approved IR(H) modular course to pass an exam and skills test. This will include:

  • A theoretical knowledge course of at least 150 hours, which must be completed within 18 months
  • At least 50 hours single-engine or 55 hours multi-engine instrument time under instruction
  • Successful completion of flying exercises as part of a skills test