• 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 and operate aeroplanes under IFR and in IMC conditions.

  • Licence

    You must hold one of the following licences: 

    • at least a PPL(A) and FRTOL
      or
    • a CPL(A)
      or
    • an ATPL in another category of aircraft

    If you want to use the privileges of the IR(A) at night and you only hold a PPL(A) 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 Pilot in Command (PIC) in aeroplanes, TMGs, helicopters or airships of which at least 10 hours shall be in aeroplanes. 

    Ratings

    If you don't hold a CPL(A) and you want to complete the Procedural Instrument Flight Module you will need to have a Course Completion Certificate for the Basic Instrument Flight Module you will need to have a Course Completion Certificate for the Basic Instrument Flight Module before you take the course. 

    If you are completing a multi-engine IR(A) course but don't hold a multi-engine aeroplane class or type rating you will need to complete the training requirements for the multi-engine aeroplane before you start the IR(A) course. 

    Basic instrument flight module

    This consists of 10 hours of instrument time under instruction, of which up to 5 hours can be instrument ground time in a BITD, FNPT I or II, or an FFS.  Once you have completed this you will be issued with a course completion certificate. 

    Procedural instrument flight module

    This consists of the remainder of the training syllabus for the IR(A), 40 hours single engine or 45 hours multi-engine instrument time under instruction and the theoretical knowledge course for the IR(A). 

    You will need to complete an integrated or modular course.

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

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

    You must demonstrate a level of theoretical knowledge appropriate to the privileges granted in the following subjects:

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

    Theoretical knowledge crediting

    An applicant for an IR or an EIR having passed the relevant theoretical examinations for a CPL in the same aircraft category is credited towards the theoretical knowledge requirements in the following subjects: 

    • Human performance
    • Meteorology
    An applicant with a valid IR (H) is exempt from the theoretical examinations for the IR (A).

    Flying training (single engine)

    A single engine IR(A) course must include at least 50 hours instrument time under instruction, of which: 

    • up to 20 hours may be instrument ground time in a FNPT I
      or
    • up to 35 hours in an FFS or FNPT II.  A maximum of 10 hours of FNPT II or an FFS instrument ground time may be conducted in a FNPT I

    You must take a skill test in a single engine aeroplane at the end of your training course. 

    For more details please check Appendices 6 and 7 of Part FCL and Standards documents 1A and 7.

    Flying training (multi-engine)

    A multi-engine IR(A) course must include at least 55 hours instrument time under instruction, of which: 

    • up to 25 hours may be instrument ground time in a FNPT I
      or
    • up to 40 hours in a FFS or FNPT II.  A maximum of 10 hours of FNPT II or an FFS instrument ground time may be conducted in a FNPT I

    The remaining instrument flight instruction shall include at least 15 hours in multi-engine aeroplanes.

    You must take a skill test in a multi-engine aeroplane at the end of your training course.

    For more details please check Appendices 6 and 7 of Part FCL and Standards documents 1A and 7.

    Flying training (single engine to multi-engine)

    A course of at least 5 hours instruction in instrument flying in multi engine aeroplanes, of which up to 3 hours may be in a FFS or FNPT II.

     

  • Renewal and revalidation of instrument ratings

  • If an IR(A) has expired, 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 an aeroplane. If the IR(A) has not been revalidated or renewed within the preceding 7 years, the holder 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 7 year period specified in FCL.625(d) commences from the date the IR(A) rating has expired.

    FCL.625(d): IR Renewal requirement for pilots who hold or have held an IR on another 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 he 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:

    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
    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 Alt 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, taking into account 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 llast used.

    Once the ATO has determined the needs of the applicant, it should develop an individual 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 of 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 certificate

    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

    Note: 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 icence, 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.

    When combined with the revalidation of a class or type rating, applicants must complete a proficiency check in accordance with Appendix 9 to Part-FCL;

    When not combined with the revalidation of a class or type rating, applicants must :

    • for single-pilot aeroplanes, complete section 3b and those parts of section 1 relevant to the intended flight, of the proficiency check prescribed in Appendix 9 to Part-FCL;

      and

    • for multi-engine aeroplanes, complete section 6 of the proficiency check for single-pilot aeroplanes in accordance with Appendix 9 to Part-FCL by sole reference to instruments.

    • An FNPT II or an FFS representing the relevant class or type of aeroplane may be used in the case of paragraph (2), but at least each alternate proficiency check for the revalidation of an IR(A) in these circumstances shall be performed in an aeroplane.

    Cross-credit shall be given in accordance with Appendix 8 to Part-FCL.

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

    Cross-crediting of the IR part of a class or type rating proficiency check

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

    When a proficiency check including IR is performed, and the holder has a valid: Credit is valid towards the IR part in a proficiency check for:

    MP type rating;

    High performance complex aeroplane type rating

    SE class

    and

    SE type rating

    and

    SP ME class, and SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating, only credits for section 3B of the skill test for single pilot non-high performance complex aeroplane of Appendix 9

    SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating, operated as single-pilot

    SP ME class 

    and

    SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating,

    and

    SE class and type rating

    SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating, restricted to MP operation   a. SP ME class
    and
     b. SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating
    and
    c. SE class and type rating
    SP ME class rating, operated as single-pilot

    SE class and type rating, and

    SP ME class, and

    SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating

    SP ME class rating, restricted to MP operation

    SE class and type rating

    and

    SP ME class 

    and

    SP ME non-high performance complex aeroplane type rating

    SP SE class rating SE class and type rating
    SP SE type rating SE class and type rating

     




  • How to apply

    e-Licensing

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

    • If you have completed a IR (A) modular course or are applying via the CBIR modular route, please download CAA5011 and apply using our e-Licensing system.
    • If you are applying via the UK Military Accreditation Scheme , you need to download CAA 5014 and apply using our e-Licensing system.
    • Please note that if you are converting from a 3rd country licence, you will need to complete the verification process first via SRG2142. Your original logbook may be requested as part of our quality process.

    Postal applications

    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