Instrument Rating

Anyone who holds a valid PPL or CPL is able to undertake Instrument training, providing they also hold a Class One Medical. It is more common that those holding a CPL or those possibly going on the fly commercially complete an IR, however a Private Pilot can also add an Instrument Rating, to enable them to fly their private aircraft in airways, for example.

Before you begin an Instrument Rating, what do you need?

As mentioned above, you are required to hold either a CPL licence or a PPL licence as this is merely a rating and is not valid alone. You will also require a valid Class One Medical (More information on that here) as well as having completed the required theoretical knowledge which consists of a number of Instrument based exams, many people opt to complete all 14 ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence) exams in case they decide to progress further in the future. You must also be 18 years of age for an Instrument Rating being issued.

What will I, and what am I required to do during the training?

All schools undertaking Instrument Rating training are what is known as ‘Flight Training Operations’ and have been assessed and approved by the Civil Aviation Authority, this includes instructors, facilities and quality of course. You will therefore be enlisted on this approved course which will consist of a minimum of 55 hours instrument training, for a Multi-Engine IR, or 50 hours for an IR in a Single-Engine aircraft. The course is very comprehensive and will teach you in detail the necessary skills to pilot an aircraft in controlled airspace under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).

As the training progresses you will be taught how to handle the aircraft under instruments, emergency procedures, holds, airways flying, procedural approaches and let-downs to commercial standards.

You must have completed the multiple choice examinations produced by the JAA (Joint Aviation Authority). To complete these examinations you must enroll at an approved ground training facility, which can mean you will complete your study in a class-room based environment or you can choose to do this by distance learning.

For the issue of an IR, you must have completed all of the above requirements, you will then be required to undertake a Licensing Skills Test with an approved CAA Examiner. Having passed this you can apply to the CAA for the issue of your Instrument Rating.

Find your local in our Flight School Directory.

So, what are the specific privileges of holding an Instrument Rating?

The holder of a JAR-IR is permitted to:

  • Fly in all weather conditions
  • Fly in Airways in accordance with either your CPL or PPL licence.

Is my licence valid for ever?

Your rating is valid for 12 months from the date of issue and must be re-validated by the following method:

  • A Proficiency check with an approved examiner.

If it is expired by more less than 5 years you will be required to complete further IR training/refreshment at your own discretion:

  • You’re then required to complete and pass a Skills test with an approved examiner.

What is the cost of obtaining an Instrument Rating?

Once again there is no fixed cost when gaining an instrument rating, it is set by the cost of a number of things, we’ve completed a list below, be sure to ask your prospective school how much each of the below cost before embarking on your training as some schools may avoid explaining the extras!

  • Hourly aircraft hire rate including an instructor.
  • Landing fees, Touch & Go fees and approach fees for the entire course.
  • School membership fees.
  • Exam fees, including ground exams and flight test fees.
  • Cancellation and no-show fees.

As well as the above costs there are also a number of other fixed costs to take into account when making your calculations:

  • Class One medical fees costing £330.
  • Equipment and study materials. These can be purchased online and usually amount to approximately £600-£1000 depending on whether you decide to purchase your own headset, which on their own can cost as much as £600 for the advanced sets.
  • Examiner fees and licence issue fees, these can be found on the CAA Scheme of Charges document, by clicking here.

Having taken all these costs into account an IR dependant upon your location and choice of school can cost between £12,000 and £16,000, this of course would be with the minimum 55 hours of training.

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