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Monday to Sunday - 9am - 7.30pm

Opening hours will be reviewed and may be subject to change. Any changes will be notified to the Members in advance.

Outside these times please email: flightdesk@sherburnaeroclub.com

Instrument Rating Restricted IR(R)


The world of aviation, although thrilling and fulfilling also comes with its own set of challenges. One of these challenges for pilots is to master the art of flying aircraft in low visibility conditions.

Pilots who apply for a Private Pilot License or a Commercial Pilot License will have to obtain several qualifications to boost their skills and to help them open various avenues for commercial operations.

For example, CPL and PPL pilots go on to obtain a Night Rating, a type of qualification that enables pilots to fly aircraft after dark. Night-time flights can be difficult especially when it comes to Take off, navigation, and landing.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority has also made it mandatory for pilots to check for weather conditions before scheduling a flight. This means that if there is low visibility at night due to rain, fog, or any other related weather condition, then the pilot will not be allowed to fly, even if they have a stellar Night Rating qualification.

To overcome this, the CAA has outlined a separate qualification called the Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating (IMC) or Instrument Rating.

In normal conditions, pilots rely on their sight to foresee obstacles during a flight but with low visibility, they may have to exclusively rely on the onboard instrument panel which includes important information related to navigation, fuel, communication, altitude, flight systems, and more.

Essentially, the pilot will use the readings from these instruments to not just take off but also fly and land the plane safely.

This is where the IMC and IR qualifications come in! Sherburn has an elite faculty that is highly trained for numerous weather conditions. Their experience can have a significant impact on your training and Sherburn can help you quickly progress through the written and practical requirements for these qualifications.

In the United Kingdom, the IMC rating is termed an IR (Restricted) qualification and you can complete the training requirements by fulfilling ground examinations and several flight tests.

Pilots are expected to renew their IMC rating after the validity date if they wish to continue flying. An important point to note here is that you can only fly in the UK with a valid UK-based pilot license.

Here are the requirements for the IMC rating:

Experience Requirements

All eligible pilots must fulfill the following requirements:

  • 25 hours total experience as a pilot of aeroplanes following PPL(A) issue and which may include the training for the UK IMC rating
  • 10 hours as PIC of aeroplanes to include 5 hours as PIC of aeroplanes on cross-country flights
  • a UK-issued Flight Radiotelephony Operators Licence (FRTOL)

Flight Training

Pilots are also expected to complete a minimum of 15 hours in dual instrument training of which 5 hours may be fulfilled in an EASA-STD device qualified BITD, FNPT I/II, and up to 2 hours of which may be in other FSTDs. In essence, a minimum of 10 of the 15 hours must be flown by sole reference to instruments.

The flight training will cover the following topics:

  • Basic Stage
  • Full and limited panel flight manoeuvres to include recoveries from unusual attitudes
  • Partial panel flight manoeuvres
  • Applied Stage
  • Pre-flight planning
  • Departure and en-route
  • Approach and let-down
  • Bad weather circuits and landings

Ground Training

A minimum of 20 hours of theoretical knowledge training covering the following subjects:

  • Physiological Factors
  • Flight Instruments
  • Aeronautical Information Service - NOTAMS, UK AIP, AICs
  • Flight Planning - Meteorology, Altimetry, Terrain clearance, Radio aids, Radar approach procedures
  • Privileges of the IMC Rating

IMC Rating Theoretical Knowledge Examination

25 multi-choice questions covering the IMC Rating theoretical knowledge. The pass mark is 72%. The examination can be taken before or after the flight test

The examination is valid for 21 months for the issue of the IMC Rating and 12 months for the conduct of the flight test

IMC Rating Initial Flight Test

Conducted by a Flight Examiner (FE) Instrument Rating Examiner (IRE) or Class Rating Examiner (CRE) who holds IMC Rating / IR(R) privileges

A pass may be gained in the course of up to 3 individual flights made during 28 days. Failure in any part of the test will require the candidate to take the full test again. The flight test comprises the following sections:

Section A - Full Panel Instrument Flying
Straight and level at given speeds, turns at a given rate and onto given headings, climbing and descending including turns, recovery from unusual attitudes

Section B - Limited Panel Instrument Flying (Failure of Attitude Indicator and DI)
Straight and level flight, climbing and descending, turns onto given headings, recovery from unusual attitudes

Section C - Radio Navigation Aids
Use of radio navigation aids for position-finding using one or more aids to include VOR and ADF/NDB, maintenance of a given track based on a pilot-interpreted aid for 10 minutes

Section D - Let-Down and Approach Procedures
Let-down and approach to minima, missed approach procedure using a pilot-interpreted aid, carry out a recognised instrument approach procedure to minima, thence the appropriate go-around and missed approach procedure

Section E - Bad Weather Circuits
Bad weather circuit following Section D, position the aircraft in the circuit in the direction of the examiner, to carry out a visual bad weather circuit and landing under specified weather conditions

Section F - Flight with Asymmetric Power (ME only) (see note)
Control of the aeroplane and maintenance of a given heading and asymmetric climb speed, following the failure of one engine in the climbing configuration at normal climb power. Identification of the failed engine and the completion of all essential drills and checks. Climbing and level turns in asymmetric flight as directed by the examiner

Note: Throughout Section F the examiner is responsible for navigation and ATC liaison. On resumption of normal flight, the examiner will advise the applicant of the aeroplane position


The holder of a course completion certificate for the Basic Instrument Flying Module may have the total amount of flight training reduced by 10 hours

IMC Rating privileges are contained within a UK national CPL(A) or ATPL(A) (this does not include a JAA or EASA license). There is no requirement for a separate certificate of test for these licenses

Holders of the AOPA (UK) Radio Navigation Certificate may have instrument flight training during the Applied Stage reduced by 5 hours

Additional credits are available. For details refer to CAP 804 Section 5 (UK National Licences) Part E


25 months


Pass a revalidation flight test before the rating expiry


The applicant must show logbook evidence that in the period between flight tests he/she has completed a let-down, approach to minima, go-around, and missed approach using a different aid from that in the flight test. This must be signed by an instructor qualified to give instrument flying instruction


Carry out 2 approach procedures using different aids during the revalidation flight test


Where the UK IMC Rating has expired by not more than 5 years the revalidation requirements apply for renewal

IMC Rating Revalidation/Renewal Flight Test

Conducted by a Flight Examiner (FE) Instrument Rating Examiner (IRE) or Class Rating Examiner (CRE) who holds IMC Rating / IR(R) privileges

A pass may be gained in the course of up to 3 individual flights made during 28 days. Failure in any part of the test will require the candidate to take the full test again

The revalidation/renewal flight test will comprise Sections B, D, and E of the initial flight test. The type of approach aid used must be entered in the candidate’s logbook

A revalidation/renewal flight test which is a first multi-engine test must include Section F

IMC Rating Expired by more than 5 years

Complete dual instruction as required to pass the initial IMC flight test with an examiner

IMC Rating Expired by more than 10 years

Complete dual instruction as required to pass the initial IMC flight test with an examiner. Pass the IMC Rating theoretical knowledge examination


An IMC Rating (Aeroplanes) / IR (Restricted) entitles the holder of the license to act as pilot in command or co-pilot of an aeroplane flying under IFR except:

(i) in Class A airspace


(ii) when the aeroplane is taking off or landing at any place if the flight visibility below the cloud is less than 1,500 meters

The holder of the IMC Rating / IR(Restricted) must not fly as pilot in command or co-pilot of an aeroplane outside the airspace of the UK in circumstances that require compliance with the IFR

IMC rating conversion to Instrument Rating (Restricted) (IR(R))

An applicant for an IR(Restricted) shall:

(a) Hold a valid IMC rating


(b) hold a valid UK national CPL(A) / ATPL(A) issued prior to 1 July 2000

The requirement of Part MED.A.030(g) shall not apply to the IR(R)


More information:

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