This is a UK CAA rating; it only applies in UK airspace and would normally only be held by UK pilots; it is attached to a UK PPL, or a UK Part FCL licence. Training is widely available at many local flying schools and simply requires an aircraft equipped for IFR flight in compliance with Part-NCO; capability for flight in Class A airspace is not required. Views on its its utility vary, from a ‘get out of trouble’ rating to one which permits regular off-airways IFR flight. We assume that the rating will be regularly used, since this maximises currency and therefore safety, and so train accordingly. The IR(R) includes the full range of instrument approach procedures, albeit with higher recommended minima.

We only train to one standard. An IR(R) with Rate One will cost more than an IR(R) taken in your local club. Our IR(R) course is therefore only likely to be attractive if you are serious about getting into instrument flying, using this as a first step towards the CBIR or if you require training in the use of advanced IFR avionics. If you just want to fly mainly VFR but have some instrument skills for use in an emergency, cheaper courses using simple aircraft are likely to suit you better.


Applicants must hold a UK PPL or UK Part-FCL PPL with 25h after qualifying of which 10h as PIC and 5h cross country.
A night rating is required if the IR(R) is to be valid at night.
A Class 2 medical is required. The audiogram required for the CBIR is not necessary.


The privilege of the IR(R) is to fly under IFR and in IMC in UK airspace. This applies to all classes of airspace except A, B and C (thus excluding IFR airways) but does include instrument approach procedures. Flights are unlikely to require filed IFR flight plans and are conducted outside controlled airspace other than Class D.


Course material is available for self study in a single book. The standalone IR(R) theory exam comprises 25 multiple-choice questions, has a pass mark of 75%, and can be undertaken at most flight schools or ATOs. A pass is valid for 21 months for rating issue, and for 12 months following the flight test.

15 hours of instrument flight instruction are required of which 10 must be flight by sole reference to instruments.


We can provide training for the IR(R) on a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time typically takes 7 days. If part time, it is most efficient to divide the course into 2 x 3-4 days blocks, separated by no more than 3-4 weeks. These times include theoretical knowledge revision and written test. You will however need to arrive having completed our pre course study recommendations. The actual schedule will vary in order to integrate TK and flying.  Our course is 20 hours long. This is because we teach the core skills required for the full IR, and we cannot do this in 15 hours of flight instruction. Key differences include the use of SOPs, and of IFR flight checklists. We aim to achieve limits of speed, heading and altitude close to those required for the IR. The regulations require you to be trained for one precision and one non precision approach. One approach type is signed off during your course and the other is examined during your skill test. Gloucester has ILS, NDB, and RNP approaches. 

Is the IR(R) useful as a stepping stone to the CBIR? The answer is yes. Firstly, it provides, or should provide, the core skills for safe IFR flight. Secondly, 15 hours of the instrument flight instruction provided during the IR(R) course is allowed as training time for the CBIR. However, if your training at Rate One took the 20 hours or so that we estimate, this is over and above that required for the IR(R). Since this will have been taught by an instructor qualified to train for the IR, the excess hours will count towards the 40h total required for the CBIR.

Differences Training

Note that we use an aircraft with retractable undercarriage and variable pitch propeller. Customers who are unfamiliar with these will need differences training and some additional practice. Please talk to us about you exact requirements. Insurers will often require a number of supervised flight hours for a low time pilot transitioning to a more complex type.  We can very effectively integrate this into an instrument training program to maximise the benefit.


No formal training has yet been mandated by the CAA, either for the IR(R) course or for existing IR(R) holders, for whom PBN really means RNP approaches. The IR(R) flight training we provide for RNP approaches is the same as that provided to our IR students.


The rating is valid for 25 months and is revalidated by a proficiency check.


Holders of a multi-engine piston class rating may have the IR(R) issued for MEP aircraft by demonstrating additional skills in the practical test. These mainly concern asymmetric flight under IFR.