Which Qualification Is Best?
The CBIR training pathway leads to an ICAO-compliant instrument rating. This offers the most utility, is recognised worldwide and, accompanied by ATPL TK, is a vital building block for anyone who envisages any sort of commercial flying. The USA has qualified more private instrument pilots than the rest of the world combined. They have found no need to have anything other than the full ICAO IR. The reason for this is that in the USA their IR is accessible and not unreasonably expensive.
The two relevant alternatives are not ICAO compliant, and so have reduced utility and limited international recognition.
- The EASA Basic Instrument Rating (BIR) will become available from September 2021 for use by those with EASA licences flying within Europe outside the UK. It will not be valid outside EASA countries and seems unlikely to be offered to UK Licence holders. It only applies to SEP and MEP aircraft, has increased minima, and its future post-Brexit is unclear.
- The second is the UK restricted IR, the IR(R), previously known as the IMC Rating. This is not valid outside the UK, and has similarly increased minima, though these are advisory. The rationale for both of these ratings is that not all pilots need the privileges of an ICAO-compliant IR. Moreover, not everyone can afford the cost and the time involved, though the cost of the BIR is unlikely to be much less than the CBIR.
All of these ratings have a place, and if sensibly used, enable pilots to fly safely in more demanding conditions than would be wise with a basic PPL. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss which may be best for you.