The Competency Based Instrument Rating

This is a new training route to the full EASA instrument rating and will be tested by a CAA allocated examiner. Flight training is tailored to the individual needs of the student to ‘fill the gaps’ between existing competancy and that required for test. The time taken and training required will vary widely with each pilot. The scope of theory knowledge has also been reduced by half.


Applicants must hold an EASA PPL or CPL before starting the course, along with 50 hours of PIC cross country time and English language proficiency.

Prior to applying for the licence rating, you will need a current EASA Class 1 or Class 2 Medical with the extra aural hearing test.

A night rating is needed if the IR is to be valid at night.


CB-IR is a full ICAO Instrument Rating, it can be used to fly airways IFR and make instrument approaches to published minima anywhere in the world.


The same theory knowledge course applies for both CBM/IR and EIR. The content has been much reduced to seven subjects, each with their own multiple choice exam. Exams must be passed within a period of 18 months; and the course must be completed within a further 36 months period.

Training Requirements

The requirement is for 40 hours of instrument training and experience. At least 25 hours must be under instruction by a suitably qualified instructor; at least 10 hours of which must be conducted by an ATO. 25 hours can be carried out in an FNPT2 certified simulator.

For those that already hold an instrument qualification such as IR(R), this means that 15 hours can be logged as PIC flying in IMC.

In most circumstances it is going to mean 40 hours of flight instruction, of which at least 10 are in an ATO. Initial assessment flight(s) will determine the training required to reach skill test standard.

Instrument Rating Syllabus

The following is taken directly from the legislation:-

The flight instruction for the competency-based modular IR(A) shall comprise:

  1. Procedures and manoeuvres for basic instrument flight covering at least: – basic instrument flight without external visual cues: – horizontal flight; – climbing; – descent; – turns in level flight, climbing and descent. Instrument pattern; – steep turn; – radio navigation; – recovery from unusual attitudes; – limited panel; – recognition and recovery from incipient and full stall.
  2. Pre-flight procedures for IFR flights, including the use of the flight manual and appropriate air traffic services documents for the preparation of an IFR flight plan.
  3. Procedure and manoeuvres for IFR operation under normal, abnormal and emergency conditions covering at least: – transition from visual to instrument flight on take-off; – standard instrument departures and arrivals; – en-route IFR procedures; – holding procedures; – instrument approaches to specified minima; – missed approach procedures; – landings from instrument approaches, including circling.
  4. In flight manoeuvres and particular flight characteristics;
  5. If required, operation of a multi-engine aeroplane in the above exercises, including: – operation of the aeroplane solely by reference to instruments with one engine simulated inoperative; – engine shutdown and restart (to be carried out at a safe altitude unless carried out in an FFS or FNPT II).

IR Revalidation

The rating is revalidated by an annual proficiency check which broadly follows the format of the initial skill test, although there is no requirement for an en-route sector to be flown providing the candidate has flown several route sectors during the previous 12 months. A revalidation flight also revalidates an SEP. The rating can be revalidated 3 months prior to its expiry and extend 12 months from the original expiry date. If allowed to lapse the candidate will require training on an as required basis. If the rating is allowed to lapse beyond 7 years, the theory knowledge exams will need to be retaken.