Instrument Rating (Restricted)

This is a very useful next step for the adventurous private pilot, allowing flight through cloud and instrument approaches. You can climb above the clouds into the sunshine, knowing you can descend later either when the weather improves or making a procedural instrument approach to an airport.

The IR(R) can’t be used outside the UK or in Class A/B/C airspace, but the basic instrument flying skills will sharpen up your standard of flying and radio telephony. About half the course involves learning to fly on instruments (you’ll wear foggles so you can’t see out the window) and about half is spent on instrument approaches and related procedures. Gloucester airport offers a full range of instrument approaches including NDB, ILS and RNAV.


  • Fly a single engine EASA aircraft IFR in Class D, E, F and G airspace. This excludes airways.
  • Conduct NDB, VOR, ILS or RNAV instrument approaches where visibility is not less than 1500 meters
  • Only valid in UK airspace and the Channel Islands
  • Can now also be used on Annex II (LAA Permit and homebuilt) aircraft, where the aircraft is approved for such use.


An EASA or UK PPL with a night rating.


15 hours of flight instruction

1 theory exams (taken at our club)

IR(R) Skill Test


After passing the skill test, your examiner can immediately issue a temporary rating and you can use it straightaway. You can then apply for the rating to be added to your licence.


The IR(R) rating is valid for a period of 25 months, and can be revalidated by a proficiency check with an IR(R) examiner before expiry. Your SEP class rating (12 hours plus bi-annual instructor flight) must also be valid, but the IR(R) proficiency check can count towards that.

During the IR(R) revalidation, two approaches of different types must be flown unless you have previously completed one to the satisfaction of an IR(R) instructor and had this signed off.

Your medical certificate must also be current and valid.

If flying with passengers, you must have made three take-offs and landings within the previous 30 days. If at night, then one of each of those take-offs and landings at night.

Bristol Aero Club also has some currency rules which are detailed in our operations manual.


You may find the IR(R) meets all your needs, so go out and enjoy using it.

For those wanting a further challenge, you could consider

  • Adding an EIR or Competency Based  Instrument Rating. It has become easier to gain a full Instrument Rating through the new competency based route. While BAC don’t offer the CBM-IR or EIR courses directly, we can advise you how to go about this and support you.
  • Touring: Talk to other club members and see if you can put together a challenging adventure. We’re sure other club members will be interested and give you support.

Above the clouds