Flight instructor ratings

Pilots who want to conduct flight training must hold a pilot instructor rating. There are 2 types of pilot instructor ratings:

  • flight instructor
  • simulator instructor.

To conduct flight training, an instructor must hold a flight instructor rating with at least 1 training endorsement.

See our Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.

Roles of flight instructors

An endorsed flight instructor can conduct flight training for:

  • pilot licences
  • aircraft and operational ratings (except for flight examiner ratings)
  • endorsements (except for flight examiner endorsements).

Flight instructors can also:

  • grant design feature and flight activity endorsements to pilot licence holders
  • conduct multi-crew cooperation training
  • conduct differences training for variants of types of aircraft
  • conduct training for general pilot competency
  • conduct flight reviews
  • authorise a student to conduct a solo training flight.

Getting a flight instructor rating

With a flight instructor rating, you can conduct flight training in either an:

  • aircraft
  • flight simulation training device (FSTD).

A simulator instructor rating only authorises training in FSTDs.

To get a flight instructor rating, you must hold one of the following:

  • a private pilot licence (PPL)
  • commercial pilot licence (CPL)
  • air transport pilot licence.

Note: A person who only holds a PPL can only get a flight instructor rating and training endorsement to conduct training for the issue of:

  • a design feature endorsement, or
  • flight activity endorsement.

You also need to:

  • meet the educational requirements, or complete an approved course for the instructor rating and relevant training endorsement
  • meet the specified aeronautical experience requirements for the rating and training endorsement
  • pass the pilot instructor rating aeronautical knowledge theory exam (PIRC)
  • complete training and receive a recommendation for the flight test by a flight training operator (FTO)
  • pass a flight test for at least one training endorsement.

You must meet the experience requirements in the same aircraft category as the flight test aircraft. There are different experience requirements for helicopters and aeroplanes.

If you have an instructor rating and want to instruct in an aircraft of another category, you need to:

  • have the experience relevant for that category
  • pass the instructor rating flight test in an aircraft of the second category.

See CASR Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS) Schedule 3 for more information.


Before you start your flight training for a flight instructor rating, you must have at least:

  • 250 hours flight time as a pilot
  • 100 hours flight time as pilot in command.

You do not have to meet these requirements if you hold:

  • a CPL with a helicopter category rating completed through an integrated course of training
  • a low-level rating and a helicopter low-level endorsement
  • one of the following:
    • a night visual flight rules (NVFR) rating and a helicopter NVFR endorsement
    • an instrument rating with a helicopter instrument endorsement.


Before you start your flight training for a flight instructor rating, you must have at least:

  • 200 hours flight time as pilot
  • 100 hours flight time as pilot in command.

You do not have to meet these requirements if you have:

  • completed your CPL with an aeroplane category rating in an integrated training course
  • passed the flight test for the grant of the licence with an aeroplane category rating.

Knowledge Deficiency Report assessment

After you complete the PIRC aeronautical knowledge exam, you will receive a Knowledge Deficiency Report (KDR). The report will let you know if your knowledge is deficient in any area. Assessment of the deficiencies in the KDR can be done by:

  • the examiner who will conduct the flight test for the rating
  • flight instructor with a Grade 1 or Grade 2 training endorsement prior to the flight test.

Under Part 61, a flight examiner has to make sure an applicant has sufficient knowledge in the topics on their KDR. One option is to rely on a KDR assessment that has been made by the holder of an instructor rating with a Grade 1 or Grade 2 training endorsement.

Pilot Instructor Rating Common exam

The Pilot Instructor Rating Common (PIRC) is a 2-hour exam leading towards the award of a flight instructor rating. It assesses your knowledge of the:

  • legislation relating to a flight instructor rating
  • principles and methods of instruction, with a focus on flight training.

The PIRC includes approximately 50 multi-choice questions. To pass the exam, you must achieve at least 75% of correct answers.

Before you can undertake the exam, you must hold either a:

  • PPL
  • higher grade of licence.

Pilot Instructor Rating Common (PIRC) theory examination

The knowledge standards for the instructor rating are specified in Part 61 MOS Schedule 3, Section 2.4. The PIRC examination will assess a persons knowledge to these standards.

Suggested study material

You should review the following publications and guidance material before attempting the PIRC exam.



A suitable management book on motivation. We expect you to have a basic understanding of the theories of motivation, including:

  • Abraham Maslow's 'hierarchy of needs'
  • Douglas McGregor's 'theory X and theory Y'
  • Frederick Herzberg's '2-factor' theory.

Human factors in flight

'Human Factors in Flight' by Frank Hawkins. Or any human factors book on topics such as:

  • memory
  • motivation
  • stress.

Optional, to supplement information in the above.

Preparing instructional objectives

'Preparing Instructional Objectives' by Robert F Mager.

Optional, a useful text on 'behavioural objectives'.

Measuring instructional results

'Measuring Instructional Results' by Robert F Mager.

Last updated:
24 Oct 2023
Online version available at: https://www.casa.gov.au//licences-and-certificates/flight-instructors/flight-instructor-ratings
Back to top of page