Getting an instrument proficiency check

To operate an aircraft under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) you need additional knowledge and skills.

To fly under IFR you must:

  • hold an Instrument rating, a Multi-crew Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) or an Air Transport Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) and
  • have a valid instrument proficiency check (IPC).

However, you can also conduct a private flight under the IFR if you hold a private IFR rating with a valid flight review for the rating.


You will complete your IPC with a:

  • flight examiner with an instrument rating, MPL or ATPL(A) flight test endorsement
  • or a person approved by CASA.

When conducted in an aircraft, they must be:

  • authorised to fly the type of aircraft
  • approved to conduct proficiency checks in an aircraft.

During an IPC, the examiner will assess your competency to conduct a flight in actual or simulated Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) under the IFR to the standards specified in the Part 61 MOS including:

  • departure
  • en-route skills
  • arrival
  • approach
  • missed approach
  • approach to land manoeuvres.

Frequency of IPCs

An IPC is valid for 12 months from the last day of the month in which it was conducted. It may be completed up to 3 months before it ceases to be valid for a further 12 months from the date is was due to be invalid

If you intend to conduct a flight under the IFR in a multi-engine aircraft, you must complete your IPC in a multi-engine aircraft of the same category.

If you operate both aeroplanes and helicopters, you must have a valid IPC for the category of aircraft you operate under the IFR.

Under exemption CASA EX106/21 Flight Crew Licensing (Miscellaneous Exemptions) Instrument 2021, you must have completed an IPC in particular kinds of aircraft within the previous 24 months relevant to the following groups of aircraft:

  • type rated aircraft
  • multi-crew certified aircraft
  • single-pilot turbojet aeroplane.

Planning your next IPC

When planning your next IPC, you need to think about which aircraft to use.

See the table below to find the class or type of aircraft you will fly for the IPC. This will tell you what types of aircraft you can fly for the next 2 years if you have a valid annual IPC.

Aircraft you use for IPC Aircraft you can fly for next 2 years
Single-engine class-rated aeroplane, for example Cessna 210 All single-engine class-rated aeroplanes
Multi-engine class-rated aeroplane, for example Piper Chieftain All aeroplanes except type-rated aeroplanes
Type-rated aeroplane – not a multi-crew or single-pilot turbojet type rating, for example Kingair 350 All aeroplanes except multi-crew type-rated aeroplanes and turbojet aeroplanes operated single pilot
Multi-crew type-rated aeroplane, for example Learjet 60 All aeroplanes except turbojet aeroplanes operated single-pilot
Turbojet aeroplane operated single-pilot, for example Eclipse 500 All aeroplanes except multi-crew certificated aeroplanes
Single-engine class-rated helicopter, for example Jetranger All single-engine class-rated helicopters
Type-rated helicopter – not a multi-crew type rating, for example Agusta 109 All helicopters except multi-crew type-rated helicopters
Multi-crew type-rated multi-engine helicopter, for example EC225 All helicopters

Failing an IPC

If you fail an IPC in a single or multi-engine aeroplane, your IPC for aeroplanes is no longer valid. You can’t conduct IFR operations in an aeroplane until you pass your IPC in an aeroplane.

This also applies to helicopters.

Operator proficiency check

The operator proficiency check (OPC) may satisfy the proficiency check requirements for a rating if:

  • you are a pilot employed by an operator who conducts OPCs
  • conducted by a flight examiner or person authorised by CASA.

An operator proficiency check is designed to ensure the operator is satisfied you are competent to conduct the flights you are assigned by the operator.

Find more information about the OPC in proficiency checks.

Operator training and checking system

You don't need to do an IPC if your operator holds a 61.040 approval for training and checking.

This means if you fly for work you may not need to do IPCs to conduct IFR operations. But you can’t fly an IFR operation outside of your work.

If you want to fly IFR privately or for another operator, you'll need a current IPC for the aircraft you want to fly in.

Other ways to meet the IPC requirement

There are 4 other ways to have a valid IPC. These are:

  • pass the instrument rating flight test within the previous 12 months
  • pass a flight test for an instrument endorsement that you did more than 6 months after the initial instrument rating flight test
  • complete an operator proficiency check that covers IFR operations conducted by a flight examiner
  • take part in a training and checking system conducted by an operator who has a 61.040 approval.

You must carry out these options in the relevant aircraft.

Rules for IPCs

The rules for instrument proficiency checks are in these sections of Part 61 of CASR Flight Crew Licencing

  • multi-crew pilot licence – subpart 61.J
  • air transport pilot licence – subpart 61.K
  • limitations on exercise of privileges of pilot type ratings – instrument proficiency check – regulation 61.805
  • limitations on exercise of privileges of instrument ratings – general – regulation 61.860
  • limitations on exercise of privileges of instrument ratings – recent experience: general – regulation 61.870
  • limitations on exercise of privileges of instrument ratings – instrument proficiency check – regulation 61.880.
Last updated:
5 Dec 2021
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