Getting an instrument rating

An instrument rating allows you to fly under the instrument flight rules (IFR) or at night under the visual flight rules (VFR).

An instrument rating requires you to gain extra knowledge and skills to be competent to conduct these flights safely.

The IFR detail how you can conduct a flight in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) using the flight instruments to control and navigate the aircraft. The IFR also outline how you can conduct an approach and landing in accordance with an authorised Instrument Approach Procedure (IAP).

To get your instrument rating, you need to:

You also need to do flight training with an authorised Part 141 flight training operator to get:

  • an aircraft instrument endorsement
  • at least a 2D IAP endorsement.

To be eligible for the flight test, you must have the following minimum aeronautical experience:

  • 50 hours cross-country flight time as pilot-in-command
  • 40 hours of instrument time including:
    • at least 10 hours of dual instrument time
    • 20 hours of instrument flight time (or 10 hours of instrument flight time if training in a flight simulator).

Your experience must be in the same category of aircraft that you intent to do your flight test in.

If you already hold an instrument rating, you can apply for another instrument rating aircraft endorsement by:

  • completing training
  • gaining the minimum experience
  • passing the flight test for the other aircraft endorsement.

You can complete an instrument rating course as a co-pilot of a multi-crew, however you will need to meet the same competency as pilot-in-command.

Regulations on instrument ratings

The rules for instrument ratings are in these sections of Part 61 of CASR Flight crew licensing:

  • Regulation 61.010 – definitions for Part 61
  • Regulations 61.105 and 61.110 – definitions of instrument flight and instrument ground time
  • Regulation 61.375 – general limitations on exercise of privileges of pilot licences – ratings
  • Regulation 61.790 – limitations on exercise of privileges of pilot type rating - IFR operation
  • Regulation 61.855 – privileges of instrument ratings
  • Regulation 61.860 – limitations on exercise of privileges of instrument rating – general.
Last updated:
5 Dec 2021
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