Instrument ratings and endorsements

To conduct a flight under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) pilots must hold an instrument rating, a private instrument rating or a Multi-crew or Air Transport Pilot Licence with an aeroplane category rating.

These qualifications require you to complete additional training and pass a flight test to ensure you can conduct such flights safely.

If you wish to conduct a flight at night but only hold a private instrument rating, you will need to complete additional training to be issued a night endorsement.

Getting an instrument rating

To get an instrument rating, you need to:

  • hold a private, commercial, or air transport pilot licence with an aircraft rating relevant to the instrument rating endorsement
  • pass the instrument rating exam
  • complete relevant flight training with an authorised instructor
  • pass a flight test
  • meet the relevant experience requirements.

To conduct some operations, such as a circling approach, you need to meet further standards. These are outlined in Division 61.M.1 of CASR—Privileges and requirements for grant of instrument ratings.

Once we have issued you with an instrument rating and associated endorsement, you need to keep the rating current to conduct flights under IFR.

You may also need to show recent experience or pass proficiency checks. These are outlined in Division 61.M.1 of CASR from 61.870 to 61.880.

Instrument endorsements

You can hold many instrument endorsements that relate to aircraft ratings or types of instrument approaches.

The kinds of endorsements available are:

  • Single‑engine aeroplane
  • Multi‑engine aeroplane
  • Single‑engine helicopter
  • Multi‑engine helicopter
  • Powered-lift aircraft
  • Gyroplane
  • Airship
  • Instrument approach procedure - 2D
  • Instrument approach procedure - 3D

What activities each instrument endorsement allows, and what you need to get the endorsement, are detailed in Division 61.M.2 of CASR in Table 61.890 Instrument endorsements.

Minimum experience

The aircraft instrument endorsement typically require minimum experience in the relevant aircraft. You can usually satisfy the requirements when completing the training for the issue of the instrument rating with an authorised flight training operator.

You can gain the experience in either an aircraft or approved flight simulation training device.

Holding multiple endorsements

You can hold more than one aircraft instrument endorsement. To add an endorsement you must:

  • complete the training
  • satisfy the minimum experience requirements specified for the endorsement
  • pass the relevant flight test mentioned in the Part 61 Manual of Standards.

Single-pilot IFR

Flying single-pilot operations under IFR can be demanding.

You need to demonstrate and maintain competency to conduct single pilot operations under the IFR. To do this you must:

  • pass the flight test for the instrument rating in a single-pilot aircraft, or do an instrument proficiency check in a single-pilot aircraft
  • meet the single-pilot recent experience requirement.

Your recent experience must include a flight, or simulated flight, under IFR in a single-pilot operation in the last 6 months.

Your flight must have lasted at least one hour and included at least one instrument approach or simulated instrument approach.

Instrument rating – co-pilot of a multi-crew operation

You can complete training for an instrument rating as a co-pilot of a multi-crew operation. However you must demonstrate the same instrument flying competency standards whether you are co-pilot or pilot-in-command.

Rules about instrument rating endorsements

The rules for instrument rating endorsements are covered in Part 61 Subpart 61.M—Instrument ratings.

Last updated:
9 Dec 2021
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