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UK Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) Rating or (IR) Rating

IMC stands for ‘instrument meteorological conditions’ which refers to the difficult weather conditions that reduce external references that a pilot normally uses to help them fly, for instance when flying in cloud. Special skills are required for a pilot to safely fly in low visibility or in cloud.

The IMC Rating is a 15 hour course that equips a pilot with the skills to maintain control of the aeroplane if they accidentally enter IMC and to then get the aircraft safely back onto the ground. The IMC Rating has made a major contribution to the UK’s excellent general aviation safety record.

The rating was originally developed to help recreational pilots to fly safely to a destination if they found themselves in difficult weather conditions. The rating itself is only valid in UK airspace, and allows the holder to fly in certain types of controlled airspace in limited weather conditions.

The minimum of 15 hours training with an instructor required covers basic techniques and maneuvers, simulated instrument failures, airfield departures and arrivals and bad weather circuits. Prior to the required flight test, a written exam must be passed.

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