Our academy focusses on the ground school and simulator aspects of pilot training. As an Instrument Rating (IR) also requires significant training hours in an aircraft, these IR courses will typically be conducted by our Partner Schools according to their training plans and using their instructors.

In certain exceptions (such as owner training in specialised aircraft or IR training using Multi Engine or Complex Single aircraft, our academy will conduct the antire IR course. In such a case, the following training plan applies:


Course Overview

This course will provide you with the ground training, flight training, exams and tests that you require to obtain your Instrument Rating (IR). You may obtain your Instrument Rating as a PPL or a CPL and enjoy similar instrument flying privileges. It should be noted that all the theoretical exam subjects for a PPL/IR and CPL/IR are identical except that in order to obtain a CPL, one extra subject (Aircraft Technical and General) must be written. Thus, if a student with a PPL writes the extra subject and meet all the other air experience and flight training requirements, the Instrument Rating and CPL Skills test can be combined and in subsequent years, all annual Instrument Rating revalidations will automatically also revalidate your CPL – a worthwhile option to consider.

During or prior to starting this Instrument Rating course, you need to obtain a certain amount of air experience (explained further below) and you may do this on your own or under the Hour Building Guidance programme offered by SFA.

The IR flight and simulator training hours that you will do are limited and should be done as close as possible to your Skills Test at the end of the course. We thus recommend that you attend ground school and complete all the examinations for the theoretical subjects before you commence simulator training.


Requirements for the Issue of an Instrument Rating

  • Hold a valid licence (PPL or CPL)
  • Class 1 Medical Certificate
  • General Radio Telephony Certificate
  • Pass all the Theoretical Exams
  • Have completed the hours of training and experience required for an Instrument Rating
  • Valid Night Rating
  • Pass a Skills Test with a Designated Flight Examiner

Air Experience Required for IR

  • 50 Hours cross country as Pilot In Command (PIC)
  • 40 Hours instrument instruction (with a maximum of 20 hours on a Simulator)
  • If the initial IR is on a Multi-Engine, then 5 of the 40 hours must be ME IF training


Training Plan for IR

Our Modular Training Programme (MTP) consists of the following IR training:

  • 174 Hours of Classroom Lectures on the following seven theory subjects:
    • Meteorology
    • Flight Planning
    • Radio Aids
    • Navigation
    • Air law and Procedures
    • Instruments
    • Human Performance


  • CAA conducted exams for all seven theoretical subjects (75% pass mark)
  • 32 Hours Instructor Briefings/Debriefings
  • 20 Hours Simulator IF Training
  • 20 Hours of flight IF Training
  • Skills Test with a Designated Flight Examiner

(Note that the 40 IF training hours above include any PPL and Night Rating IF training)


Course Duration

Assuming that your night rating and other air experience are already in place, this course would typically take a full time student about four to six months to complete and a part time student should try and complete the course in no more than eighteen months to two years.


Study Material Required

  • We use the AVEX Study Notes for the IR ground lectures of the theoretical subjects.
  • For the Radio Telephony Course, we use ‘The Pilot’s Radio Handbook’ by Dietland Lempp

The following publications are not compulsory but recommended for the serious student:

  • The Air Pilot’s Manual’ Volume 5 (Instrument Flying) by Pooley’s Publishing
  • ‘The Instrument Rating Flight Manual’ by David J Howarth  (This publication is supplied with a very useful interactive IF training CD)
  • ‘Understanding CARS and CATS’ by Phillip Marais

(All these manuals and publications are available from the Pilot Shop at SFA)