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Additional Ratings to the Private Pilot's Licence

By: John Knight - Updated: 22 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Uk Instrument Meteorological Conditions

Being qualified and able to fly in weather conditions that do not meet Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) and/or flying other types of aircraft is very appealing to a lot of pilots. Many of them enrich his or her aviation skills by choosing, training and qualifying for various types of additional ratings that can be added to their Private Pilots Licence (PPL).

Popular Additional Ratings for the Private Pilot's Licence

Three of the more popular ratings that pilots choose to add to their PPL are listed below:

  • UK Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating
  • The Instrument Rating (Aeroplane)
  • The Instrument Rating (Helicopter)

More information about licence privileges is detailed in Schedule 8 of the Air Navigation Order (ANO).

The UK Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating

The rating is only valid for use within the UK and it is worth noting that the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is considering if it is to remain valid or be replaced with the more advanced Instrument Rating. A decision on this is expected some time in the next 4 years. Do you want to spend the time and money getting this rating and possibly have it cancelled in the near future?

This course takes a lot of concentration and preparations but it will also improve your flying skills and confidence. Most pilots who have gained this rating say that it is one of the most challenging and useful ratings to get!

Adding the UK Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating (IMC) to your PPL is strongly recommended to anyone who intends to make frequent flights in the UK where weather conditions are often poor. It has the same privileges as the PPL but it allows you to take off and land in visibility that is down to 1800 metres, fly in and above clouds and fly in 3 km of visibility while using Special Visual Flight Rules (SVFR).

The definition for Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) varies depending on the type of airspace being flown in as well as the level and speed of the aircraft. The additional IMC rating enables the pilot to fly in conditions that do not meet VMC. It has fewer privileges than a full instrument rating, cannot be used in airways but it can be used for SVFR in class A airspace.

The Instrument Rating

An instrument rating is recognised outside of the UK. It has a far more intensive and expensive training course than that of the IMC rating and because of this few private pilots choose to add it to their PPL. The Instrument Rating enables the pilot to fly in conditions that are worse than those for IMC. It is can be used by a private pilot to fly in airways and take off and land in visibility that is down to 800 metres.

Be aware that some descriptions of aviation training courses being advertised are not always accurate i.e. a night flying rating is really a night flying qualification!Enjoy learning new aviation skills, expanding your knowledge and putting them all to good use.

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