Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) Rating (UK only)

Experience Requirements

An applicant for an IMC rating must have 25 hours experience as an aeroplane pilot since date of application for PPL (A)

The 25 hours must include 10 hours PIC of which 5 hours must be cross country flights

IMC rating course flying (15 hours) may also be included

Also hold a Flight Radiotelephony Operators Licence (FRTOL)

Satisfy the Flying Training Organisation (FTO) or Registered Facility (RF) that the applicant has reached a suitable standard in basic instrument flying before starting the course Training


Flight training to include:-

  • 15 hours dual instrument flying training of which up to 2 hours may be in an approved simulator

  • Not less than 10 of the 15 hours must be flown by sole reference to instruments

Note: Holders of the Night Qualification may be exempt 3 hours dual flight instruction including not more than 2 hours by sole reference to instruments

Minimum of 20 hours of theoretical knowledge training covering:-

  • Physiological Factors

  • Flight Instruments

  • Aeronautical Information Service

  • Flight Planning

  • Privileges of the IMC Rating

IMC Ground Examination

A written paper consisting of 25 multi-choice questions covering the IMC theoretical knowledge training. The pass mark is 72%. The examination must be passed within 12 months preceding the date of application. It can be taken before or after the flight test.

IMC Initial Flight Test

Conducted by a Flight Examiner (FE) or Instrument rating Examiner (IRE)

A pass may be gained in the course of up to 3 individual flights made during a 28 day period.

Failure in any part of the test will require the candidate to take the full test again

A. Full Panel Instrument Flying

S & L at given speeds, turns at a given rate and onto given headings, climbing and descending including turns, recovery from unusual attitudes

B. Limited Panel Instrument Flying (Failure of Attitude Indicator and DI)

S & L flight, climbing and descending, turns onto given headings, recovery from unusual attitudes

C. Radio Navigation Aids

Use of radio navigation aids for position-finding using one or more aids to include VOR and ADF/NDB, maintenance of a given track based on a pilot-interpreted aid for 10 minutes

D. Let-Down and Approach Procedures

Let-down and approach to DH, missed approach procedure using a pilot-interpreted aid, carry out a recognised instrument approach procedure to DH, thence the appropriate go-around and missed approach procedure

E. Bad Weather Circuits

Bad weather circuit following item (d), position the aircraft in the circuit at the direction of the FE, to carry out a visual bad weather circuit and landing under specified weather conditions

F. Flight with Asymmetric Power

Control of the aeroplane and maintenance of a given heading and asymmetric climb speed, following the failure of one engine in the climbing configuration at normal climb power. Identification of the failed engine and the completion of all essential drills and checks. Climbing and level turns in asymmetric flight as directed by the FE

Note: Throughout this section the FE is responsible for navigation and ATC liaison. On resumption of normal flight the FE will advise the candidate of the aeroplane position


25 months


Pass a revalidation flight test prior to rating expiry


The applicant must show logbook evidence that in the period between flight tests has successfully completed a let-down, approach to minima, go-around and missed approach using a different aid from that in the flight test. This must be signed by an FI qualified to give instrument flying instruction


Carry out 2 approach procedures using different aids during the re-validation flight test

IMC Revalidation Flight Test

Conducted by a Flight Examiner (FE) or Instrument rating Examiner (IRE)

A pass may be gained in the course of up to 3 individual flights made during a 28 day period.

Failure in any part of the test will require the candidate to take the full test again

The Revalidation Flight Test will comprise items (b), (d) and (e) of the Initial Flight Test. The type of approach aid used must be entered in the logbook

A Revalidation Flight Test which is a first multi-engine test must include item (f) also

IMC Rating C of T expired by more than 5 years

Dual instruction  may be required by the Chief Flying Instructor.


An IMC rating extends the privileges of a PPL (A) holder to allow flight as PIC:

  • Out of site of the surface

  • In a control zone on SVFR clearance with a flight visibility less than 5 nm but not less than 1.5 nm

  • Outside controlled airspace in a flight visibility less than 1.5 nm

  • Carrying passengers above 3000 ft amsl in IMC or in flight visibility less than 3 nm at or below that height, when outside controlled airspace

  • During take-off or landing with a flight visibility below cloud of not less than 1 nm

The IMC rating is only valid in UK territorial airspace, Channel Islands airspace and Isle of Man airspace


AOPA IMC Syllabus
CAP 413
The UK AIM (Published by AFE)
VOR, ADF and RMI by Martin Cass
Ground Studies For Pilots by R B Underdown (Volume 1 only)
The Air Pilots Manual Volume 5 by Trevor Thom
The IMC Confuser by Neung Sornying
The IMC Rating Questions and Answers Simplifier by Philip Mathews and Jeremy M Pratt
JAR Supplement by Jeremy M Pratt