Often considered the most difficult qualification to gain as a helicopter pilot, the instrument rating requires both skill and dedication. It allows you to fly helicopters under IFR down to a decision height of 200ft. This means that in low cloud or low visibility conditions, you may be able to continue to operate. The course draws on a different skill set to the one used for the Private Pilot Licence, Commercial Pilot Licence and Flight Instructor rating.
As a corporate pilot, this ability is becoming more and more desired, with air ambulance and police operations tending to require their pilots to hold an instrument rating. For pilots heading to the North Sea, the rating is essential as well.
Instrument Rating Requirements
For civilians, you must hold either a PPL(H) with a night rating, or a CPL(H). You will also need 50 hours of Pilot in Command cross-country time of which 10 hours must have been in helicopters. The IR(H) ground exams must have been completed and we recommend Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training for the groundschool element.
We offer the instrument rating on the AS355, A109 and AW109, so you will require a type rating on one of these first. If this is your first single-pilot, multi-engine helicopter type rating, you need at least 70 hours as Pilot in Command on helicopters.
The instrument rating course consists of groundschool, 40 hours of work in our FNPT II simulator and then 10 hours of actual flight time.
If you hold an ICAO/FAA instrument rating, we offer a conversion course consisting of 10 hours in our FNPT II and 5 hours of aircraft time. Please note that you will have to sit all of the EASA ATPL(H)/IR exams before starting the course.