Instrument Rating Group

An Instrument Rating is issued for privileges within one of four specified Groups.1  The Group applicable to the rating is determined by the aircraft category and class in which the flight test for the rating is conducted:



Aircraft Category/Class used for Flight Test.


Group 1

Multi-engine Aeroplane

All Aeroplanes

Group 2

Multi-engine Centre-line thrust

All Multi-engine Centre-line thrust and Single-engine Aeroplanes

Group 3

Single-engine Aeroplanes

All Single-engine Aeroplanes

Group 4


All Helicopters.


To obtain the knowledge requirements for the rating, the candidate must obtain a minimum of 70% on the Instrument Rating written examination (INRAT).

The examination consists of 50 questions, which must be completed within a time limit of 3 hours.

Subjects on the examination include the following:

  • Canadian Aviation Regulations
  • Instrument Flight Rules and Procedures
  • Meteorology
  • Instruments
  • Radio and Radar Systems
  • Navigation

A candidate for the written examination must have completed a minimum of 20 hours of instrument time, acquired either in an aircraft, or in a flight simulator (see below).2  Proof of experience must be provided.


The candidate for an instrument rating must have completed the following minimum training requirements:

  • 50 hours cross-country flight as the Pilot-in-command, of which 10 must be in the appropriate category (i.e., aeroplanes or helicopters), and
  • 40 hours of instrument time, of which a maximum of 20 hours may be in conducted in a flight simulator.


The 40 hours of instrument time must include a minimum of the following:

  • 5 hours dual instrument flight time acquired from the holder of a Flight Instructor.
  • 5 hours in aeroplanes, where the candidate is applying for a Group 1, 2, or 3 Instrument Rating, or 5 hours in helicopters, if the candidate is applying for a Group 4 rating.
  • 15 hours dual instrument flight time acquired from a Flight Instructor, or a non-Flight Instructor meeting the experience requirements of CAS 425.21(9).3
  • A dual cross-country flight under simulated4 or actual IMC conditions.  The flight must cover a minimum distance of 100 NM,5 and it must be conducted in accordance with an IFR flight plan.  During this flight, two instrument approaches must be conducted down to the minima specified in the procedure, and these approaches must occur at two different locations.


The candidate must demonstrate skill on a flight test.  The flight test requirements are detailed in Flight Test Standards—Instrument Rating.

In the event that the candidate works for a commercial air carrier, the required skill for the rating is demonstrated during a Pilot Proficiency Check for IFR operations.

The flight test consists of demonstrating a minimum of two approaches, one of which must be a precision approach (ILS), and the other, a non-precision approach (NDB, GPS, VOR, or Localizer).  A holding procedure must also be demonstrated, and the candidate will be provided with a number of emergency scenarios that must be successfully managed.6

The flight test cannot be conducted until the knowledge requirements have been met.7

Validity Period and Renewal

The rating is valid for 24 months, and it is extended to the first day of the 25th month following the anniversary month in which the flight test was conducted.

The rating is renewed by the successful completion of a renewal flight test.

If the renewal flight test is conducted within 90 days prior to the expiration date of the rating, the renewed privileges will be valid to the same date as if the flight test was conducted during the month prior to the expiration date of the current rating.

In the case of those whose rating has expired more than 24 months prior to the renewal application, the candidate must complete the same requirements as is required for an initial rating, including the writing of the INRAT examination.

Under extenuating circumstances, the rating can be extended for a period not exceeding 90 days provided the application for extension is made prior to the expiration of the validity period, and the applicant can show that there was no reasonable opportunity to undergo a renewal flight test during the ninety days preceding the expiration date.8

Recency Requirements

The privileges of the rating cannot be exercised unless the holder of the rating has met one of two recency requirements:9

  • within the preceding 12 months, the holder must have successfully completed a flight test for the rating; or
  • within the preceding 6 months, the holder must have acquired six hours of instrument time and completed six instrument approaches to the minima published for the procedure in actual or simulated IMC weather conditions.10



1 CAS 421.46(1)

2 CAS 421.13 (4) (d).

3 This person must hold a Commercial Pilot Licence or Airline Transport Pilot License; they must have not less than 500 hours flight time as Pilot-in-command, not less than 100 hours in the applicable Group, and, in the case of Group 1 instruction, not less than 10 hours on the type of multi-engine aircraft used for the training.

4 Simulation, of course, entails wearing the dreaded “hood.”

5 The requirement of “radius” does not apply here.

6 For Group 1 Instrument Ratings, one of the emergencies is a failure of one of the engines, whereby a single-engine instrument approach must be flown.

7 CAS 421.14(4)(d).

8 CAS 421.49(6).

9 CAR 401.05 (3).

10 Referred to as the “triple-six rule.”   The CARs have recently been amended to permit the triple-six recency requirement to be conducted on a flight simulator, available at most flight schools.