Oct 29, 2020

Getting your Instrument Flight Rating (IFR) is an important step in your career as a pilot. With an instrument rating, you are not limited to standard Visual Flight Rules (VFR) and can extend your skills and flying experiences to incorporate poor visibility conditions.

Want to know how to get your IFR in New Zealand? It’s easy! You will require 40 hours of flight training and three additional theory papers centred around the reliance on instruments for navigational purposes. Read on for everything you need to know about IFR ratings in NZ.

What Is An Instrument Rating?

Single Engine Aeroplane Instrument PanelIn order to fly without the aid of visual navigational cues, a pilot requires an Instrument Flight Rating (IFR). This allows the pilot to fly in and above clouds relying solely on the instruments of the aircraft for navigation. An instrument-rated pilot can fly the aircraft without needing to be able to continuously see the ground, surrounding airspace or the horizon.

Types Of Aircraft Instrument Ratings

There are two main types of instrument ratings in New Zealand, these are:

Multi Engine Instrument Rating (MEIR)

The multi engine rating focuses on aircraft control, performance and limitations, single engine performance and emergency operations in addition to the usual training topics. A multi engine rating is more costly due to the extra operational costs of training in a twin engine aircraft. The ability to operate an aircraft with more than one engine opens up a wider range of flight opportunities for any pilots career. Pilots embarking on a career with the airlines will require a multi engine instrument rating. There is no CAA written exam for a multi engine add-on rating.

Single Engine Instrument Rating (SEIR)

A single engine instrument rating is usually the next step on from completing your PPL, or as a stepping stone from a CPL to obtaining a multiengine rating. It allows you to fly a single engine aircraft under Instrument Meteorological Conditions.

What Is The Difference Between IFR And VFR?

A pilot with only a Visual Flight Rating (VFR) cannot legally fly using only the aircraft’s instruments for guidance. Civil Aviation VFR rules state the pilot must maintain Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC) throughout the duration of the flight. Simply put a VFR pilot must have a visual on the ground, the airspace surrounding the aircraft and the horizon at all times.

A pilot with an IFR rating, on the other hand, can fly the aircraft under Instrument Meteorological Conditions relying on the aircraft instruments for its navigational needs.

How Long Does It Take To Get An Instrument Rating?

Flight InstrumentsThe time it takes to complete an instrument rating will, of course, depend on the amount of time you have available to complete the necessary flight training hours, the local weather conditions, and aircraft and instructor availability. But as a general guide, an instrument rating in New Zealand takes around 3 to 4 months to complete and includes a total of 40 hours of flight training time.

IFR Requirements

To complete the NZ CAA IR Syllabus requirements of an instrument flight rating you will need:

  • A Private or Commercial Pilots Licence
  • To log a minimum of 40 hours of instrument flight training with an IFR rated instructor (up to 20 of these can be logged on a Certified IFR Simulator).
  • A Class 1 or 2 Aviation Medical Certificate (If you only have a Class 2 Medical, you will be required to complete additional Class 1 hearing and eyesight tests)
  • A pass on the Instrument Rating Flight Test
  • Passes in the three IR theory subjects; Air Law, Navigation-IFR, Instruments and Navigation Aids
  • Passes in two CPL papers (if you haven’t got them already); Human factors and Meteorology

*Depending on previous training, some pilots may not have the necessary night flying hours. PPL holders may need to complete 5 hours night training (3 hours solo and 2 hours dual instruction) and CPL holders may need to complete 10 hours night training (5 hours solo and 5 hours dual instruction).

How Much Does It Cost To Get An IFR Rating?

The cost of an IFR rating will vary depending on the type of aircraft used for training and how many of your hours you are able to complete in a Certified IR Simulator but expect to pay anywhere between $25,000 and $30,000 (given as a general guide only, actual fees will depend on your flight training provider). The total cost breakdown will include the following aspects.

  • Aircraft And Instructor Hire. Twin engine aircraft can cost $600 to $700 per hour to hire. Some providers will also charge ‘briefing fees’ at a cost of around $50 per briefing.
  • Fuel. Dependent on the distance travelled.
  • Lodging Flight Plans. These costs are based on the maximum weight of the aircraft, total nautical miles travelled and the size and type of the airports on your flight plan.
  • Landing Fees. These will vary depending on what airport you are operating in (as a rough guide $40 to $50 per landing).
  • Theory Costs. To complete the necessary theory papers – expect to pay around $500 for these.
  • Simulator Hire. Certified IR Simulator hire ranges from around $160 to $210 per hour.

What Instruments Are Required For IFR Flight?

Flight Instrument PanelIn addition to the minimum instruments and equipment required for an aircraft, the instruments required by the CAA for IFR flight in New Zealand are as follows. You will need to understand the operational functionality of these instruments when completing an IFR rating.

  • An aircraft attitude indicator
  • A magnetic heading indicator
  • An adequate power supply to gyroscopic instruments
  • A sensitive altimeter (in feet) and adjustable for barometric pressure
  • Outside air temperature gauge
  • A clock displaying hours minutes and seconds
  • Airspeed indicator (in knots) with a means of preventing condensation or icing
  • A rate of climb and descent indicator

Instrument Rating Courses In NZ

While you can obtain your Instrument rating in your desired aircraft separate from your initial pilot training the following NZ Diploma in Aviation courses include full pilot training and MEIR ratings as part of the course curriculum.

• Diploma in Aviation – Airline Preparation Level 6

• Diploma in Aviation – Flight Instruction Level 6

• Diploma in Aviation – General Aviation Level 5

Need more information on getting your IFR rating in New Zealand? The New Zealand Diploma in Aviation, or learning to fly in NZ? Contact the flight training specialists at Southern Wings today!

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