To hold an instrument rating you must already be the holder of a pilot license. After completing the pilot license you may then obtain an instrument rating. The holder of a pilot license that has been endorsed with an instrument rating may exercise the privileges of the pilot license in instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions, which means they can operate the aircraft when visual reference to the ground is minimal or non existent. The holder of an instrument rating may also exercise the privileges of a VFR over the top rating.
The minimum Transport Canada requirements to hold an instrument rating are as follows:
- An instrument rating is issued for aircraft in one of the following groups:
- Group 1 for all aeroplanes where the flight test was conducted in a multi-engine aeroplane,
- Group 2 for multi-engine centre line thrust and single engine aeroplanes where the flight test was conducted in a multi-engine centre line thrust aeroplane,
- Group 3 for single engine aeroplanes where the flight test was conducted in a single engine aeroplane
- An applicant shall have obtained a minimum of 70% on the written examination Instrument Rating (INRAT) which shall include the following subjects:
- Canadian Aviation Regulations;
- Instrument Flight Rules and Procedures;
- Radio and Radar systems; and
- An applicant shall have completed a minimum of:
- 50 hours of cross-country flight as pilot-in-command in aeroplanes of which 10 hours must be in the appropriate category; and
- 40 hours of instrument time of which a maximum of 20 hours may be instrument ground time. The 40 hours instrument time shall include a minimum of:
- 5 hours of dual instrument flight time acquired from the holder of a flight instructor rating;
- 5 hours in cheapest secured loans aeroplanes where the applicant is applying for a Group 1, 2 or 3 instrument rating;
- Fifteen (15) hours of dual instrument loan preapproval flight time provided by a qualified flight instructor;
- one dual cross-country flight under simulated or actual IMC conditions of a minimum of 100 nautical miles, the flight to be conducted in accordance with an IFR flight plan to include at, two different locations, an instrument approach to minima.
- An applicant shall successfully complete:
- A flight test as pilot-in-command of an aeroplane.