I would say the answer depends on how much time and money you want to throw at it and what sort of flying you want to do.
If you want to fly a lot then you will want to buy your own plane (or set up a syndicate with like-minded people, which should be easy but is actually quite hard) and then you want to do the IR (or IMCR) training in the plane you will be flying, so by the time you have the bits of paper you are very current and competent in the same plane, and you can just get on with it instead of doing it the way most people do their PPL which is 50-60hrs in some pile of junk and then converting to a half reasonable PA28 in which they can actually go somewhere.
And training in your plane narrows the ATO options substantially.
I don’t know where you are based but Omega at Shoreham can do the lot and can do it in your plane too. I did my FAA IR to JAA IR conversion there in 2011. The current route – the CB IR – is still 7 exams which are perhaps 2/3 of the old JAA IR 7 exams, and the minimum training has been modified so you can do most of it with a freelance instructor (IRI) which saves a lot of money.
Peter many thanks for your post and even more for your opinion and suggestions.
Your suggestion of flying my own airplane is the one I will pursue, mainly because I want to fly a plane that usually ATO don’t use (SR22). While I complete my PPL, I am aiming to meet some freelance instructors (suggestions are welcome ) or, as suggested by you, find an ATO that can help me.
I am still not sure if I should go strait to the IR via CB IR or do the IMCR first. Do you have any thoughts about this?
Different people have different circumstances and a big reason for the much lower take-up of the IR in Europe compared to the USA has been the difficulty of fitting the “Euro IR” into the life of the pilot who typically has the time, money and motivation to want an IR in the first place. Nearly all of them are aircraft owners…
My own approach has always been to concentrate training in time and on type, because currency on type trumps everything else in aviation safety (well, assuming your plane has not been worked on by a cowboy ).
As pointed out, the IMCR training counts towards the CB IR but only if done by an IRI instructor. Most IMCR training is done by instructors who hold only an IMCR. This is because in the normal PPL flying schools, almost no instructor has a valid IR. Many had one but let it lapse while building hours and thumbing through airline job adverts – getting it revalidated means a fair bit of hassle every year, and you won’t be good enough unless you have had at least some practice which, on the PPL scene, sitting RHS, isn’t going to happen.
Perhaps a factor in the decision is whether the IMCR can be done at the same ATO as the IR… A big factor is whether you can find a freelance IRI. You should post where you are based and then people can PM you with suggestions.
Peter, just to be precise: you don’t necessarily need an IRI for that. An FI IR can do the same.
For “normal” FIs, it is usually much easier to get an FI IR than an IRI rating.
ou should post where you are based and then people can PM you with suggestions.
Apologies, keep forgetting to mention. I have just moved to Cambridge, where I will be based.
Many many thanks for your precious insights and suggestions. They all make perfect sense to me. Personally, learning to fly needs to include an IR. Can’t imagine being restricted by weather, fly at lower altitudes or without access to airways. I would love to be able to fly with less restrictions.