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What are the best BOOKS / theory for instrument rating? (EASA CB-IR)

Looking to expand my PPL(A) to instrument rating. No professional goal, just a GA pilot wanting IR, in Europe/EASA.

For the theory part, what are the recomended books today?
Maybe a set of ATPL books with a clear image of what is IR curriculum and what is not.

One big reason for asking is that there have been several cases of studets trying out for “only IR” and ended up with unclear or wrong image of what correct curriculum is. And then flunking exam. It also looks like curriculum is changing and those offering theory books/plans are changing their content every now and then. So what was used two years ago may be surpassed by newer material.

As this is no full time studying it will be module based, CB-IR. Also, not the special UK version IR(R), I don’t know that one.

This year we have been informed about the new Basic IR which will be “IR for GA pilots”. But not much is ready. I think it will be in fall of next year.

So, back to CB-IR and theory exam. What books will take me there in the best way?

Some schools have their own books and additional tools. In the end I assume it is the same exam question for all.

I know this site but am not a member

Later my post will be about practical hours, but for a clean one-subject thread I leave that out. Maybe it is already placed here


For the smallest amount of theory it would be the standard seven official books from an approved theory provider (for example, CAPT – and then mandatory classroom.


I did my CBIR TK with CAPT, I never felt ready for the tests from reading the books, honestly just book TK exams in next few weeks and bash the QDB on aviation exams, took 10 days (1 day per subject and 3 extra days for failed subjects)

IR & ATPL books are fun to read later, they definitely help with sleep problems !
Worth keeping them away from family, wife did read HPL hypoxia chapter
Now I am only “cleared to fly not above 9kft” (one book for all 7 exams) (one “large pillow” for all 14 exams)

Last Edited by Ibra at 27 Aug 15:55
ESSEX, United Kingdom

And if you want to learn useful things, the usual FAA publications (PHAK, Instrument Flying Handbook) are free. And at times possibly not relevant to the EASA ways, but still worth the price.

EPKP - Kraków, Poland


It’s been a couple of decades since I sat the ATPL exams, and not really familiar with CBIR. I believe, for the exams, you are basically stuck with the set curriculum. Might be good apps/QDB out there.

For the actual instrument flying and the operational bit there are good books. Like the above poster mentions, FAA handbooks are really good, also for EASA land. Instrument Flying Handbook and Instrument Procedures Handbook. Downloadable at

The PBN guide from PPL IR is also worth reading



Norway, where a gallon of avgas is ch...

NorFlyer wrote:

The PBN guide from PPL IR is also worth reading

One of the best IR books out there for free, I hope some bunch of instructors I came across in the UK (e.g. FI+IMCr, FI+IR, IRI) did a good read of that guide rather than hiding behind “real IFR pilots fly on conventional raw data”

ESSEX, United Kingdom

I think the answer depends on whether you want to get an IR and learn all the whizzo terminology, or want to get an IR to fly yourself in the European IFR system.

If you want the former, then the above book is great. It is full of detail like this

which most people immediately forget because most of it is not operationally needed. I really miss it (NOT) when flying around Europe IFR with the KLN94 It is good info for a quick skim and then forget it, which you will anyway, just like those matrices detailing the cloud spacing rules for different airspace classes, day and night, and different speeds.

If you want the latter then get an IR using some combination of a quick read of some IFR book, a lot of computer question bank study, and get yourself a decent plane and fly to places. And of course read EuroGA which is full of experienced pilots There are no good books on piston GA flying in the European IFR system, that I am aware of. Some have been done but they are basically a collection of trip reports, without enough detail. I have a load of IFR writeups here which have more detail. I don’t think people buy these books; one project I contributed to about 10 years ago sold only a few hundred. Also some stuff does change e.g. the use of to get weather, and the increased use of the internet in the last few years in the preflight process.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Of course you can fly IFR on KLN94, I guess like GNS430 it miss few arc turns and base turns and that’s it

I was referring “many plates examples & GPS screenshots” rather than ICAO concepts and theoretical abstractions or how GPS works (EASA PBN LOs which serve as sleeping pillow )

On GPS, I am sure one will have a hard time with UK instructors, most can’t tell the difference between L/VNAV and LPV, vector-to-final vs load, load vs activate, monitor AP…and anyway one can get much chance to practice GPS approach aside from RNAV at Lydd and maybe the LPV at Jersey, so it has to be NDB all the way

I personally find lot of value in that book !

Last Edited by Ibra at 28 Aug 12:07
ESSEX, United Kingdom

Being from Norway, you should have a look at:

As you need to do both theoretical knowledge (TK) and at least 10h instrument time at an ATO, you may just as well go for the literature the ATO uses. I used the book by Phil Croucher and AviationExam for exam training when I did my TK at Caledonian Advanced Pilot Training ( in 2015. It is much harder to read book than say Oxford (lots of stuff on few pages with a lot of text and to few illustrations). On the other hand it is targeted directly towards EIR and CB-IR.

If you live near Oslo, the ATO mentioned above will hold a presentation at Kjeller on Sep 7th for pilots interested in the CB-IR.

ENKJ, Norway

When it comes to the Practical side of flying with an IR – and I have always maintained that the FAA system is so much more realistic in this as compared to EASA/CAA (which seem to be more concerned with jumping through accurate hoops than learning to fly in the real IFR world) and even uses the FAA IR Test as a Training opportunity – I found this Gleim Instrument Flight Manoeuvres a very useful aid.

Last Edited by Peter_G at 28 Aug 12:38
Rochester, UK, United Kingdom
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