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Dear all,

I guess this has already been discussed in the forum, but I did not find any recent thread.
Here’s my question:

Following your precious advice a few months ago, I got the NVFR rating in a club on Marseille airport. This was good fun but, above all, the first step towards an instrument rating.
So I’m now looking at getting the IR theoretical exams. My plan is to start with the common EIR / CBIR exam. I will then do the 15 flight hours required to get an EIR in a local flight school. The additional 25 hours for a full CB IR will come as (hopefully) my budget increases in the future.

I looked at various websites, including this one (in French). I am now confused by the difference between CB-IR et “normal” IR:

  • Same pre-requesites
  • Same privileges
  • Same training in flight (40 hours)
  • BUT a longer and more complex theoretical part for the “normal” IR.

Question: why would anybody elect to perform the “normal” IR if it gives the same privileges as a the CB IR, but with a more complex and more expensive theoretical training?



Last Edited by Alboule at 30 Jul 13:03

Good question. I was surprised to see that the old IR survived after CB-IR was released.
Isn’t the required flight training for the old IR 50 hours? in which case there is yet another reason to abandon that altogether in favour of the CB-IR.

A couple of possible explanations:
The industry needs time to develop new training manuals, syllabi etc.
The old IR is a well established part of the commercial ab-initio training, where the additional complex theorethical part is needed anyway on your way towards ATPL.

I was involved in setting up a CB-IR course during last winter. In the process I found out there is some scepticism in the world of commercial pilots towards the CB-IR, with some fright of “amateur” IR pilots mingling in the “professional” sky, and reluctance in accepting the CB-IR as anything other than an “special” route towards the IR reserved for “special” cases like FAA or 3rd world IR conversions or IR completions. Totally different from EASA’s view and intentions. Hopefully the reluctance will prove totally unwarranted and CB-IR will soon be the norm.

EKRK, Denmark

I think if you are going for ATPL (CPL?) the exams for the IR count towards that, while (most of?) the ones taken under CB IR don’t count

For the old IR you have choices in the exams you do.

You can do the IR exams – that seems pointless to me, you may as well do the CB-IR exams and CB-IR is the way to go if you intend to fly privately
You can do the CPL exams – Some value for a future CPL, but will not be useful if you want to become an airline pilot, I don’t think anyone follows this route.
You can do the ATPL exams – This is the preferred route if you are heading towards a career in Multi Pilot Aircraft, as you will have to do them one day

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

IR is 50h

my guess is CB-IR is not opened for pilots ab-initio (like taking an integrated ATPL or CPL/IR course ?)
in which case the theory is not really important (they will most probably to an ATPL theory which encompasses any form of IR) but the practical part is 50h

and then how you are allowed to do these 50h is different from the 40h of the CB-IR

I may be wrong but IR is totally FTO and CB-IR has only 10h flight minimum in FTO (out of 40)

ELLX (Luxembourg), Luxembourg

A very good question indeed!

The CB IR is a full ICAO IR, and the skills test is same as the full IR skills test. Only the route used to obtain the IR differs.

The only reasons I can think of for doing the old “JAA” IR (I did the FAA IR to JAA IR conversion route in 2011/12) are

  • with the old JAA IR seven exams you get credit for the HP&L exam, should you later want to do the full 14 ATPL (CPL/IR) exams, reducing them from 14 to 13
  • some ATOs are not geared up for the CB IR but have been doing the old one for years (actually not that many ATOs have ever done the 7-exam IR; most just do the 14-exam ATPL route and don’t want private pilots at all)
  • some people spread disinformation that the CB IR is somehow “substandard”
  • at least some CAAs mark the CB IR on your license papers as “CB IR” and not just “IR”. This is a suspicious development. We have discussed it here previously – e.g. here Nobody seems to know why the CAAs do this.

In reality, and industry insiders confirm this, very few pilots will reach the skills test standard in much less than 50 hours of training. The main difference is therefore that with the CB IR you can make effective use of previous experience, whether logged or unlogged. With the old IR you had to sit on your bum for 50/55 (SE/ME) hours at an ATO, in a sim or in an aircraft, even if you had 10,000 hours of (some non-ICAO, maybe non-PIC) instrument time.

Also, the CB IR exams are perhaps 1/3 less work than the old IR exams. That’s worth quite a lot. In the end it means you spend that much less time sitting down with an Ipad and banging the online question bank for a few weeks… I am not sure whether the minimum classroom time (and, for many, resulting hotel residence) has been reduced. Does anyone have any real-world data on this? I have data only on the 13-exam CPL process (three 4-day classroom sessions at CATS) but that is the old JAA route.

So, a clever well-informed pilot will same himself a load of money and hassle (hotel stays, etc) by doing the CB IR and doing the maximum possible amount outside an ATO. Especially if he owns a plane, because the marginal cost of flying your own plane is far less than sitting in front of an ATO sim, and far less still than flying an ATO plane (with an instructor). Well, unless the plane is a Cessna 421

I am sure the industry hopes not too many of the young ATPL students who drop €100k at the ATO discover this option. They will still need to do the full 14 ATPL written exams, but a clever one will save himself a big bundle on the flight training. What an airline recruiting will make of this, I have no idea

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Thanks a lot for your detailed answers!

I’m going to register for a CB-IR course, probably at Institut Mermoz. Anybody got experience with this ATO?



Peter wrote:

at least some CAAs mark the CB IR on your license papers as “CB IR” and not just “IR”. This is a suspicious development. We have discussed it here previously – e.g. here Nobody seems to know why the CAAs do this

I asked them about this, because the note appears in the Remarks section of my licence. They told me it was to differentiate whether you have done the full IR TK or the CB-IR reduced TK. If it’s the latter you need to do a High Performance Aircraft exam to get any type rating on a Single Pilot High Performance Aircraft.

Since I did the HPA theory in May, and then a CE525 Single Pilot Type Rating last week it will be very interesting to see if they are going to remove the remark as it is no longer applicable to me. I intend to visit the CAA at Gatwick soon, maybe on Monday.

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)

They told me it was to differentiate whether you have done the full IR TK or the CB-IR reduced TK

But surely the same would have been true for the old JAA 7-exam IR too.

The “ICAO ATPL exam passes” route to the HPA Rating is

  • the FAA ATP exam (there is only one)
  • the 14 JAA/EASA IR exams
  • the exam passes from some other ICAO ATPL

The 7 “PPL/IR” exams have always (well since 1999) counted for nothing else, except the HP&L credit towards the 13 CPL exams or the 14 ATPL exams.

Or is there some other subtlety e.g. the ATOs which train the HPA will accept the 7-exam JAA/EASA IR people but won’t accept the 7-exam CB IR people? I do know that just about no organisation which does jet type ratings accepts somebody without a valid IR.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

It is a pre requisite for the issue of a SPHPA type rating that you hold an IR. It’s a bit crazy, because once you have the type rating it also includes an IR only valid on type. Therefore you can renew the SPA-ME IR independently of a Citation type ratiing and it’s associated IR. The LST for the initial issue of a TR is also an IR test

Darley Moor, Gamston (UK)
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