Just a view from someone who has had the CBIR for just nine months, and a IMC/IR(R) for years.
I have only filed six Euro control flight plans. The reason is being west of London, experience and a basic IFR aircraft. An example is going from Gloucester (EGBJ) to Le Touquet (LFAT), to file an airways flight plan takes you much further and you need to be certain if routed over London you can make it without ice or weather you are not prepared to fly through, cancelling IFR over London and descending would make one very popular. Its just easier to go VFR, and if the weather is not good, go IMC, I have always got a good service and handed over to the next ATS nearly like IFR, I presume because no one else was flying (very quiet).
As to the CBIR, it’s another very sharp tool in your box, I wanted to cross a Class D area and was told to remain outside, I came back and said I can accept Class A (which they controlled above) and they cleared me straightaway through at a level in Class D. I am very proud to have achieved the CBIR, even if I stopped flying now I would still feel it was worth it. Going to the Channel Islands or Western France when there is a 1500ft ceiling, I used to scud run, now being able to fly in Class A I can go in sunshine. I have ended up with having both oxygen and ADL – other very useful tools.
Crikey, thank you everyone for such prompt and highly detailed replies.
Erh, yes I meant EHLE as the likely destination to visit Joe Junior if he does go to Utrecht.
I am one of those who cannot bring themselves to fly long distances over water with one engine. By contrast, I am one of those who will enthusiastically fly single engine at night.
I have access to a 150 hp AA5 (12% share) and various 180 and 160 hp PA28s (club). The AA5 and one of the three PA28s have adequate avionics (i.e. RNAV 5 GPS).
Having now read all of the responses twice, it looks as though staying with the IRR will be my solution but I’ll keep looking at the full CBIR, maybe at least review the TK materials. If the BIR happens while I have the health and money to fly I fully intend to get one.