Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) rating is required for flight in ‘non-visual meteorological conditions’. Rough translation: The weather is so bad you can’t see out the windows or you need to fly through cloud. It is a flight crew rating that indicates that a pilot is qualified to fly an aircraft by sole reference to the aircraft’s instruments.
What is involved in learning IFR?
The theory syllabus for the IFR includes one subject called IREX. You can study the theory yourself if you have a self-learning course, or you can attend classes at a flying school (contact a flying school to work out the best way for you to complete the theory training for IREX). The aeronautical knowledge standards are prescribed in Schedule 1 of the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS). The details of the knowledge standards for each unit are in Schedule 3 of the MOS.
Private Instrument Flight Rules (PIFR)
The Private IFR Rating (PIFR) authorises the holder to act as pilot in command of flights operating under IFR by day in a single pilot aircraft having a MTOW not greater than 5700kg. The rating allows for the whole of a flight to be conducted under IFR but differs from the traditional instrument rating in that it limits the holder, when operating below the lowest safe altitude (LSALT), to flight in “visual conditions”. This means that climb and descent below LSALT, even though flown under the IFR, must be by visual reference.