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The UK IMC rating / IMCR / IR(R) (merged)

So the NAA’s of 31 or so Sovereign countries got together to try and produce a uniform set of rules to make it possible for pilots from all those countries to share each others airspace as freely as possible, during which most of them ganged up to tell the poor old UK that they should not keep the IMC. The result of this was a CBIR an EIR and the UK got to keep its IMC in its same form, although an (r) was added. Once all was agreed EASA was tasked with the job of putting the legal text together, putting it before the EU parliament and then communicating the text in different languages to the “flying community”. And yet @ Jacko you attack EASA. WEIRD


Not weird at all. It took a hell of a fight and a regime change at EASA to keep the IMC rating, and for years the message was ‘it will go’.

Biggin Hill

I still think that the CB-IR is better as it allows the flight into Class A as well full airways privileges.
Do I think it could have been even lighter in theory? Yes (see BIR), but probably not at that time.
IMC rating is OK, but it has got a few limitations.
About “a hell of a fight and a regime change at EASA to keep the IMC rating” – I would not know, I was not there at those meetings.
And it would be interesting to see what CAA and NATS would do with BIR.
There will be a lot of pilots capable of flying into a “grown ups’ airspace”. How they are going to stop those?
Are they going to play that card of “we are not in EU anymore”, so no new EASA ratings?

But, I digress.

@Peter, should this go into another thread?



@Cobalt the hell of a fight if there was one, took place at EASA meetings not with EASA who took a neutral stance AIUI. It wasn’t the only “fight” and they were all again AIUI because one or other representative of a NAA was persuaded by lobbying groups within their own country to “fight” for their ratings or whatever. All I think were allowed to continue eg IMC in UK and Brevet Base in France. Fighting your own corner is a normal part of any such organisation, so I still hold that to blame the people who have to do the work to make sure what is agreed becomes a reality is ’weird"


EASA who took a neutral stance

Hmmm not really. Well, only massively disingenuously. I was at a conference in London, c. 2008, on behalf of a hurriedly created “organisation” called “Save the IMC Rating”, when Eric Sivel said that the IMC Rating can be expanded to all of Europe if every EASA member state wants it.

Everybody who knew anything about airspace fell over laughing at this point… because the IMCR would be a “full IR” in all countries where there isn’t much Class A (basically all except UK and Italy) so obviously this would be politically impossible because the forces “looking after” the IR are far too strong. This was the conference. Worth a mention that PPL/IR were a bit p1ssed off about this pro-IMCR initiative (I was a member of PPL/IR also back then) because they had decided to not support the IMCR, although there are different ways to argue that point.

The UK CAA always had an “equivalent safety case” option to save the IMCR in the face of EASA’s “we require pan-European standardisation” attack, but with all these things you cannot just stick a middle finger up. And even today, post-brexit, the UK can’t quite do that because it wants a treaty with EASA for which Brussels will extract a high price.

It is pretty obvious that the IMCR will live for ever in the UK.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

@Peter you have just reiterated what I wrote. Yes the aim was standardisation across Europe which was also the stated requirement of all the NAA’s, just as the Chicago Convention was an attempt at standardisation across the aviation world. But this has proved to be illusive both with ICAO and EASA. Even the FAA has its detractors. But you can not blame EASA or the ICAO. If there is blame it lies with the NAA’s of each country.
As for the situation after Brexit, well who knows what the situation will be? AIUI the UK have not decided yet whether it wants to remain in EASA or not. For many in France there is acceptance that it is increasingly more likely to be out.


Well, OK, fair enough. But if not EASA, who was to blame for the threat to snuff out the UK IMCR – and British lives with it? Was it Grant Shapps? Or Donald Trump perhaps?

UK GA shouldn’t have had to “fight” EASA or other Member States to keep an accessible instrument rating which saves lives. If the “S” in EASA stood for “Safety” in any but the most grotesque Orwellian sense, the agency would have been an ardent supporter of the rating from day one.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

The blind ideology coming out of Brussels, and those implementing it.

Like in Dr Zhivago.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Jacko wrote:

I have owned and flown FAA and EASA registered aircraft in roughly equal measure. The difference, in my experience, is that the FAA actually achieves its mission to create a safe and efficient airspace for light GA.

Really? I’ve seen other threads here on this forum (validated by my personal experience of flying in the UK “regularly”) that seem to indicate the Uk system is just about the worst from an ATC perspective in the whole of Europe…

LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France

Did the UK CAA really want to keep the IMC rating?Or were they pressurised into it by certain bodies within the UK? Quite frankly most of the other NAA’s probably couldn’t have given a fig whether or not the UK kept it. There had been discussions between them about an all weather rating along similar lines but for one reason or another it lacked impetus. The DGAC here felt so strongly about an IMC type rating of it’s own that they introduced the French National IR. It did not consider the UK IMC rating as “enough” to just copy and it wanted holders to have a progressive route towards a full IR or EASA all weather rating (or whatever was finally decided upon at EASA.) In the event when the CBIR was adopted, basically any holder of the French National IR (only?)had to submit to and pass an English Language Proficiency exam in order to gain the CBIR.I wonder which NAA came up with that one. The National IR then all but fizzled out. I think most expected the IMC(r) rating to also fizzle out in favour of a less restrictive rating. But it seems UK pilots want to hang onto it at all costs and that’s okay providing they don’t expect the other NAA’s that make up the EASA decision making group to roll over and just accept the UK rating for flying IFR in their airspace.
I write this to give an alternative country’s perspective to that given in the UK:)

Last Edited by gallois at 02 Aug 07:37
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