The European Aviation Safety Agency has proposed a more accessible instrument rating (IR) that would allow more general aviation pilots to fly safely in instrument meteorological conditions.

EASA has advanced this "Opinion" - effectively a regulation it wants to see made into law - to the European Commission, arguing that "the changes are expected to increase safety with regard to the accident category of controlled flights into terrain, by establishing a more accessible IR. This will enable more European GA pilots to commence this type of training".

The Opinion sets out the requirement for a competency-based instrument rating (CB IR) and an en-route instrument rating (EIR) for private and commercial pilot licence holders.

The proposed new ratings will amend the training and checking requirements in the European Commission flightcrew licensing Regulation (Part-FCL).

Specifically, the proposed CB IR course will contain "a significantly reduced theoretical knowledge syllabus appropriately reflected by a different level of theoretical knowledge examination, and a reduced amount of instrument flight instruction time when compared with the existing IR courses".

The EIR would allow holders of aeroplane licences to gain familiarity with instrument flight rules procedures and to cope with unforeseen deteriorating weather conditions in the en-route phase.

This Opinion also proposes a cloud flying rating for sailplane pilots, allowing a glider pilot to enter clouds providing the local airspace structure and category, and the relevant air traffic control procedures allow it.

EASA says: "These final requirements are based on extensive consultation of experts from national authorities, flightcrew organisations, training schools, and the general aviation community." The full consultation requirement has already been completed.

Source: Flight International