Transport Canada – Civil Aviation has been approached about introducing a variant of the IFR rating, and is open to discussing the idea.

According to COPA’s Operations Director Jean-Claude (JC) Audet, the idea would be to introduce a simplified IFR rating that would allow a private pilot to take off in VMC, fly IFR en route, and land in VMC. The weather minima for departures would be a 2,000-foot ceiling with three miles of visibility, and a 3,000-foot ceiling and five miles of visibility for landing. The climb, en route and descent phases of flight in IMC would be permitted.

Such a rating would be based on GNSS (e.g. GPS) instrumentation only, with other forms of radio navigation such as NDB, VOR and ILS not permitted. The instrument type rating examination (INRAT) and IFR flight test would consider only GNSS navigation.

Similar ratings already exist in Europe and Australia. In the European version, an EIR rating allows a pilot to fly in IMC after a VFR departure. VFR conditions must prevail at the intended landing site (and presumably the designated alternate). IFR departures and approaches are not permitted.

In the Australian version (Private IFR Rating – PIFR), the rating allows for the whole of a flight to be conducted under the IFR but differs from the traditional instrument rating in that it limits the holder to flight in visual conditions, that is, with a flight visibility of at least 5,000 metres and clear of cloud when operating below 1,360 feet above highest terrain, or 1000 feet above the highest obstacle on that terrain. The minimum aeronautical experience for the issue of a PIFR rating is 20 hours instrument time, of which 10 hours must be dual instrument flight time in the category of aircraft for which the rating is sought.

COPA is inviting feedback on this issue and will communicate the results to TCCA. Click on this link now to provide feedback.