Keeping Your Instrument Rating Current

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IR Current

Q. How long is an ME-IR valid for?
A. 12-months from the end of the month in which the test was taken. For example, if you took your IR test on 5 Nov 2023, it will be valid until 30 Nov 24.

Q. What is the difference between a Skills Test, PC, Renewal and Revalidation.
A. Skills Test = first initial test.
PC = Proficiency Check - subsequent tests of which there are 2 types:
Revalidation = Rating current on day of test.
Renewal = Rating has expired and you are testing to get it current again. You must also have a Course Completion Certificate from an ATO stating you are ready for test, following any training.

Q. Can you revalidate in a FNPT2 simulator?
A. Yes, on each alternative year, providing the test is a revalidation (rating still current). This is a good idea as it is much cheaper and easier to arrange. You also avoid issues with the UK weather, aircraft servicebility and finding approach slots.

Q. Does your MEP rating have to be kept current?
A. Yes and no. You don’t need a MEP rating to get a job with an airline, but it does need to be valid on the day of the ME-IR PC, or needs to be renewed during the IR PC. We suggest completing each alternate ME IR PC in the simulator and letting the MEP expire. This saves the costs of flying an MEP aircraft which are expensive.

Q. How early can you revalidate and keep the original expiry date, plus 12-months?
A. You can revalidate up to 3-months before expiry. For example, if your rating expired on 31 Mar 24, you can revalidate from 01 Jan 24 and your new expiry date would be 31 Mar 25.

Q. My ME-IR has expired, how much training will I need?
A. This depends on the individual and how long has passed since the expiry of your rating. After a sim or flight, an instructor will have a good idea of what is required to get you to test standard again. As you require a renewal, the ME-IR PC will need to be flown in the aircraft.

Q. Can I revalidate my EASA and UK CAA ME-IR during the same LPC?
A. Yes, providing the sim is dual registered and the examiner is both EASA and UK approved. UKFlying examiners are dual qualified.

Q. Are there EASA approved sims in the UK?
A. Yes.

Q. What happens if I don’t keep my IR current?
A. The ATPL / IR theory exams are valid for 7yrs from the IR expiry date on the licence. If you go beyond this, then you will need to re-sit the IR theory exams before a IR renewal. Training will be required at an ATO before the renewal.

Q. Can I revalidate my MEP in the same flight as the ME-IR?
A. Yes, if the flight is conducted in the aircraft. If you require a flight in the aircraft, then it is a good idea to revalidate/renew the MEP at the same time.

Q. Can I revalidate my MEP in the simulator?
A. No, FNPT2 simulators are not approved for this.

Q. Is it worth having some refresher training before my ME-IR revalidation?
A. Depends. If your last IFR flight was the previous IR test, then some refresher training is a good idea. UKFlying offer online refresher briefs, simulator training and classroom briefs before ME-IR revalidations. We believe that training is essential to keep pilot skills to a high level.

Q. I now have a B737 or A320 rating, does this cover me for flying a Single Engine Piston (SEP) plane IFR?
A. The B737 / A320 rating includes an IR, but it will be multi-pilot, so it will not cover your SEP flying. To reduce the number of PCs a pilot needs to fly, there are methods to cross-credit the IRs. Get in touch for more details.

Q. Who should I use to revalidate my ME IR?
A. Many ATOs will offer the first ME IR revalidation for free to ex-students. This should be your first option. If they can’t assist or the price is too high, then UKFlying can assist. Prices start from £499 inc VAT.

In summary, if you want to become a commercial pilot, then you will most likely require a current ME-IR to be able to apply for pilot positions. If you can revalidate your IR in the simulator, then use this option as it saves you time and money. With aviation employment booming again, now is the time to get your ME-IR current or to revalidate it for another 12-months.

More information on EASA and UK CAA ME-IR ratings can be found on along with costs for IR renewals and revalidations.

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