Flight Training – IMC

Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC)

Once you’ve obtained your PPL and can fly a light aircraft in reasonably good weather, what’s the next step? For some pilots that is enough but for others, the challenge doesn’t stop there. The Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) rating allows the holder of a PPL to fly in less favourable weather conditions. At Halton Aero Club we offer both the practical and theoretical training towards an IMC.


Applicants must have at least 25 hours experience since the date of application for their PPL with at least 10 hours as pilot-in-command and 5 hours of cross-country flight

  • Current and valid licence
  • Current and valid SEP rating
  • Current medical
  • Evidence of a pass in the IMC ground examination (pass mark 72%)
  • Ground examination valid for 12 months
  • Ground examination valid for 12 months
  • A Flight Radiotelephony Operators Licence
  • Have reached a suitable standard in basic instrument flying before starting the course


An instrument meteorological conditions rating extends the privileges of a PPL(A) to act as pilot in command:

  • Out of sight of the surface
  • In a control zone on SVFR clearance with flight visibility less than 5 nm but not less than 1.5nm
  • Outside controlled airspace in a flight visibility less than 1.5 nm
  • To fly in Class D and Class E airspace in IMC
  • Carrying passengers above 3000ft AMSL in IMC or in-flight visibility less than 3 nm at or below that height when outside controlled airspace
  • During take-off or landing with a flight visibility below cloud of not less than 1 nm.

NOTE: The IMC Rating is only valid in UK territorial airspace, Channel Islands airspace and Isle of Man airspace


The course for the IMC Rating comprises of a minimum of 15 hours training plus a flight test.

The initial part of the course develops flying skills such that the pilot is able to fly an aeroplane safely by sole reference to the cockpit instruments. Once these techniques have been mastered the pilot is then taught how to fly the aircraft with simulated failure of one or more of the primary flight instruments, again without recourse to any external reference.

Having attained competence in the basic instrument flying skills the course moves on to applied instrument flying. During this phase of the course, the pilot is first taught how to navigate the aircraft using a variety of ground-based radio beacons. Finally, the pilot is taught how to make approaches to airfields, in conditions as poor as 1800m visibility, and a 500ft cloud base, using published instrument approach procedures.

At the conclusion of the course, the pilot is tested for his ability to take-off and then enter cloud (actual or simulated), conduct a cross-country flight by sole reference to instruments whilst using radio beacons for navigation and then execute a published instrument flight approach down to the minimum altitude for that approach. In addition, the test involves instrument flight with simulated failure of the direction indicator and attitude indicator.

G-BNKI is suitably equipped for IMC training. A number of nearby airfields have a variety of approved instrument approach procedures, including RAF Benson, thus it is possible to practice all of the types of approach currently available within the UK. Halton is also within the service areas of Benson and Brize Norton Radars which means that we can obtain a Radar Information or Radar Advisory service when operating in actual cloud.

Whilst it is a requirement that all instructors who teach the IMC Rating hold at least an IMC Rating themselves the full-time instructors at Halton hold instrument ratings (IR). The IR is similar in many ways to the IMC Rating but demands a much higher degree of skill and knowledge.




Address: The Operations Manager,
Halton Aero Club Ltd,
Bldg 287 Aviation Avenue,
RAF Halton. HP22 5PG

01296 622697 / 01296 656178



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