Instrument Rating Renewals and Instrument Proficiency Checks

Instrument Rating Renewals and Instrument Proficiency Checks

Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC)

In November 2015, Transport Canada issued a second version of an Advisory Circular (AC 401-004) regarding the conduct of Instrument Proficiency Checks (IPC). Pilots should read through it to learn what the IPC is all about. This information was also disseminated to all Transport Canada approved Pilot Examiners (PE’s) during some workshops held in early 2015. Reading through the AC will answer many questions pilots may have about the IPC, but will undoubtedly raise some new questions regarding instrument ratings.

We have had many enquiries regarding the IPC and through interpretation and incorporation of the AC’s information, as well as through numerous consultations with TC, we will attempt to explain the IPC in a straight forward way. Below is a summary of the main similarities and differences between the IPC and the former IFR flight test renewal.

Instrument ratings no longer expire, which means that there is no longer any need to rewrite the IFR written exam (INRAT), ever! After pilots get their initial IFR rating, they will not need to rewrite the exam. Note: The INRAT exam is still only valid for 2 years from the date it is written for the purposes of getting an initial instrument rating! ie: Pilots will have to rewrite the INRAT if they do not
finish the initial rating within 2 years of the INRAT completion date.

The advisory circular addresses the change of not requiring to rewrite the INRAT with a detailed and thorough section on ground knowledge review which focuses on scenario based training which is intended to lead to a deeper understanding and better evaluation tool for IFR knowledge than trying to recite or memorize rules. It requires the use of more PDM skills, situational awareness and application of all available information which still does include an understanding
of the IFR rules and regulations.

Since Instrument rating no longer expire, they are not subject to renewal, or renewal flight tests. Now they are simply subject to recency provisions. Essentially, instead of doing a renewal flight test every 2 years, holders of instrument ratings must now complete an IPC every two years. Pilots employed by Subpart 4 of Part VI private operators or Part VII air operators
generally will still meet the recency requirements through the completion of their IFR PPC’s.

Any training to proficiency prior to the IPC must be conducted by an approved IFR flight instructor qualified in accordance with CARS 425.21(9) that is not the examiner that will conduct the IPC.

Failures of the instrument flight sequences during PPC’s or IPC’s will no longer invoke suspensions of IFR ratings. Such failures will only cause a failure of the PPC or failure to endorse proficiency at the end of an IPC.

Following the failure of an IPC, the candidate must receive supplementary training and be recommended by a qualified instructor, other than the examiner. Another small difference with the IPC, is that they are valid for exactly 2 years
from the date of completion, not to the first day of the 25th month like instrument ratings use to be.

For upgrading an Instrument rating to another group, a flight test must be completed in the desired class of plane. For the purposes of upgrading to an ATPL, a group 1 flight test must still be completed.

For everything else, an IPC can be completed instead of a flight test. Transport Canada will not be keeping track any longer if your instrument rating is current or expired. Pilots with instrument ratings will be issued new stickers for their Aviation Document Booklets that have the group of instrument rating held, but no expiry date listed. Pilots can expect to get the new sticker next time you complete the a flight test, or IPC, or receive a new booklet license.

So how does a pilot prove they have maintained currency?
This is very similar to the way pilots must prove they are current to carry passengers on board, ie: 5 take offs and landing in the last 6 months.

How do pilots prove they meet the currency? In their logbook. What happens if their currency lapses? They must get current again prior to taking passengers. It is very similar for Instrument ratings now. It is up to the pilot to keep track and prove currency for IFR. To prove they meet the requirement of completing an IPC in the last 24 months prior to the flight, they could have it signed off in their
logbook, or Aviation document booklet, or they could have a copy of the last IPC flight test report form together with their logbook.

The IFR currency requirements have not really changed. To be considered current, pilots previously must have completed an IFR flight test, or now an IPC, in the last two years. The pilot is current for IFR flying if the test or IPC was in the last 12 months, and after that, the pilot must prove they have 6 hours, and 6 IFR approaches in the last 6 months. That is essentially the same as it was

What about the IPC itself? How does that work?
First of all, think of the Instrument Proficiency Check as a terminology change from the Instrument Rating Renewal Flight test, and not much more. In the flight test, pilots can either pass, or fail, or partially pass. In an IPC, pilots are either proficient or not proficient. The skill level that must be demonstrated is still based on the Flight Test Guide, Instrument Rating TP9939. So whether or not the pilot is completing a flight test or IPC, the standard is the same. An IPC is not necessarily a stand alone event like a flight test, but that doesn’t mean it can not be. Whether or not it takes one session of ground and flying, like a flight test, or is completed over the course of multiple sessions, is determined by the candidate’s level of proficiency.

When the IPC is satisfactorily completed, the examiner will indicate this in one or
more of the following ways.

1) By filling out a line in the pilots Aviation Document competency record.
2) Writing a statement in the pilots personal logbook.
3) Providing a copy of the flight test report form to the candidate.

TLDR version
For most pilots renewing their instrument ratings, the short version is, you do not have to rewrite the INRAT, and other than that, an IPC is essentially the same thing as an IFR renewal of the past. Book some recurrent training, and book an IPC, same as before when you would book some recurrent training, and then book a flight test!

How much does it cost to renew my instrument rating?

The actual amount of training and cost to renew your instrument rating
depends on your currency and skill level. Here is a example of a
average student.
3 hours dual Red Bird simulator @ $130/hour = $396
2 hours ground briefing @$53/hour = $106
Flight test/IPC fee = $385
Solo rental of simultor for flight test = $85
Total = $972--


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