Why do them?
Aircraft ratings are an essential part of your learning and career progression in aviation. They will allow you to fly bigger and more complex aircraft in more challenging situations, for instance at night or in bad weather. Aircraft ratings are an essential part of every pilot’s skill set and are required as you progress through your licences.
Types of Ratings
Being rated means you will be able to fly different aircraft in different conditions:
- Private Instrument Rating
- Command Instrument Rating
- Multi-Engine Class Rating
- Constant Speed Propeller Rating
- Retractable Undercarriage Rating
Pilots that want to fly in the clouds need to to get an instrument rating added on to their private or commercial pilot licence. Most professional aviation businesses require pilots to be instrument-rated so it’s a necessary step for those who might want to become an airline pilot or corporate pilot.
The ability to fly solely by reference to instruments in the aircraft means than a pilot isn’t limited to good-weather operations. An instrument pilot can legally fly in the clouds, rain and fog, which broadens his or her abilities and keeps them in the air instead of on the ground during inclement weather.
An applicant for an instrument rating needs to be extremely precise and detail-oriented. He or she must be able to follow procedures and multi-task to a higher level than before. Since flying in inclement weather with no visual reference to the ground can be dangerous, instrument training requires a great deal of professionalism and leaves no room for mistakes or carelessness.
If you’re trained well and take it seriously, IFR flight can be very rewarding. It will definitely broaden your proficiency as a pilot, and in no time, you’ll be flying among airline pilots and other commercial pilots!
Single or Multi Engine
The Command Instrument Rating is often the most challenging and rewarding flight rating that a pilot can seek to obtain. The Rating can be undertaken on either Multi-Engine or Single-Engine aircraft. The rating authorises the holder to act as Pilot In Command (PIC) of flights under the IFR by day and by night in single pilot operations, and will cover departures, arrivals and instrument approach procedures, as well en-route operations.
You will cover en-route operations on the NDB, VOR and GPS as well as Instrument Approaches using NDB, VOR, LLZ, ILS as well as DGAs and RNAV(GNSS) approaches. All of these approaches are now grouped as 2D or 3D approaches and you can choose which ones you require. Part of your pilot training is conducted in the simulator and part in the aircraft. You will need to hold a PPL or greater to undertake a Command Instrument Rating, have passed the IREX (Instrument Rating Written Examination), and by the time you are ready for the flight test you will have at least:
In addition, you need to have the following aeronautical experience in aircraft of the same category that the flight test is to be conducted in:
- 50 hours cross-country flight time as pilot-in-command
- 40 hours of instrument time, including at least 10 hours of dual instrument time, plus 20 hours of instrument flight time or 10 hours of instrument flight time if the training is done in a flight simulator.
There are experience standards for each aircraft endorsement (the experience can be in aircraft or a flight simulation training device that is approved for the purpose). The hours can be counted in the requirements specified above.
The experience standards for each endorsement are detailed below.
- Single-engine aeroplane endorsement – at least 10 hours of dual instrument time in an aeroplane, and at least five hours experience at night as the pilot of an aeroplane (including at least one hour of dual flight and one hour of solo night circuits).
- Multi-engine aeroplane endorsement – at least 10 hours of dual instrument time in a multi-engine aeroplane and at least five hours experience at night as pilot of an aeroplane (including at least one hour of dual flight and one hour of solo night circuits).
We are able to assist you with the challenging theory for the Command Instrument Rating, and we recommend the Bob Tait Command Instrument Rating textbook or full time study course. Aircraft available for the command Instrument Rating include:
- Cessna 172
- Cessna 310
- Beechcraft Baron
- Piper Navajo
- Or your own IFR aircraft!
Depending on your experience the Multi Engine Class Rating involves a minimum of 10 hours flight time and 6 hours ground theory component.
The course consists of the following components:
- Assymetric Principles Brief 2 Hours
- Normal Circuits Brief 1 Hour
- Assymetric Circuits Brief 1 Hour
- Aircraft Type Systems Briefs 2 Hours Varies depending on which types of aircraft you will be flying)
- Pre Flight Inspection 1 Hour
- General Handling 2 Hours
- VMCA & Stalling 1 Hour
- Normal Circuits 2 Hours
- Emergency Procedures 1 Hour
- Assymetric Circuits 3 Hours
- Pre Test 1 Hour
- Total Training 10 hours
- Testing Component with a CASA Flight Examiner 1 Hour Ground, 1.6 Hour flight.
Costs are depending on the aircraft used and competency of the pilot, based on this it averages around $8-9,000.
Aerobatics are a great way to improve your flying skills. Apart from the outstanding fun you will experience during the course, your knowledge of aircraft handling and co-ordination skills will increase substantially. Its not unlike undertaking an advanced driving course.
The course is conducted in the Decathalon. It is recommended that you have at least 15 hours of aeronautical experience before starting an aerobatic training course. Note, that this means you do not have to hold an RPL or PPL to get involved in aerobatics, but is is highly recommended!
If you wish, you may complete the full course of training or complete just selected manoevures, however, all pilots must be competent in recovery from unusual attitudes and spins.
The flying training syllabus for Basic and Intermediate aerobatics flight training is structured to cover the following manoeuvures:
- Unusual Attitude Recovery
- Aileron Rolls
- Barrel Rolls
- Stall Turns
- Spin Recoveries
- Rolls off the top
- Half Cuban Eights
- Cuban Eights
Who knows when you might encounter conditions that invert your aircraft, or put you into an unusual attitude. Learning some or all of these manoeuvres will strengthen your confidence and build your abilities to deal with the unexpected. And the bonus: you will have a lot of fun in the process!
Completing a tailwheel endorsement is like undertaking an advanced driving course – just ask any tailwheel endorsed pilot. Learn how to take-off and land an aeroplane properly, then open a whole new world of aircraft flight training, fun, and exciting flying experiences.
A typical endorsement will take in the order of 5 hours of pilot training to complete in the Decathalon. This will include upper air flight training; normal, short-field and crosswind take-off and landings, both 3-point and wheelers.
The CSU endorsement is essential to pilot many of the higher performance aircraft you may encounter throughout your career in aviation. You will learn about propeller theory and operation both on the ground and in the air. Your course will handle emergencies and the care and pilot maintenance of the CSU unit and blades. All high performance aircraft are fitted with these types of propellers and this endorsement will open up a new world of experience for the pilot.
As the aircraft you fly get bigger and faster a retractable undercarriage is often fitted. This endorsement will teach you the complexities of this system and its pilot maintenance and operation. You will find the retract endorsement both exciting and challenging, matching the aircraft that have this system fitted.
To fly above 10,000′ in Australia without the use of oxygen your aircraft must be pressurised. Fly above the weather rather than through it with a pressurisation endorsement! When systems are working as expected operation of a pressurisation system is straight forward, however failures represent a serious threat to flight safety. This course explores aircraft systems, operations and human factors and limitations.
Most pilots receive their pressurisation endorsement as part of a type rating, however there are some instances where you might require a separate pressurisation endorsement:
- Received class endorsement on unpressurised aircraft, now looking to fly pressurised aircraft in the class. For example if you did your endorsement in a Cessna 402 (unpressurised) you would hold an endorsement for a Cessna 414 but not be able to fly it as it is pressurised.
- Flying an aircraft that does not require a specific type endorsement Cessna210P.
- Have purchased or looking to purchase a pressurised aircraft that does not require a type endorsement.