Introduction to the EASA CB-IR

A comprehensive Q&A video on the EASA competency based instrument rating (CBIR), answering some frequent questions and I’ll explain how I’ll gain this all important rating. Bringing the prospect of some exciting videos to come…

In recent years the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) authorities introduced a new, simplified process for those who have completed experience of instrument flight time as PIC on aeroplanes, under a rating providing the privileges to fly under IFR and in IMC or suitably qualified and sufficiently experienced pilot holding an ICAO Annex 1 Instrument Rating (IR) to convert that rating into an EASA IR. 

IFR flying over the East of Anglia

This course is aimed at experienced pilots not looking to take the commercial route and is carefully tailored to each pilot undertaking the training. It can be added to an EASA PPL or CPL, and also for frozen ATPL Students offering the full privileges of an Instrument Rating gained through the normal route.

The frequent questions for the CB-IR – Q&A

My journey to the CB-IR

The competency-based training route towards an IR allows pilots to take a competency-based approach. By completing 80 hours of theoretical knowledge instruction as well as at least 40 hours (single-engine aeroplanes) or 45 hours (multi-engine aeroplanes) of flight instruction (parts of which can take place outside a training organisation), an IR can be obtained, with the limitation that the IR privileges cannot be exercised on high-performance aircraft.

I’ll be using my IR(R) to improve my skills in the coming months. Once I have obtained the theoretical knowledge, I hope to have chosen an ATO that will allow me to fly G-ZANY to achieve the dream of an Instrument Rating.

I’ll be posting on YouTube as much as I can.

Instrument Flight Rules


In reality, I can do the maximum possible outside of the ATO to get my skills up to scratch using the IR(R). The IR(R) allows you to fly down to the approach plate minima, whilst there are recommendations for higher, keeping in practice along with carrying a safety pilot or flight instructor that is qualified for teaching of the IR or IMC ratings is beneficial.

I’ll be flying to airports that have IAPs, practising down to plate minima and either landing or diverting for an attempt at another IAP. All of this flying will have to take place in the UK FIR, which incidentally includes the Channel Islands through an agreement.

The theoretical knowledge

The content of IR theoretical knowledge varies from one ICAO member state to another, with some being more focused on practical skills and others requiring a greater degree of theoretical knowledge.

I’ll be studying via the CB-IR theoretical knowledge route. There are seven subjects to study to ensure you receive the smartest education to help you become a competent and safe pilot in the challenging environment of instrument flight. I’ll be using PadPilot in addition to the Ground School.

The seven subjects to study are as follows:

  • Air Law
  • Flight Planning
  • Human Performance
  • IFR Communications
  • Instrumentation
  • Meteorology
  • Radio Navigation

Along with the AviationExam question bank (QB), and choosing the right ground school for me I’ll be looking forward to learning some new and exciting knowledge.

Studying the Aircraft Flight Manual prior to pre-flight checks

Improving safety and standards of flying

Over the coming months I’ll be looking at creating documentation using the UK CAA Safety Sense leaflets and the Aircraft Manual, along with other Guidance Materials to create quick reference sheets and checklists that are specific to the aircraft I fly.

This combination of materials will all help in making sure that the CB-IR is done in a safe but cost efficient manner, of which it was designed for.

Oversight & YouTube

I hope the route I am taking is going to make me a better pilot, and to share with you all the new skills that I hope to learn. Whilst this will be a long road to having the Instrument Rating; I hope I can provide you with an oversight of my progression and as I develop my skill set and airmanship in exclusive videos on my YouTube channel. 

I hope to share with you guys in a unique editorial style with me breaking down thoroughly and honestly everything that went wrong from pre-flight, to landing to debrief, what I have learnt from it and what steps I am putting in place to make me a safer pilot in the future.   I’ll be using the reference material above along with Standards Document 01 (A) to assist in my endeavours. 

Flying through a cold front en-route to Lydd for the RNAV

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Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Peter Harrison
28/09/2021 at 16:43

Hi Robbie, I see from Youtube that you made it. I am intersted how your journey was. Where did you do the ground theory training ? How hard is the skill test compared to IRR renewals ?

28/09/2021 at 18:54
– In reply to: Peter Harrison

Hi Peter,

Did you see the posted write-up?

Much more challenging, but very rewarding.