What are flight Instructor Ratings?


What are flight Instructor Ratings? There are two types of Instruction

  1. Flight instruction in aircraft when he/she holds: (Both)

(i) a pilot licence issued or accepted in accordance with the Regulator;
(ii) an instructor certificate appropriate to the instruction given.

2. synthetic flight instruction or MCC instruction when he/she holds an instructor certificate appropriate to the instruction given, issued in accordance with this Subpart.

What is a flight instructor rating?

To obtain a Part 61 flight crew licence, rating or endorsement, pilots need to complete training which is delivered by capable and qualified instructors. Pilots who conduct this training must hold a pilot instructor rating.

Quality training underpins pilot competency – this is why the role of instructors is safety critical.

Instructor Categories.

What are flight Instructor Ratings? There are nine instructor categories.

1. FI (Flight instructor) certificate: aeroplane (FI(A)), helicopter (FI(H)), airship (FI(As)), sailplane (FI(S)) and balloon (FI(B))

2. TRI (Type Rating Instructor) certificate: aeroplane (TRI(A)), helicopter (TRI(H)), powered-lift aircraft (TRI(PL))

3. CRI (Class Rating Instructor) certificate: aeroplane (CRI(A))

4. IRI (Instrument Rating Instructor) certificate: aeroplane (IRI(A)), helicopter (IRI(H)) and airship (IRI(As))

5. SFI (Synthetic Flight Instructor) certificate: aeroplane (SFI(A)), helicopter (SFI(H)) and powered-lift aircraft (SFI(PL))

6. MCCI (Multi-Crew Cooperation Instructor) certificate: aeroplanes (MCCI(A)), helicopters (MCCI(H)), powered-lift aircraft(MCCI(PL)) and airships (MCCI(As))

7. STI (Synthetic Training Instructor) certificate: aeroplane (STI(A)) and helicopter (STI(H))

8. MI (Mountain Rating Instructor) certificate: (MI);

9. FTI (Flight Test instructor) certificate: (FTI).

Do I need a flight instructor rating?

If you want to conduct flight training in an aircraft, you will need to have a flight instructor rating.

A flight instructor rating issued under Part 61 permits the holder to conduct flight training in either an aircraft or a flight simulation training device (FSTD). A simulator instructor rating only authorises training in FSTDs.

To conduct flight training, an instructor must hold a flight instructor rating with at least one training endorsement.

What can a flight instructor do?

Provided they hold the appropriate training endorsement, a flight instructor can conduct flight training for pilot licences, ratings (except for flight examiner ratings) and endorsements (except for flight examiner endorsements).

Flight instructors can also:

How do I get a flight instructor rating?

To get a flight instructor rating you must hold a private pilot licence (PPL), commercial pilot licence (CPL) or air transport pilot licence (ATPL). You also need to:

What are the aeronautical experience requirements?

The aeronautical experience requirements must be met in the same aircraft category that will be used in the flight test for the rating. There are different aeronautical experience requirements for helicopters and aeroplanes.

For helicopters, you must have at least 250 hours flight time as pilot and 100 hours flight time as pilot in command.

For aeroplanes, you must have at least 200 hours flight time as pilot and 100 hours flight time as pilot in command.

These aeronautical experience requirements must be met before you start your flight training for a flight instructor rating. However, you do not have to meet these requirements if you can satisfy the following criteria.

For helicopters, that means you must:

For aeroplanes, you can commence the instructor rating course before being issued with your licence if you have:

If you already hold an instructor rating and want to expand your privileges to instruct in an aircraft of another category, you need to have the aeronautical experience above and pass the instructor rating flight test in an aircraft of the second category.

What training can I conduct if I have a PPL and an instructor rating?

If you have a PPL you can hold an instructor rating, however you will be restricted to conducting training for the grant of a design feature or a flight activity endorsement. You cannot conduct training for the grant of a pilot licence, an operational rating or rating endorsements.

Everything you need to know about Type Ratings

Everything you need to know about Type Ratings. Type Ratings are regularly forgotten about when it comes to summing up the costs of initial pilot training and often represent one of the the biggest costs, they become the biggest burden to a trainee-pilot when undertaking them and eventually, they become the biggest asset a qualified-pilot has.

As a commercial pilot, a type rating is your ticket to fly complex aircraft not covered by basic licenses such as a PPL or CPL.  They often comprise a mixture of ground-based and simulator-based training.

What is a Type Rating?

A type rating is a pilot qualification to fly a specific type of aircraft that has significantly different systematic and handling characteristics to standard aircraft covered by basic licenses such as PPL or CPL. The types of aircraft requiring the acquisition of a type rating require the pilot to undertake an in-depth course of study into all areas of the aircraft and its operation.  Local aviation authorities determine which aircraft require a type rating, in the UK, that body is the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in Europe it is the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA and in the USA it is the FAA.  A full list of (fixed wing) aircraft requiring type ratings under EASA can be found here and the same FAA list can be found here.  It is often the case that single-engined aircraft under a maximum weight of (commonly) 5,700kg or 12,500 lb do not require a type rating for every variant of aircraft covered by one class rating.

What do I need to undertake a type rating?

A full list of requirements by the CAA can be found here, however it is commonly the case for a pilot undertaking a type rating to be in possession of at least a CPL (Commercial pilot’s license).  Here’s some common requirements:

What does a Type Rating Involve?

A common type rating involves two distinct stages, the technical phase and the simulator phase.  Usually before the simulator training begins, pilots undertake a course of study into the nitty gritty elements of the aircraft they’re converting to, this course includes study of aircraft systems, dimensions and operations.  This course normally lasts around two weeks and is commonly delivered through CBT (Computer Based Training) with the student working their way through sets of modules and completing a range of progress tests to evaluate their knowledge.  These courses are notoriously fast-paced in nature and involve a great deal of self-study outside the classroom to gain the necessary knowledge to pass the final technical exam which includes no less than 100 multiple-choice questions covering all aspects studied in the ground phase.

The second phase is the simulator phase, pilots are often put in pairs for this section (if the aircraft is a multi crew aircraft requiring two pilots).  The training often consists of 10 simulator sessions over a two to three week period at four hours each time, making a grand total of 40 hours of sim training before the LST(License skills test) which also commonly lasts around four hours for a two pilot crew.  Upon completion pilots can present to the local authority with their training completion documents and licenses to have the new type rating added to their license (A full list of the CAA flight crew licensing forms can be found here).

For ab-initio pilots completing their first type rating, there is one last step before the license can be issued, this is the bit they’ve been waiting a long time for – Base Training.

What is Base Training?

Ask any commercial pilot what their most memorable flight ever was and it’s highly likely a high proportion of them will say their base training.  Base training is a legal requirement for new pilots to complete 6 take-offs and 6 landings on the aircraft before license issue.  These 6 take-offs and landings are undertaken with no passengers or cargo on board and are solely for pilot training.  See our youtube channel for some more information on base training Youtube.

What is ZFTT?

ZFTT or Zero flight time training covers the requirement to complete 6 take-offs and 6 landings by a newly type-qualified pilot subsequent to completing a type rating, just in a simulator rather than the actual aircraft.  ZFTT requirements usually require a pilot to have prior experience totalling no less than 500 hours on multi-crew aircraft or 100 sectors flown.  Pilots completing ZFTT training will often fly their new type of aircraft for the first time under line training in a commercial environment.

What is Line Training?

Line Training is the final hurdle in a pilot’s transition from student to professional.  Upon completion of a type rating conversion pilots undertake a series of flights under supervision by a line training qualified captain flying revenue making passenger or cargo routes on the network of the company they’re flying for.  Line training often lasts a minimum of 40 sectors of normal operational training (the first few flights of which are accompanied by a 3rd safety pilot), however some operators impose a more stringent training programme with a higher sector requirement.  Once the student meets the required standard they undergo a line check, upon successful completion of this the pilot is ‘released to the line’ and can put their new qualifications to use.

How much does a Type Rating Cost?

Due to the highly specialised nature of the training and the highly intricate training devices used to complete this training, type ratings don’t usually come cheap.  It would be perfectly reasonable to budget around £20,000 to £39,000 for an initial type rating on an Airbus or Boeing type aircraft although some smaller business-jet type aircraft may be cheaper.

Do Airlines Pay for my type rating?

There is no black and white answer to this question in today’s aviation industry.  Nowadays it is common that the cost of an initial type rating for a newly qualified pilot will be covered by the pilot, it is also becoming increasingly common for experienced pilots to have to cover the cost of conversions when converting on to new aircraft types with another carrier.  It is, however, extremely uncommon for an airline to require a pilot to cover the cost of a type rating if moving fleet within the same company.  Some airlines offer a bonded type rating, reducing costs for new entrants.

What is a type rating bond?

A type rating bond is almost like an airline’s insurance policy against you.  Airlines frequently ‘bond’ their pilots for a specific time frame (usually 3-5 years) during which their initial training bond reduces.  For example, if an airline bonded a pilot for three years for a training cost of £30,000, the pilot would pay nothing for their type rating unless they were to leave within that initial 3 year time frame, in which case they would owe the airline the balance (so if the pilot left after 2 years, the balance would be £10,000 as the bond reduces month on month proportionally to the amount bonded).

Do I have the qualification for life?

A type rating has to be kept current, for this pilots are required to undertake simulator checks bi-annually to keep the rating active.  These simulator checks are known as LPC and OPC (License proficiency checks and operator’s proficiency checks) – the include practicing of failures and emergencies to ensure that pilots are fully prepared to deal with a range of situations with which they may be faced in their day to day operation.  If a type rating is allowed to lapse without the completion of proficiency checks it becomes invalid for use.

Places to get a Type Rating

What is an LPC – OPC – LOE

What is an LPC – OPC – LOE?


The LPC  is used for skill demonstration in order to revalidate your license. The LPC is an annual recurrent training which consists of ground training followed by training/checking in the full-flight simulator. 

The pilot demonstrates proficiency in all flight conditions, good adherence to standard operating procedures and proper application of Crew Resource Management (CRM) principles. LPCs are designed because you obviously can’t practice non-normal & emergency scenarios during line flights.


The OPC is a semi-annual recurrent training which consists of training/checking in the full-flight simulator. The following maybe be integrated into the course:


The LOE is the primary proficiency evaluation. This evaluation addresses the individual’s ability to demonstrate technical and CRM skills appropriate to fulfilling job requirements in a full mission scenario environment.

The intent of an LOE is to evaluate and verify that an individual’s job knowledge, technical skills and CRM skills are commensurate with AQP Qualification Standards. The LOE is conducted in a simulation device approved for its intended use in the AQP.

Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT)
What is LOFT?
LOFT is carried out in a flight simulator as part of initial or recurrent flight crew training. It involves a detail conducted in real time and representative of line operations but includes special emphasis on abnormal situations which involve communications, management and leadership. The abnormalities which will be encountered are not pre-briefed.

A Line Operational Simulation (LOS) flight scenario designed for training purposes to provide practice in the integration of technical and CRM skills. LOFT is conducted using a complete cockpit flight crew to the maximum extent feasible and is accomplished in a Transport Canada approved simulation device. A LOFT training session is not interrupted by the instructor, unless negative learning begins to occur.

“LOFT can have a significant impact on aviation safety through improved training and validation of operational procedures. LOFT presents to aircrews scenarios of typical daily operations in their airline with reasonable and realistic difficulties and emergencies introduced to provide training and evaluation of proper flight deck management techniques. The result is an appreciation by the air carrier of operational shortcomings on the part of line crews and an evaluation of the adequacy of flight deck procedures and instrumentation, as well as over-all crew training effectiveness.

LOFT scenarios may be developed from many sources, but accident reports provide a realistic and appropriate starting point. A properly conducted LOFT programme can provide great insight into the internal workings of an airline’s operations and training programme for the following reasons:

  1. If similar mistakes seem to be recurring among pilots, it may indicate a potentially serious problem as a result of incorrect procedures, conflicting or incorrect manuals, or other operational aspects.
  2. It may reveal areas in aircrew training programmes which are weak or which need emphasis.
  3. It may reveal problems with instrument locations, information being presented to pilots, or other difficulties with the physical layout of a particular flight deck.
  4. Air carriers can use it to test and verify flight deck operational procedures.

LOFT should not be used as a method of checking the performance of individuals. Instead, it is a validation of training programmes and operational procedures. An individual or crew needing additional training after a LOFT session should be afforded that opportunity immediately with no stigma or recrimination.

A LOFT session should not be interrupted except in extreme and unusual circumstances. Repositioning the simulator and repeating problems is inconsistent with the principles of LOFT. Part of the benefit of LOFT is derived from an individual or crew being able to quickly appreciate the results, either positive or negative, of operational decisions. After completion of such a session, a thorough debriefing should be made of all aspects. This may be accomplished by an initial self-debriefing by the crew, followed by the LOFT co-ordinator’s (check pilot’s, instructor’s) debriefing. This critique should include the use of such aids as voice and video recorders, as well as written notes.”

What is an LPC – OPC – LOE?

Pilots may face sometimes complex situations during daily flight operations due to aircraft technical malfunctions or non-technical factors such as adverse weather. To ensure pilots maintain the competence to master such scenarios safely. An authorized examiner then verifies the competence of the pilot during a proficiency check.Need a License Revalidation?

Approved Training Organisations – ATO


What is an Approved Training Organisation (ATO)An Approved Training Organisation (ATO) is an organisation staffed, equipped and operated in a suitable environment offering approved flying training, and/or synthetic flight instruction and/or theoretical knowledge instruction for specific flight training programmes (aeroplane or helicopter). 

Training for a pilot licence.

Before you apply for a licence, you will need to complete a training course at a flight school.

Courses are designed to train you for a specific licence. You will complete all the flying time needed for the licence and learn all the skills you need.


When you finish your training you will be given all the documents you need to apply for a licence.

CAA approval.

Flight schools must be approved or registered with the CAA.

Types of flight school.

There are two types of flight school. They are known as approved training organisations (ATOs) and registered training facilities (RTFs). You can train at either type of flight school.

Registered training facilities

Training can also be provided by registered training facilities (RTFs) registered with the UK CAA for the delivery of training towards the Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplanes) and (Helicopters). Standards Document 30 lists the organisations  in alphabetical order by company or person/sole trader name.

Click here to view Standards Document 30


Most flight schools advertise a complete price for the qualifications they offer and also a training rate by the hour. Whilst some schools will offer ‘all inclusive’ packages, this is usually based upon the minimum number of flying hours set out in the licence requirements. Many students require additional lessons/hours to complete their training. It is important to understand what is included in the pricing and what is not – for example there may be additional costs such as landing fees or ground training instruction.

Protecting your investment

Many flying schools may offer a discount if you pay more money ‘up front’ and whilst you can make a saving, it should also be considered what will happen if the school or club ceases trading. If payments are made in advance, using a credit card will usually protect the payment up to a certain amount whilst cheque or bank transfer payments may result in you losing your money. Many people pay per lesson which limits their financial exposure and also gives added flexibility should they wish to call a halt to their training or want to change schools.

Regulatory Approval

The CAA’s regulatory regime covers the safety of flying and certain minimum standards in the training and examination environment. It does not regulate the financial viability of flying schools or clubs so the possession of the regulatory requirements to conduct flight training should not imply any certification of financial integrity.

Approved training organisations (ATOs)

Names and details of all ATOs approved by the CAA are found in Standards Document 31. You can download this document in pdf form using the link below.

Click here to view Standards Document 31

Things to consider when looking for a flight school

Here are some things for you to consider to help you make the right choices in achieving your aviation ambitions.

Visit some schools

A good first start is to visit some schools, talk to the staff and instructors, ask lots of questions and get a tour of the facilities and aircraft. This will give you a good idea of the options available to you and will help decide if the environment is right for you.

Seek advice

Those currently learning or qualified pilots are also a good source of advice. Most schools should be more than happy for you to talk to some of their members and students. From this you will likely gain some valuable impressions as well as answering questions you may have about the process and what to expect.

Take a trial lesson

Before committing any significant time and money to flying, a sensible option when you are researching schools is to take a trial lesson to make sure flying really is for you.


The relationship with the instructors that you fly with will have a big influence on the quality of the experience. It is important that you feel comfortable with them and that they appear motivated and interested in you learning effectively. Do not be afraid to ask to talk to a few different instructors when visiting the schools.


Prior to starting training for any pilot’s licence it is worth considering the medical standards required, please see the Medical page for more information.

What you need to know about Aerobatics ratings

What you need to know about Aerobatics ratings. The aerobatics rating will come into force in April 2018 and you will be required to have the rating on your EASA licence to fly aerobatics in EASA aircraft. Until then the training you recieve is at the discretion of your club, syndicate or insurance company. If you fly aerobatics then it’s certainly worth getting this one sorted sooner rather than later.

From 8 April 2018, to undertake Aerobatic flights in an EASA aircraft an EASA License and Aerobatic Rating will be required:

FCL.800 Aerobatic rating

(a) Holders of a pilot licence for aeroplanes, TMG or sailplanes shall only undertake aerobatic flights when they hold the appropriate rating.

(b) Applicants for an aerobatic rating shall have completed:

(1) at least 40 hours of flight time or, in the case of sailplanes, 120 launches as PIC in the appropriate aircraft category, completed after the issue of the licence;

(2) a training course at an ATO, including:

(i) theoretical knowledge instruction appropriate for the rating;

(ii) at least 5 hours or 20 flights of aerobatic instruction in the appropriate aircraft category.

(c) The privileges of the aerobatic rating shall be limited to the aircraft category in which the flight instruction was completed. The privileges will be extended to another category of aircraft if the pilot holds a licence for that aircraft category and has successfully completed at least 3 dual training flights covering the full aerobatic training syllabus in that category of aircraft.

If you already fly aerobatics then there are several ways that you can use your current experience to have the rating added. 

There are many different conversion routes available as detailed in the conversion requirement are detailed in CAP804, Section 4, part P and listed below.

You must  have received the theoretical knowledge specified in AMC No 1 to FCL.800, and comply with any one of the following:

If you have completed:


The only legal requirement is for the aircraft captains to speak before joining up mid-air. If properly trained then formation flying can be a challenging and rewarding skill, if done without proper training then it can lead to disaster! Our advice is find a suitable instructor, most are ex-military who have years of experience. 


There are many different conversion routes available as detailed in the conversion requirement are detailed in CAP804, Section 4, part P and listed below.

You must have received the theoretical knowledge specified in AMC No 1 to FCL.800, and comply with any one of the following, having completed:

Aerobatic training with the UK military forces (other than the British Army)

please send course completion certificates or certified copies of the appropriate pages of the military logbook.

This could be for either:

If you hold or have held a UK Display Authorisation, which includes / included authorisation to perform aerobatics at a display, you must send a copy of the Display Authorisation.

If you have flown aerobatic manoeuvres at a BAeA sanctioned event (including glider events) you must send evidence of this (other than log book records) such as proof of attendance and flying at the event by way of certificate etc.

If you have FI or AFI ratings and have had the “no aerobatic restriction” removed following compliance with UK requirements to instruct aerobatics; No additional evidence is required.

Glider pilots who have completed any of the BGA’s aerobatic courses must send a course completion certificate.

To take advantage of our conversion requirement to add the aerobatic rating to your aeroplane licence, you must have been exercising privileges of your National / JAR licence before 8 April 2018.


The fee will vary according to your circumstances. For example, whether you already hold a UK licence, and whether that licence has already been converted to an EASA-FCL licence, or if your application will be made at the same time as applying for something else.

Validity period

The aerobatic rating does not have a validity period.

You will need to provide

How to apply

Once all of the requirements above have been met, the application should be submitted by post.

Applying to the RAF

Everything you need to know when applying to the RAF Today’s modern RAF is the UK’s aerial, peacekeeping and fighting force. It’s made up of impressive full-time Regulars and spare-time Reserves who come from diverse backgrounds and work side-by-side to make a difference home & abroad.

Source for this pages information: www.raf.mod.uk


To meet RAF nationality requirements, you need to be one of the following:

Age Requirements

Age requirements vary depending on which role you choose. The youngest age for applying is 15 years and nine months for an Airman. The oldest is 55 years for a Medical Officer. If you’re under 18 years of age, you’ll need consent from a parent or guardian before you apply.

Background Checks

Some roles also require applicants to declare spent convictions, and obtain additional clearance.


Whatever your academic background, there are a range of great opportunities in the RAF. Some require minimal qualifications, others require specialist skills and/or a degree. Check the educational requirements for your role, if unsure consult the RAF equivalent qualifications in case they are applicable.


To find out all the Frequently asked questions: click here


All applicants must be fit in order to complete initial and specialist training, and perform their roles effectively. To assess fitness, every candidate undergoes two or three separate fitness tests as part of the application process: Selection Fitness Test, Pre-joining Fitness Test or Pre-recruit Training Course. The fitness requirements for these tests vary according to role, age and gender.

You can see the protocols for Press Ups & Sit Ups here: PJFT/PRTC Protocols

You can download an MP3 file of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test below, listen to the introduction file first:


RAF MSFT: Bleep Test

You can see a video demonstration of the PRTC Fitness Test here: RAF Fitness Test


The following are not permitted in the RAF. Extreme political affiliations, offensive tattoos or adornments, substance abuse and pending court appearances, for example, will automatically prevent you from being accepted into the RAF. See below for details.

Applying to the RAF