Basic Instrument Rating (BIR) - Rules published

Jannes Neumann • 5 March 2020
in community General Aviation

The Implementing Rules for the Basic Instrument Rating (BIR) has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union today.

Easier access for GA pilots to Instrument Flying Rules (IFR) flying is considered a high-priority measure that will improve the safety and utility of GA flying. The Basic Instrument Rating (BIR), introduced by Regulation (EU) 2020/359 and published in March 2020, is an amendment to Regulation (EU) No. 1178/2011. The new BIR requirements that will apply as of September 2021 introduce a qualification to fly in accordance with Instrument Flight Rules (IFR), but based on more proportionate requirements when compared to the traditional Instrument Rating (IR). Both privileges and competency-based training requirements in the BIR are tailored to the needs of GA pilots.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/359 of 4 March 2020 amending Regulation (EU) No 1178/2011

December 2020 update: The AMC and GM to Part FCL covering the BIR has now been published as well. More promotional material and information will follow before it starts in Q3 2021. 

Comments (53)

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

There is no minimum training requirement, so it is hard to see how any credit could be given. The BIR is truly "competency-based", so AFAIU you only need to train "to proficiency", i.e. be good enough to pass the skill test. A pilot who has been actively using his IR(R) will probably need little training towards module 1, but will need training for modules 2 and 3.

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

Thanks for finalising this, although I suppose we are still waiting for the associated GM! I hope all the efforts put in by the individuals that have contributed their time to defining this new rating, will be rewarded by a broader acceptance and adoption in the private pilot community, than the EIR.

What is not quite clear to me, is the Theoretical Knowledge required. FCL.835 just refers to FCL.615 (b). Jannes, are you able to elaborate?

Christian KUCHER

Dear Axel-Stéphane,
the tables for CPL/ATPL/IR Learning Objectives (AMC1 FCL.310; FCL.515(b); FCL.615(b)) are in the process of being updated and will show another column to indicate the content of the BIR theoretical knowledge, reflecting of course the simplified syllabus, compared to the full IR syllabus. This new column will also include information on the BIR module in which a particular Learning Objective will need to be included.
We hope this helps.

Best regards

Rui Torres

hello i have a question
With the basic instrument rating is it allowed for pilots who can fly daytime only to get the BIR ? even if its just to fly ifr during the day??

Nick Wilcock

Yes, Rui. As with the IR, there is no need to hold a Night Rating in order to be able to exercise BIR privileges by day.

Having been a member of RMT.0677 which developed the BIR, I do have concerns at the way it has been adopted under FCL.835. We agreed that training for the BIR should be available at a DTO and that Instructor and Examiner requirements should be no more onerous than have applied to the UK's IR(R) for over 40 years, with the only additional requirement being that the instructor must also hold at least a BIR. However, as adopted in FCL.835, training has to be at an ATO (which will undoubtedly be more expensive) and instructor/examiner requirements are the same as for the IR. In my opinion this will greatly reduce availability of BIR training in many MS and will severely hinder wider adoption of the BIR. Nevertheless, the future will tell - although IAOPA Europe will continue to press for BIR training to be available at DTOs.

Paul Wheal

Am I correct in thinking that the BIR theoretical detailed knowledge syllabus and exams will now be the same as the IR & CB-IR(A)?
Also excuse my stupidity, but what is an LO

Paul Wheal

Thanks, I guessed it was something like that but it wasn’t clarified in the subject document and to trawl the the glossary document is more than tedious.

Paul Wheal

I talked to the nice people at Padpilot and they are definitely not interested in producing any of their interactive manuals for the BIR as they caught a crab producing manuals for the CBIR.

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

I have a couple of questions that I believe I know the answer to, but I am curious whether I may have missed something.

Can anyone comment on whether the BIR is ICAO compliant? Will a BIR certified pilot be allowed to exercise his/her privileges outside EASA member states.

Is there a way to convert a BIR to CB-IR down the road?

Michael Goerz

Hi Axel, like the EIR the BIR will not be ICAO compliant. Therefore you may only use your privileges within the EASA airpace. Yet of course you can convert your BIR to a CB-IR once you have flown 50 hours under an IFR flight plan (and after issuance of your rating, no instruction time) This time counts from offblock to onblock if you have filed IFR. After that you will need to do a skill test in order to "upgrade" to a CB-IR or if you took ATPL theory or a HPA (high performance airplane) for an IR

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

Hi Michael. Could you provide a precise reference to the provisions of Part-FCL that allows you to "upgrade" a BIR to CB-IR? Appendix 6 Aa 8) contains a provision for converting an ICAO IR issued by a third country. Since we have already established that the BIR is not ICAO compliant, and the BIR is not a third country rating, I do not see how that can apply to the CB-IR.

Michael Goerz

Alternatively you may conduct 10 hours of instruction at an ATO in order to convert to the CB-IR. Be aware of the fact, that the ATO needs to assess your knowledge and skills as well (also for the BIR!) and they do not want you to get away with an affordable BIR....

This is the biggest drawback of the new rating as it stills involves a (complex) ATO, which will unnececarilly lift up the price. Only the theory sold by an ATO (like CATS) together with the 8 hrs of classroom involves hefty fees. As we know, basically everyone learns with Aviationexam paying less than 50 € for the real learning. CATS is just for the "stamp".

Unfortunatelly EASA did not have the balls to implement BIR training at a DTO or the chance for a freelance FI to endorse you for taking the written exam. Also the currency requirement as again far away from the new FAA ruling of letting you stay current in a simulator without an instructor. We will probably need to wait many more years and maybe after that there might also be a few RNAV approaches in EASA land, while in FAA land there are more than 5000 by now. So sad

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

Yes, as far as the training requirements, you should be able to get credit for prior training towards the BIR, through the CB-IR route. But what about the TK?

In France, some clubs are already ATO and offer instrument training, but they are far between.

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

Hi Erlend. I just read your comparison. You have pretty much reached the same conclusions I have. I note that you do not mention any possibility of converting the BIR to a (CB-)IR.


[~3752] thanks for all the comments and questions - we are preparing further material as we head towards implementation of the BIR so keey them coming and we will make sure to answer them all as soon as possible.

Michael Goerz

Hi Axel,

"Hi Michael. Could you provide a precise reference...."

Yes, please take note of the attached document. My arorementioned answers can be found at ammendmend [55] - refering to Appendix 6, Chapter Aa.

Paragraph 9: 10 hour at ATO rule
Paragraph 10: 50 hour of experiene rule

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

Thanks Michael. I was fooled by the fact that it will enter into force in Sept 2021, and does not appear in the consolidated version of June 2020, although that version references UE 2020/359.

Nick Wilcock

Noting that the latest version of the Easy Access Rules for Aircrew was actually updated in August, not June and no-one publicised the fact - and then the AMC / GM for the BIR appeared in November, I asked EASA a couple of questions:

1. Will EASA please let members of the Advisory Boards and Committees know immediately whenever the Easy Access Rules are updated. Answer was 'We will come up with a better system'.

2. When will the AMC / GM for the BIR be included in the updated EARforA? Answer was 'Soon' - so I asked 'Weeks, months....years?' Answer was 'I would hope weeks rather than months'....

The abject failure to allow DTOs to provide BIR training will undoubtedly limit appeal of the rating!


Hi Nick, thanks for the feedback. For the Advisory Bodies, I will take that back to my colleagues. The EASA website now enables the opportunity to sign up to get all updates like this. We are also going to start producing a Monthly Summary Newsletter for each of the different domains because we know that sometimes the continual notification emails can be annoying so you will always be able to go to one GA news page for all the latest info.

For the AMC/ GM, it will be included in the next update and the goals is weeks and not months. Hope that helps :)

John F

Thomas De Gaulmyn

Not directly related to BIR, but a little bit...

I have consulted the NPA-2020-02, mentioning the EASA desire to improve GA access to IFR flying.
The document mentioned the Opinion paper would be released in Q3-2020.

I couldn't find any info on this, so I suppose this has been delayed?
Is there a target date?

I clearly see the BIR as a part of this desire, but what are the next steps regarding the improvements of Part-NCO? SERA?

Thank you,

Michael Goerz

General aviation in Germany just took another heavy hit. In total contradiction of what EASA wants to achieve, the IFR minimums at local airports have beed raised due to a completely absurd rule. One needs to know, that DWD (German meteorological service) holds a monopoly in Germany. Now they deemed the airport operators to have a DWD-certified person at the field who´s responsibility is to check the QNH (!!!). No, it is not enough to have the QNH broadcasted automatically (like what every sane authority approves), it is also not enough to have the notorious "Flugleiter" to check on the QNH. By the way the "Flugleiter" is another weird and redicolous German ruling, forcing the airport operator to have a costly person at the field at all times of operation. Well, things go even more insane as that the person needs to be "certified" in order to read the QNH correctly (!!!). Of course airport operators are not willing to pay overpriced fees to the DWD for certification. After all the result is that many minimums have just been raised in order to comply with these incomprehensible new rules. If one now applies the added 200 ft to the minimum according to the BIR, it might likely be that the pilot ends up with a higher minumum for the "IFR-approach" than the published pattern altitude. So I may say, that the BIR is useless in Germany. Nothing to say against EASA as they are not responsible for this bulls... but let me say I wish we had the same system as the USA. One authority for all states with common rules. Again this is so sad.

Stuart Beange

Will it be possible to operate a G registered aircraft in IMC into Rotterdam using the EASA Part FCL IR(R) ? I have a G Reg aircraft and will hold both the EASA Part FCL and UK Part FCL

Axel-Stéphane Smorgrav

Mermoz, which is a reference in France, does not offer a specific BIR TK course either. BIR candidates sit through the same course as the CB-IR candidates. That said, if you look at the LOs, the BIR exam+BK LOs are almost identical to CB-IR LOs (in number). The BIR exam LOs are however 59% of the CB-IR LOs. So sitting through the same course is not unreasonable.

Stuart Beange

Also confusion on whether you can do CBIR theory and then sit BIR using this ? Would be good for some direction from EASA on where the core member sates are with regards implementation and if EASA are working with them to issue syllabus...question banks etc

Stuart Beange

Also be good to know if any discussions ongoing regarding agreements between CAA and EASA for IR[R] and BIR arrangements....As I own G Reg but fly PH also....Currently 2 x licences...2 x medicals...2 x SEP refresh...BIR and IR[R] required....And cant fly between home & work in either G or PH reg under IR[R] not EASA and BIR not CAA... Aware UK at fault with Brexit but appears us GA pilots being hit....even when voted remain (o:

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