Is it correct that there are new requirements for instrument ratings (IR) and provisions to allow cloud flying for sailplane pilots published in the Aircrew Regulation?
Yes, this is correct.
On 3 April 2014 Commission Regulation 245/2014 and Agency ED Decision 2014/022/R entered into force. This Regulation and associated AMC/GM include a new competency-based instrument rating (CB IR) and an en route instrument rating (EIR) for private (PPL(A)) and commercial pilot (CPL(A)) licence holders, and a sailplane cloud flying rating.
The new provisions establish a more accessible IR enabling more European General Aviation (GA) pilots to obtain such rating, thereby increasing safety by reducing the number of potential controlled flights into terrain (CFIT). Moreover, the proposed CB IR course will contain a reduced theoretical knowledge (TK) syllabus appropriately reflected by a different level of TK examinations and a reduced amount of instrument flight instruction time when compared with the existing IR courses. Furthermore, the EIR requires less training, but nevertheless consists of more comprehensive flight training when compared to the basic instrument flight module of the existing IR. As the EIR only provides en route IFR privileges, this rating serves as a stepping stone towards the IR through the proposed competency-based route. Both CB IR and EIR include provisions for crediting a certain amount of instrument flight time on aeroplanes outside of an ATO, such as instrument flight time under instruction, prior pilot-in-command (PIC) instrument flight time, including crediting provisions for third-country IR holders.
The cloud flying rating for sailplane pilots allows holders to enter clouds whilst taking into account the airspace structure, the required minima in different airspace categories, and the relevant Air Traffic Control (ATC) procedures.