Instrument Rating Theory

Introduction to IREX

The instrument rating is a qualification that can be added to an existing Private Pilot Licence (PPL) or Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) to allow flight under the Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).

Flying under the IFR has 2 benefits over a basic PPL or CPL which is restricted to flying under the Visual Flight Rules (VFR). 

  • Firstly, it allows the pilot to fly in conditions that would normally prohibited by the VFR, such as flying in cloud or at night. 
  • Secondly, it provides a higher level of protection by use of a 'Sarwatch' that allows Air Traffic Services to monitor the flight's progress. This usually commences during taxi before takeoff and is usually maintained until after landing.

When flying under the IFR, there are heightened risks, as the pilot may be unable to see other aircraft or the terrain. Consequently there are many rules that are designed to make the flight safer. It is learning about these rules and procedures that is the basis of the IREX course. 

One of the keys to passing the CASA IREX exam is the knowledge of all the appropriate references from the AIP, CAR and CAO that relate to the specific question.

Course duration and structure

This course is scheduled to run over a 3 week timeframe. The course material is presented during the first 2 weeks. A workbook is provided for classwork and corresponds to the presentations. This will be filled out during the course and includes numerous exercises designed to build knowledge of the IFR and to develop skills to help answer the exam questions. 

During the course, candidates will also be provided with 10 practice tests that assess their knowledge of each of the subjects as they are completed. The debriefing of these tests in class is helpful to identify the processes required to fully answer the exam style questions, including the use of the appropriate references from the legal documents.

The last week of the course involves completion and debriefing of 5 practice exams. Completion of these should help ensure that candidates are well practiced in handling exam style questions. The in-class debriefing of these is critical to ensure that errors are eliminated prior to sitting the CASA exam. Participating in a class discussion of completed questions is very helpful to highlight common errors and to develop strategies to best answer exam questions.

Some candidates are not able to take enough time off work to allocate a 3-4 week block of time. For those candidates, although it is not ideal, it is possible to attend the 2 week full time course, and then to work through the practice questions at their own pace, getting tutorial assistance as required.

After completing all the practice questions with a view to developing accuracy, candidates can re-sit the tests and exams to revise the material in preparation for the CASA IREX exam.

Benefits of this course

Candidates who enrol in this course get to participate in an interactive learning environment with other classmates while learning their way around the legal documents and developing processes to asses requirements that need to be met to fly under the Instrument Flight Rules. The IREX exam requires a thorough understanding and application of the rules and regulations that relate to flight under the IFR.

How to keep updated

If you want to keep up to date with new course dates and see when new practice questions are posted, visit the ATVC Facebook page ( and be sure to 'Like' the page.

Expression of Interest