AOPA Radio Navigation Course


The AOPA Radio Navigation Course has been designed to encourage pilots who hold a licence to obtain formal training in radio navigation procedures for use under Visual Flight Rules in accordance with the privileges of their licences.

Additionally, for holders of a JAR-FCL PPL issued by the UK CAA, the course of training can be taken as a progressive step towards obtaining a IR(R) rating. This means that a PPL holder who has qualified for the AOPA Radio Navigation Certificate may be exempt from up to five hours instrument training of the Applied Stage of the IR(R) course.

The course is available from any flight training organisation that is a corporate member of AOPA.

There is a cost of £10 for members and £15 for non-members to cover AOPA Admin costs for the issue of the Radio Navigation Course certificate.  Details are contained in the course syllabus and training record which will be provided by your training organisation.


Ground Training

Completion of Core Course in Ground Training, comprising a minimum of 10 hours, five hours training to be give by an instructor competent to give radio navigation instruction and the remaining five hours through self study under supervision.

Ground Training subjects

  • Basic Radio Principles
  • Morse Code
  • Basic principles of Radio Navigation Aids
  • Pre-Fight & Aerodrome Departure Procedures
  • Aeronautical Information Publications
  • Flight Planning
  • Use of En-Route Radar Services
  • Use of GPS

Flight Training

The course will consist of a minimum of five hours flight training, of which one hour may be conducted in a Flight Navigation Procedures Trainer or a flight simulator approved by the CAA.

Flight training will be conducted by an Instructor, authorised by the UK CAA, whose Licence has had the Applied Instrument Limitation rating removed.

Flight Training Subjects

  • Use of Radar Services
  • Use of GPS as an additional navigation aid.

In addition, each candidate will select three of the following four radio navigation aids for ground and flight training—VOR, DME, ADF and VHF/DF.

Radio Navigation Certificate Skill Test

Completion of Radio Navigation Skill Test to be conducted in flight by a Flight Examiner authorised by UK CAA who has been approved by AOPA.

Skill Test Requirements

On completion of the course the candidate will be required to have his/her competence assessed in flight by a Flight Examiner who is authorised by the UK CAA, and has been approved by AOPA.

A VFR dead reckoning navigation leg of not less than 25 nm using any of VOR, DME, ADF or VDF for fixing backed up by map reading; GPS may be used to confirm fixes. Direct tracking to/from navigation beacons will not be allowed

A diversion leg of at least 20nm must then be flown using only radio aids for navigation except for visual identification of the final destination, GPS may be used as the main aid but must be backed by at least one fix using other radio navigation aids.

In the course of the whole flight all other tasks listed on the Skill Test form will be assessed. The training in the navaids selected will be in conformity with the knowledge and competence in Radio Navigation required for those sections of the syllabus for the UK IR(R) rating.

Procedure for obtaining the Radio Navigation Certificate

A candidate wishing to obtain the certificate can commence the course at any time after qualifying for a Private Pilot’s Licence and a Flight Radio Telephony Operator’s Licence. Courses are run by a number of AOPA Corporate members :-

Map of Training providers

List of Training providers

There are no minimum pre-entry hour or calendar time requirements nor is there a calendar time requirement to complete the course of training.

The application form contained in the syllabus must be completed by the candidate, the instructor(s) conducting the course and the Examiner. These are available from your training provider.

The completed form is to be sent to AOPA with a cheque for £15 to cover administration and issue of certificate. However if the candidate is a member of AOPA this fee will be £10.

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