VFR Over the Top
Your Private Pilot Licence allows you to fly by Visual Flight Rules, which means that you must be in visual contact with the terrain over which you are flying. The VFR Over-the-Top Rating increases the versatility of your pilot licence by allowing you to fly in clear air above a cloud layer and out of sight of ground, provided that your destination is under a clear sky or scattered clouds, and is forecast to remain so for a period of time after your intended time of arrival.
In order to qualify for the VFR Over-the-Top Rating, you must have a Private Pilot Licence. 15 hours of instrument flight instruction is required for the rating, during which you will learn basic aircraft control while flying on instruments, as well as radio navigation techniques using VOR and GPS. Any instrument flight time from your Private Pilot Licence or a Night Rating will count toward the VFR Over-the-Top Rating. Approximately four hours of ground instruction will be required before you will meet the knowledge requirements for the rating. You will learn about radio navigation aids, meteorology and instrument flight during the ground instruction.
There is no flight test or written exam for the VFR Over-the-Top Rating, but you must reach a level of skill specified in the flight instructor standards for the rating. 18 hours of dual time is required in order to log 15 hours of instrument time, as only air time may be counted as instrument flight time.