FAA publishes certification rule correction

December 22, 2011

The FAA has issued a technical amendment correcting and clarifying three areas of a final rule published on Aug. 21, 2009, pertaining to pilot, flight instructor, and pilot school certification.

One correction revises medical requirements for examiners who administer a practical test for the issuance of a sport pilot certificate in a light sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon, by clearly permitting “a person serving as an examiner and administering a practical test for the issuance of a sport pilot certificate in a light-sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon to hold either a medical certificate or a U.S. driver’s license.”

Another change clarifies instrument proficiency requirements by making it clear “that a pilot who has failed to maintain instrument currency for more than six calendar months may not serve as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR until completing an instrument proficiency check. A pilot whose instrument currency has been lapsed for less than six months may continue to reestablish instrument currency by performing the tasks and maneuvers required in paragraph (c).”

The technical amendment also clarifies the FAA’s intent for use of flight simulation training devices (FSTD) for training and testing when seeking to add a type rating to an existing pilot certificate or obtain a type rating concurrently with a pilot certificate. It did so by modifying FAR 61.64 “to reflect that a supervised operating limitation must be placed on a pilot certificate if the pilot applying for the rating uses a flight simulator for the entire practical test and fails to meet one of the listed flight experience requirements.”

In its previous form, the section “could be read to expand the number of pilots who would be subject to the supervised operating limitation because the regulatory text as written applies to a pilot who completes any training or testing in flight simulators to meet one of the listed experience requirements or receive a limitation,” the FAA said.

It also noted that if FAR 61.63 (covering additional aircraft ratings other than airline transport pilot certification level ratings) requires a pilot to meet the training requirements of another section, the FSTD limitations on that section apply, “and the pilot will not be able to train and test completely through simulation.” Also, pilots who train under aeronautical experience requirements that limit the use of simulation for training will continue to have the option of accomplishing a segmented practical test under the amendment.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz | Aviation Writer

Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.