Regulatory Update: Highlights of Part 61 Changes

Regulatory Update: Highlights of Part 61 Changes – October 20, 2009

Table of Contents

Importance to Members

Overview

Technical Information

Additional Resources

Table of Contents

Importance to Members

Knowing the regulations that govern aviation is an important part of being a pilot and most pilots would agree that keeping them straight is a challenging task. However, most of us periodically review these rules to refresh our memory. It’s a good thing, too, because from time to time the FAA examines the regulations and decides to initiate changes through the rulemaking process. On October 20, 2009, a Final Rule went into effect for 14 CFR Parts 61, 91, and 141, which affects pilots, flight instructors, and pilot school certification. AOPA has carefully studied the new rule, identified the changes that impact AOPA members, and compiled the results of the research in this report. The majority of changes that affect general aviation pilots are contained in Part 61, but if you are interested in reading the complete new rule for all three parts, it can be accessed on FAA’s Web site. There were also several corrections made to the Final Rule following its publication. The corrections were published and effective on October 20, 2009.

Please call AOPA’s Pilot Information Center with questions – 800-USA-AOPA (872-2672) Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 6:00 ET.

Overview

The Final Rule, effective October 20, 2009, contains changes that affect general aviation pilots. Some of the changes include: A provision for military pilots to use their current medical in lieu of an FAA medical for third-class privileges within the United States; changes to the time requirement for completing a practical test (from 60 calendar days to two calendar months (this change would essentially allow almost a three-month window); a new section to clarify use of flight simulators and flight training devices; and new ways to maintain instrument currency. This report presents the changes in the order they appear in the regulation.

Technical Information

61.1 Applicability and definitions

  • Adds new definitions for night vision goggles and night vision goggle operations.

61.2 Exercise of Privilege

  • Establishes definition of validity and currency.

61.19 Duration of pilot and instructor certificates.

  • Student pilot certificate for those under the age of 40 at the time of their medical exam will be good for 60 months.
  • Student pilot certificate for those over the age of 40 at the time of their medical exam will be good for 24 months.
  • Student pilot certificate for those seeking a balloon, glider, or sport pilot rating only will be good for 60 months regardless of age.

61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration.

  • Adds provision for military pilots to be able to show evidence of an up-to-date medical examination in lieu of an FAA medical provided the flight does not require higher than a third-class medical certificate and the flight is a domestic flight within U.S. Airspace.

61.35 Knowledge test: Prerequisites and passing grades.

  • Adds a requirement to provide a current residential mailing address if the permanent mailing address is a post office box number.

61.39 Prerequisites for practical tests.

  • Changes time requirement for completing a practical test from 60 calendar days to 2 calendar months. This change would essentially allow almost a 3 month window.
  • Changes time for receiving and logging training time from 60 calendar days to 2 calendar months proceeding the month of application.

61.51 Pilot logbooks

  • Adds a new provision for logging pilot in command time while under the supervision of a qualified pilot in command. Must meet certain requirements.
  • Adds ATD to list of training devices approved for logging instrument time provided an authorized instructor is present to observe that time and signs the person’s logbook or training record to verify the time and the content of the session.

61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.

  • See instrument currency chart for new ways to maintain instrument currency.
  • Adds new language to the instrument proficiency check to include “ areas of operation and instrument tasks required in the instrument rating practical test standards.”

61.64 Use of a flight simulator and flight training device

  • New section added to further clarify use of flight simulators and flight training devices.

61.65 Instrument rating requirements

  • Adds a 10 hour cross country requirement as PIC in a helicopter to the instrument helicopter rating.
  • Adds the use of an ATD for up to 10 hours of training time that may be credited toward the instrument time requirements. A view-limiting device must be worn.

61.69 Glider and unpowered ultralight vehicle towing: Experience and training requirements.

  • Changes recent flight experience for tow pilots from 12 months to 24 months.

61.73 Military pilots or former military pilots: Special rules.

  • Final rule deletes the requirement that current and former pilots of the U.S. Armed Forces must be on active flying status within the past 12 months to qualify for a pilot certificate under these special rules.
  • Will need to pass the new military aeronautical competency test.
  • Foreign military pilots assigned to the U.S. Armed Forces will be able to apply for commercial pilot certificates the same way U.S. counterparts can.
  • Allows military instructor pilots and military pilot examiners to be awarded FAA flight instructor certificates. They must meet certain requirements.
  • Clarifies list of documents that qualify a military pilot for a certificate or rating.

61.75 Private pilot certificate issued on the basis of a foreign pilot license.

  • Adds the wording “at the private pilot level license or higher” to (b)(2). Previously had stated the need for a foreign pilot license. No specific level was noted.
  • Adds the wording “other than a U.S. student pilot certificate to (b)(3). Previously had stated “does not currently hold a U.S. pilot certificate.
  • Adds the wording “for private pilot privileges only.” to (c). Previously had stated “on that persons U.S. pilot certificate”.

Subpart D—Recreational Pilots

61.96 Applicability and eligibility requirements: General

  • Adds new (b)(9) Hold either a student pilot certificate or sport pilot certificate. Previously had not explicitly stated that either was required.

Subpart E—Private Pilots

61.103 Eligibility requirements: General

  • Adds new (j) Hold a U.S. student pilot certificate, student pilot certificate, or recreational pilot certificate. Previously had not explicitly stated that any of the aforementioned are required.

61.109 Aeronautical experience.

  • Changes the wording of (a)(5)(ii), (b)(5)(ii), and (e)(5)(ii) to read “more than 50 nautical miles” instead of “at least 50 nautical miles”.
  • Changes cross country requirement (c)(4)(ii) for helicopter from 75 miles to 100 miles with one segment being more than 25 miles between the takeoff and landing locations.
  • Changes cross country requirement (d)(4)(ii) for gyroplane from 75 miles to 100 miles with one segment being more than 25 miles between the takeoff and landing locations.

Subpart F—Commercial Pilots

61.127 Flight proficiency.

  • Adds ground reference maneuvers for the gyroplane rating at the commercial pilot certification level. (b)(4)(vi)

61.129 Aeronautical experience.

  • Changes the wording of (a)(3)(i) to read “Ten hours of instrument training using a view-limiting device including attitude instrument flying, partial panel skills, recovery from unusual attitudes, and intercepting and tracking navigational systems. Five hours of the 10 hours must be in a single engine airplane;” Previously had read “10 hours of instrument training of which at least 5 hours must be in a single-engine airplane.”
  • Changes the wording of (b)(3)(i) to read same as above for multi-engine instrument requirement.
  • Changes the wording of the dual 2 hour day and night cross country flights to allow them to be performed under IFR conditions.
  • Changes the wording of the 10 hour solo time requirement to allow flight time performing the duties of pilot in command with an authorized instructor on board to be counted toward the 10 hour solo time requirement.

61.195 Flight instructor limitations and qualifications.

  • Changes the wording of (c) Instrument Rating to require the flight instructor to hold an instrument rating on their flight instructor certificate in order to provide instrument training for the commercial or ATP instrument training requirement.

61.215 Ground instructor privileges.

  • Changes the wording of (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) to prohibit advanced ground instructors from providing the ground training required for the issuance of an instrument rating or for a flight review for an instrument rating.

61.217 Recent experience requirements.

  • The wording has been substantially changed to make it easier for a ground instructor to remain current by recognizing a broader range of activities that qualify for currency. The 3 month currency requirement has been deleted.

Additional Resources

AOPA seeks to expand changes to FAR Part 61
December 1, 2009

FAA maintains standard instrument currency requirements
August 20, 2009