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Pilots: What do you think about Part 61 changes?

Pilots: What do you think about Part 61 changes?

Flight simulator

The FAA's proposed overhaul of the pilot certification regulations needs some tweaking, and AOPA wants your ideas.

"We need to know how these changes would affect your flying," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "Some of the benefits and problem areas are obvious, but others are a little more gray."

You can start by reviewing a chart that explains all of the FAA's proposed changes - in plain English - and AOPA's position. You can send us your feedback on the changes and our position via e-mail.

"While the FAA's proposed changes would affect pilots of different aircraft classes and certificate levels in different ways," Gutierrez continued, "we have pulled out the top 10 proposed changes that we think would positively or negatively affect our members."


  • No longer require you to provide your Social Security number - not even on pilot or medical application forms, for lost or replacement certificates, or to take written exams

By law, the FAA can't require that now, so this would remove the requirement from the FARs.

  • CFIs would have to renew their privileges every two years but could keep the same certificate
  • Student pilot certificates would have the same duration as third class medical certificates
  • Easier transition for military pilots turning to civilian flying
  • Required cross-countries for the commercial certificate could be conducted either solo or as pilot in command with instructor on board

AOPA will encourage the FAA to extend this to flying pilot in command with passengers on board.


  • Add one hour of simulated cross-country practice to instrument currency

This would include intercepting and tracking courses and going through the takeoff, departure, en route, area arrival, approach, and missed approach phases. It could potentially require pilots to fly standard instrument departures (SIDs) and standard terminal arrival routes (STARs).

  • Require a holding pattern at a radio station and an intersection or waypoint

"We believe the requirements for holding should be based on the procedure, not the technology," Gutierrez said. "This requirement eventually would be difficult to fulfill as the FAA continues to decommission NDBs and VORs."

  • Require pilots to wear a "view-limiting device" while training on a personal computer-based aviation training device (PCATD)

"That just doesn't make sense," said Gutierrez. "The devices can simulate instrument conditions, so why wear Foggles or hoods?"

  • Carry a "valid and current" pilot certificate on board the aircraft

To prove you are carrying a "current" pilot certificate, you might have to keep your logbook with you in the aircraft.

  • All definitions of "cross-country" would be changed to "more than 50 nautical miles"

"Changes to Part 61 don't happen very often, and this proposal was 10 years in the making, so we've got to do this right the first time," Gutierrez said. "Your input as a pilot and AOPA member is paramount, so we've tried to make it as easy as possible for you to send us your feedback."

February 20, 2007

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