After years of discussion, the FAA issued a new rule Sept. 16 allowing CFI practical exams to count as flight reviews. The rule reverses an earlier decision and has the potential to save flight instructors time and money meeting currency requirements.
The change allows pilots passing the CFI checkride for the first time, as well as those passing a practical test to add a rating to their flight instructor certificate, renew their certificate, or reinstate an expired certificate, to also count that as their flight review.
AOPA asked the FAA to issue a new rule after 2008 legal guidance stated that the CFI practical exam did not qualify as an exception to the requirement for a flight review because the exam is not a “pilot proficiency check.” AOPA and others disputed that interpretation as nonsensical.
The new rule states that "although a flight instructor practical test is chiefly focused on the pilot’s instructional skills, a pilot must demonstrate satisfactory performance of the procedures and maneuvers selected by the examiner—at least to the commercial pilot skill level—while giving effective instruction. Therefore, the flight instructor practical test standards require the applicant to demonstrate not only the knowledge but also the skill required of pilots completing the practical tests that the FAA instructor is authorized to teach."
“We’re pleased that the FAA took another look at this interpretation and took corrective action with its new rule,” said David Oord, AOPA manager of regulatory affairs. “This decision makes sense and relieves CFIs of the time and expense of taking a flight review in addition to a checkride. We’ll keep working with the FAA to identify and clean up regulations that just don’t make sense in the real world.”
The new rule takes effect Nov. 15.