The FAA has issued a rule increasing the number of aviation training device (ATD) hours pilots may count toward an instrument rating. As requested by AOPA, the rule will allow pilots to log up to 20 hours of simulator training time in approved aviation training devices.
The direct final rule was published in the Federal Register Dec. 3, and will take effect 45 days later. It restores training standards changed in January when the FAA issued a policy statement that would have effectively cut in half the number of hours that could be logged toward the instrument rating.
At the time, AOPA filed formal comments asking the FAA to expedite rulemaking to allow 20 hours of simulator credit for an instrument rating.
“We appreciate the FAA’s willingness to address our concerns and the agency’s definitive, timely response,” said David Oord, AOPA manager of regulatory affairs. “ATD training is efficient and cost effective, and we’re pleased students will be able to take advantage of the newest technology to hone their skills. Ultimately, it’s skills, knowledge, and risk management that make a safe, competent pilot, not how he or she learns it. ATDs allow pilots to experience a wide range of weather, scenarios, and flight conditions that would be impractical or impossible to replicate in an airplane.”
Under the new rule, pilots training under both Part 61 and Part 141 will be able to take advantage of increased simulation allowances. Part 61 students will be allowed to log up to 20 hours of instrument time in an approved advanced aviation training device (AATD) or up to 10 hours of time in an approved basic aviation training device (BATD). Part 141 students taking an approved instrument rating course will be allowed to accomplish up to 40 percent of their total flight training hour requirements in an aviation training device.
In addition, the rule eliminates the requirement that pilots wear a view-limiting device while conducting instrument training in a simulator.
AOPA has long advocated for the use of ATDs as cost-effective means of training that allows pilots to experience a wide range of weather and wind conditions not necessarily available while flying “under the hood.”