Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free membership trial today! Click here

FAA clarifies CFI checkride requirement

Change eases burden for many

AOPA file photo.

The FAA has revised the flight instructor practical test standard to clarify when a complex aircraft is required for the checkride, and when it is not.

Changes published Jan. 15 (detailed on page 9 of this online copy of the PTS) clarify that a complex aircraft is not required when adding an airplane class rating to an existing certificate when the pilot has already been certified to operate complex aircraft. For example, a CFI seeking to add a single-engine airplane rating to an existing certificate with a multiengine rating need not perform the single-engine checkride in a complex aircraft.

Many flight schools, including industry leaders, had for decades conducted initial CFI checkrides in twin-engine aircraft, and the single-engine CFI add-on in a Cessna 172 or similar aircraft; students progressed through commercial ratings in similar fashion, demonstrating their complex aircraft operation competency in twin-engine aircraft, while testing for single-engine ratings in aircraft that are not complex (because they lack a constant speed propeller; land-based aircraft must also have retractable gear and flaps, and seaplanes must have a constant-speed propeller and flaps to be considered complex). AOPA staff learned recently that the FAA rejected a number of applications for the single-engine add-on because the checkride was not conducted in a complex aircraft.

AOPA staff worked with the flight training industry to bring the problem to the FAA’s attention and resolve the issue with a commonsense solution. Had the change not been made, many schools would have been forced to purchase complex, single-engine aircraft at significant cost—most of which are decades old, if available.

Jim Moore
Jim Moore
Managing Editor-Digital Media
Digital Media Managing Editor Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.

Related Articles