The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow pilots to count more aviation training device (ATD) time toward earning an instrument rating. The proposed rule is in line with AOPA requests and previous industry practice.
The issue of how much ATD or "sim" time that can be counted toward instrument rating training requirements has had a convoluted history, and the NPRM released June 16 is just the latest in a series of steps intended to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of training through the use of simulation.
An FAA policy statement issued in January 2014 effectively cut in half the number of ATD hours a pilot may count toward an instrument rating, reducing the number from 20 hours to just 10 hours. At the time, AOPA asked the FAA to expedite rulemaking to restore the 20 hours of simulator credit.
The FAA acted to bring back the higher limit and in December 2014 issued a direct-to-final rule restoring the 20-hour simulator credit allowance. But two negative comments on that rule sent the agency back to the drawing board in January of this year.
The latest NPRM seeks to restore the 20-hour simulator allowance and is in keeping with AOPA’s requests.
“Training in an aviation training device is efficient, cost effective, and allows instructors to generate conditions that may be unavailable or unsafe during training in an aircraft,” said David Oord, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “The 20-hour training credit for sim time lets instrument students get valuable practice in a way that is both safe and effective, while saving them considerable money. We look forward to seeing the higher limit restored so students can get the most out of their instrument training.”
The NPRM also proposes to eliminate the current requirement under 61.65(i) for pilots to wear a view-limiting device while training in an ATD, a commonsense change also supported by AOPA.
AOPA will file formal comments on the NPRM in advance of the July 16 deadline.