FAA Issues Final Rule on Updates to 14 CFR Part 61

The FAA has issued a final rule that makes several important changes to 14 CFR Part 61, the regulations that govern the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and flight schools. The changes, which become effective 31 October 2011, include:

  • Allowing pilot schools to use internet-based training programs without requiring schools to have a physical ground training facility
  • Permitting the application for an instrument rating concurrently with a private pilot certificate
  • Revising the definition of “complex airplane”
  • Allowing the use of airplanes with throwover control wheels for expanded flight training
  • Allowing  the conversion of a foreign pilot license to a U.S. pilot certificate under the provisions of a Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) and Implementing Procedures for Licensing (IPL).

Other changes require new proficiency checks for jet aircraft that require two pilots.

Here are some additional details about changes that affect typical general aviation pilots:

  • Complex aircraft: Aircraft previously defined as complex will continue to qualify for any application where a complex aircraft is required. This amendment simply adds the option to use a FADEC-equipped airplane with retractable landing gear and flaps for complex airplane training if the pilot chooses to do so.
  • The requirement in the final rule will not demand that the instructor have logged 25 hours of PIC flight time in a make and model of an aircraft that was obtained in aircraft having a throwover control wheel (i.e., older Bonanzas and Barons). The intent of the 25 hours in make and model that remains in the final rule is to ensure that the instructor has the proficiency and skill in that type of aircraft to safely provide instruction without the benefit of direct elevator and aileron control.

For detailed explanations of all the changes, see the summary of the new rules in the Federal Register.

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