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VOLUME 5  AIRMAN CERTIFICATION

CHAPTER 2  TITLE 14 CFR PART 61 CERTIFICATION OF PILOTS AND FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS

Section 3  Flight Reviews and Competency Checks

5-256    GENERAL. This section contains guidance on the background and conduct of various flight reviews and competency checks required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. These reviews are in addition to airman certification tasks and include:

    Flight review,

    High-performance airplane competency check,

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    Instrument proficiency check (IPC), and

    Pilot-in-command (PIC) proficiency check for aircraft requiring more than one pilot or turbojet‑powered aircraft.

NOTE:  As implementation of the Airman Certification Standards (ACS) expands, the term “certification test” may be used in certain situations because it more fully aligns with the integrated ACS approach to training and testing for airman certification purposes. The terms “practical test” and “certification test” are synonymous for the purposes of this guidance.

5-257    INSPECTOR PARTICIPATION. The flight reviews and competency checks listed above are required by part 61 and are usually conducted by certificated flight instructors (CFI), Designated Pilot Examiners (DPE), or Pilot Proficiency Examiners (PPE). If, however, a pilot has obtained a flight review or competency check and, in that pilot’s opinion, the outcome of the check was not satisfactory, the pilot may request a flight review or competency check from another instructor, an examiner, or a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector. If an inspector conducts the flight review or competency check and finds the pilot does not meet the standards for the original issuance of the pilot certificate or ratings that the pilot holds, the inspector should request the pilot to appear for a subsequent reexamination practical test. In this event, the inspector should follow the guidelines in Volume 5, Chapter 7, Section 1.

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5-258    APPLICATION FOR A FLIGHT REVIEW OR COMPETENCY CHECK. Evaluators should require the airman applying for any proficiency review or competency check to complete the top portion of FAA Form 8410-1, Airman Proficiency/Qualification Check (Figure 5-21). Maneuvers listed on the form that are not applicable to the review given (e.g., a flight review for a visual flight rules (VFR)-only pilot would not include “instrument procedures”) would not be graded; the boxes would be left blank. The FAA Form 8410-1 should be kept in the appropriate district office or evaluator file. Copies can be provided to employers, if applicable, or to the airman.

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5-259    CONTINUED COMPLIANCE WITH FAA AVIATION ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY (AELP) STANDARD.

A.    FAA AELP Evaluation. Before beginning a flight review or competency check, the evaluator must determine whether the applicant can read, speak, write, and understand the English language. The current edition of Advisory Circular (AC) 60-28, English Language Skill Standards Required by 14 CFR Parts 61, 63, and 65, provides expanded guidance of how to determine English language abilities and skills. If the applicant cannot read, speak, write, or understand the English language, then the flight review or competency check may not begin, unless the reason is because of a medical disability. As appropriate, the examiner or flight instructor should refer the applicant to the jurisdictional Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for further evaluation. FAA aviation safety inspectors (ASI) (Operations) should refer to Volume 5, Chapter 2, Section 5, and AC 60-28 for additional guidance. If an applicant does not meet the FAA AELP standards, the evaluator may suggest the applicant take an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) AELP course. A course can be found at https://www4.icao.int/learning/home/overview.

B.    Operating Limitation. If the reason for the applicant not being able to read, speak, write, and understand English is because of a medical disability (meaning a hearing impairment or speech impairment that is medically substantiated by a certified medical physician), then an operating limitation may be placed on the person’s pilot/instructor certificate. A medical disability of this kind may require an operating limitation to be placed on the person’s pilot certificate that prohibits the pilot from operating in airspace that requires the use of communication radios. However, as a matter of clarification, this limitation would not necessarily prohibit a pilot from operating in airspace that requires the use of communication radios if the pilot has received prior authorization from the jurisdictional air traffic facility where the flight is being conducted, and the pilot is able to receive instructions from that air traffic facility via light signals or some other form of electronic means of communication.

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5-260    COMBINING FLIGHT REVIEWS AND COMPETENCY CHECKS. A pilot may elect to combine required flight reviews and checks. For example, a pilot who satisfactorily demonstrates competency in an aircraft requiring more than one pilot (part 61, 61.58) may also use this demonstration to meet the flight review requirement of 61.56. For the purposes of the flight review, a single showing of competency in any aircraft should suffice for all other categories or classes of aircraft for which the pilot is rated. Demonstrations of competency may also be associated with proficiency checks required by 14 CFR part 121 or 135, or when the airman is applying for an additional category or class of pilot certificate or for a type rating.

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5-261    EVALUATING THE FLIGHT REVIEW. The word “satisfactory” is used under 61.56, even though a flight review is not considered to be a practical test. The term is used only to provide the person giving the flight review a minimum standard on which to base judgment and comment as described in the regulation. If a pilot is denied a satisfactory endorsement for flight review, the pilot may continue to exercise certificate privileges, provided the time period prescribed by the regulation has not elapsed since the last flight review.

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5-262    LENGTH OF REVIEW. A flight review consists of the general operating and flight rules of 14 CFR part 91 and those maneuvers and procedures that are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate. The current edition of AC 61-98, Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check, should be utilized as guidance prior to conducting a flight review. Although there are no specific requirements for particular items or maneuvers to be reviewed and evaluated by a CFI, it is recommended that CFI use this AC. Familiarization with AC 61-98 will allow CFIs to be better prepared to evaluate a pilot during a flight review.

A.    Minimum Training Time. The flight review consists of a minimum of 1 hour of ground instruction and 1 hour of flight instruction, except as provided for in 61.56(d) and (e). A flight review may require more than 1 hour of ground instruction and 1 hour of flight instruction to complete a flight review. The regulations do not restrict the review to the minimum hour requirement. The person conducting the review determines whether more than 1 hour of flight and 1 hour of ground instruction are required for the review, depending on the experience and skills of the applicant.

B.    Current Flight Instructor. Part 61, 61.197(a)(2)(iii) states in pertinent part that “the person has successfully completed an approved flight instructor refresher course consisting of ground training or flight training, or a combination of both.” Thus, flight instructor applicants who have successfully completed an approved flight instructor refresher course (FIRC) need not accomplish the 1 hour of ground training as required by 61.56 for the flight review. Additionally, if the approved FIRC required at least 1 hour of flight training and the flight instructor applicant successfully completed that flight training, then the applicant does not need to complete the 1 hour of flight training as required by 61.56 for the flight review. Otherwise, the applicant would be required to complete the 1 hour of flight training as required by 61.56 for the flight review.

5-263    LOGBOOK ENDORSEMENTS.

A.    Logbook Endorsement When Satisfactory. When a pilot has satisfactorily accomplished a flight review or competency check, the pilot’s logbook or personal record must be endorsed by the person who gave the review. That endorsement should read substantively as follows: MR./MS. [insert name of airman as it appears on Airman Certificate], HOLDER OF PILOT CERTIFICATE NO. [insert number as it appears on the Airman Certificate], HAS SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED A [insert type of review or competency check] ON [insert date] IN A [insert type of aircraft].

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B.    Logbook Endorsement When Unsatisfactory. If, in the opinion of the person conducting the flight, the pilot has not accomplished a flight review satisfactorily, that person should endorse the pilot’s logbook only to indicate the training received. There is no provision in the regulation for the failure of a flight review; therefore, there should be no logbook endorsement reflecting a failure.

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5-264    RECENT INSTRUMENT EXPERIENCE, 61.57. Section 61.57 requires a pilot to perform certain instrument tasks within the 6 calendar-months preceding the month of flight. The tasks required are six instrument approaches, holding procedures, and intercepting and tracking courses through the use of navigation systems. Section 61.57 specifically does not identify the kinds of approaches or navigation systems to be used. To maintain instrument currency for glider rated pilots, minimum currency time requirements apply. In accordance with 61.57(c)(6)(i) and (ii), glider rated pilots are required to have performed and logged under actual or simulated instrument conditions at least 3 hours of instrument time in flight, to include specific instrument tasks performed in a glider or a single-engine airplane. If passengers are to be carried under instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions, the rule requires 2 hours of instrument time in flight in a glider within the 6 calendar-months preceding the month of flight.

A.    Failure to Meet Instrument Currency. A pilot not meeting the instrument recency of experience requirement may not exercise the privileges of the instrument rating until the requirements are met. If the pilot fails to meet this recency of instrument experience for a period of 1 year, the pilot must pass an IPC in the category of aircraft involved.

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B.    IPC. An IPC must be accomplished in a category of aircraft in which the pilot is rated and should consist of one or all of the procedures and maneuvers from the instrument ACS or pilot practical test standards (PTS), as appropriate. AC 61-98 should be utilized as guidance prior to conducting an IPC. The IPC must be given by:

    An FAA inspector,

    An instrument pilot examiner,

    A certificated instrument flight instructor, or

    An authorized U.S. Armed Forces instrument examiner when conducted as an IPC.

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C.    Proficiency Check Unsatisfactory. If, in the opinion of the person conducting the IPC, the pilot has not performed satisfactorily, no logbook endorsement is required. Flight instructors should be aware that the regulations do not provide for the failure of an IPC; therefore, persons conducting IPCs should not endorse a pilot’s logbook to reflect failure. If the IPC is overdue, the pilot should not conduct IFR operations until an instrument check is satisfactorily accomplished.

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D.    Flight Training Devices (FTD) or Full Flight Simulators (FFS). Any FAA inspector may, at the request of the pilot involved, authorize the use, or partial use, of an FTD or FFS that meets the requirements of  61.4, for all or part of the IPC only, provided the device is authorized by the FAA for such use and part of an approved curriculum. For additional information on using an FSTD for an IPC, refer to the Instrument Rating–Airplane ACS, appendices 5 and 8.

E.    Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD). Any FAA inspector may, at the request of the pilot involved, authorize the use of an AATD that meets the requirements of 61.4(c), for part of the IPC (as described in the Instrument Rating–Airplane ACS, appendices 5 and 8, when using an AATD for the IPC), provided the device is authorized by the FAA for such use and has a valid letter of authorization (LOA).

5-265    HIGH-PERFORMANCE AIRPLANE CHECK, 61.31(f). If a person has not logged flight time as PIC of a high-performance airplane (an airplane with an engine of more than 200 horsepower) before August 4, 1997, the pilot must have received and logged ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a high-performance airplane, or in a flight simulator or FTD that is representative of a high-performance airplane, and have been found proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane. Additionally, the person must have received a one-time endorsement in the pilot’s logbook from an authorized instructor who certifies the person is proficient to operate a high-performance airplane.

5-266    COMPLEX AIRPLANE CHECK, 61.31(e). If a person has not logged flight time as PIC of a complex airplane (an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller; or, in the case of a seaplane, flaps and a controllable pitch propeller), before August 4, 1997, the pilot must have received and logged ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a complex airplane, or in a flight simulator or FTD that is representative of a complex airplane, and have been found proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane. Additionally, the person must have received a one-time endorsement in the pilot’s logbook from an authorized instructor who certifies the person is proficient to operate a complex airplane.

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5-267    SELF-LAUNCHING OR POWERED SAILPLANE FLIGHT CHECKS. Self-launching sailplanes, powered sailplanes, motorized sailplanes, or motor gliders have become an increasingly common and popular type of aircraft for use in aviation sport flying. As a result of the revision to 61.31(j), the glider rating will no longer contain limitations on the person’s pilot certificate. In place of the limitations, the new 61.31(j) requires a person to receive training and a logbook endorsement to perform a certain kind of launch operation. For example, if a person seeks ground launch privileges, that person will be required to receive training from an authorized instructor and receive a logbook endorsement authorizing ground launch privileges. When that person seeks aero tow launch privileges, again that person will be required to receive training from an authorized instructor and receive a logbook endorsement authorizing aero tow launch privileges. The same procedure applies for the self-launching privileges. However, persons currently holding those limitations should continue to hold those limitations until that person upgrades their launch privileges and then the person may surrender his or her certificate and receive a new certificate without the limitations.

5-268    NIGHT VISION GOGGLES (NVG) TRAINING, ENDORSEMENT, AND QUALIFICATION FOR PILOTS AND FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS. On August 21, 2009, the FAA issued the “Pilot, Flight Instructor, and Pilot School Certification” Final Rule (74 FR 42500–42571, August 21, 2009).

A.    Pilots Policy for NVG Operations. Per 61.31(k), this rule requires ground and flight training and a one-time instructor endorsement for a pilot to act as PIC during NVG operations. This rule “grandfathers” PICs previously qualified as a PIC for NVG operations under 61.31(k). Under 61.31(k)(3), a pilot will not need the “one-time” NVG training and endorsement, provided the pilot can document satisfactorily accomplishing any of the following pilot checks for using NVG in an aircraft:

1)    A U.S. Armed Forces-conducted pilot proficiency check on NVG operations.
2)    An examiner- or check airman-conducted pilot proficiency check on NVG operations under part 135.
3)    An NVG manufacturer- or authorized instructor-conducted pilot proficiency check on NVG operations, when the pilot:
a)    Is employed by a Federal, state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency; and
b)    Has logged at least 20 hours as PIC in NVG operations.

B.    Pilots’ Recency of Experience Requirements for NVG Operations. The new 61.57(f) establishes, as a recent flight experience requirement, that pilots remain PIC-qualified for NVG operations. For a pilot to act as PIC using NVG with passengers onboard, the pilot, within the preceding 2 calendar-months, will have to perform and document the tasks under new 61.57(f), as the sole manipulator of the controls during the time period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise. If the pilot did not perform and log the tasks under 61.57(f), then the FAA will allow the pilot an additional 2 calendar-months to perform and log the tasks under 61.57(f). However, the FAA will not allow the pilot to carry passengers during this second 2-month period. If the pilot still did not perform and log the NVG tasks in the revised 61.57(f), during those additional 3 calendar-months, then the FAA will require the pilot to pass an NVG proficiency check to act as PIC using NVG. Section 61.57(f) lists the recent flight experience requirements for maintaining PIC qualifications for NVG operation. Those recent flight experience requirements are:

1)    NVG Operating Experience. An individual may act as PIC in an NVG operation with passengers onboard only if, within 2 calendar-months preceding the month of the flight, that individual performs and logs the following tasks as the sole manipulator of the controls on a flight during an NVG operation:
a)    Three takeoffs and three landings, with each takeoff and landing including a climb-out, cruise, descent, and approach phase of flight (only required if the pilot wants to use NVG during the takeoff and landing phases of the flight).
b)    Three hovering tasks (only required if the pilot wants to use NVG when operating helicopters or powered-lifts during the hovering phase of flight).
c)    Three area departure and area arrival tasks.
d)    Three tasks of transitioning from aided night flight (i.e., the pilot uses NVG to maintain visual surface reference) to unaided night flight (i.e., the pilot does not use NVG) and back to aided night flight.
e)    Three NVG operations, or when operating helicopters or powered-lifts, six NVG operations.
f)    An individual may act as PIC using NVG only if, within the 4 calendar-months preceding the month of the flight, that pilot performs and logs the tasks listed in 61.57(f)(1)(i) through (v) as the sole manipulator of the controls during an NVG operation.
2)    NVG Proficiency Check. A pilot must either meet the NVG experience requirements of  61.57(f)(1) or (2) or pass an NVG proficiency check to act as PIC using NVG. The pilot must perform the proficiency check in the category of aircraft that is appropriate to the NVG operation for which the individual is seeking the NVG privilege or in a flight simulator (SIM) or FTD that is representative of that category of aircraft. The check must consist of the tasks listed in 61.31(k), and one of the following people must perform the check:
a)    An examiner qualified to perform NVG operations in that same aircraft category and class;
b)    An individual authorized by the U.S. Armed Forces to perform NVG proficiency checks, provided the person being administered the check is also a member of the U.S. Armed Forces;
c)    A company check pilot authorized to perform NVG proficiency checks under 14 CFR part 121, 125, or 135, provided that both the check pilot and the pilot being tested are employees of that operator;
d)    An authorized flight instructor qualified to perform NVG operations in that same aircraft category and class;
e)    An individual qualified as PIC for NVG operations in accordance with subparagraph (f); or
f)    An individual who is FAA-approved to perform NVG proficiency checks.

C.    Policy for Flight Instructor Requirements for NVG Qualifications. Per the new 61.195(k), a flight instructor authorized to conduct NVG training and endorsements must:

1)    Hold the appropriate Pilot and Flight Instructor Certificate with the applicable category and class rating;
2)    If appropriate, hold a type rating on his or her pilot certificate for the aircraft that the NVG training is given in;
3)    Be PIC-qualified for NVG operations, in accordance with 61.31(k);
4)    Have logged 100 NVG operations as the sole manipulator of the controls;
5)    Have logged 20 NVG operations as the sole manipulator of the controls in the category and class, and type of aircraft, if aircraft class and type is appropriate, that the training will be given in;
6)    Be qualified to act as PIC in NVG operations under 61.57(f) or (g); and
7)    Have a logbook endorsement from an FAA ASI, or an FAA-authorized individual to provide that logbook endorsement, that states the FAA authorizes the flight instructor to perform the NVG PIC qualification and recent flight experience requirements under 61.31(k) and 61.57(f) and (g).
a)    Per 61.195(k)(7), an FAA ASI or an FAA-authorized individual is permitted to sign the logbook of a flight instructor to authorize a flight instructor to conduct NVG PIC qualification and recent flight experience training. It is expected that the FAA ASI and FAA-authorized individual have met the requirements of 61.31(k)(3) and are NVG-current in accordance with 61.57(f) or (g).
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b)    FSDOs and regional Flight Standards divisions (RFSD) should select focal points for aided vision. Aided vision includes Night Vision Imaging Systems (NVIS) and Enhanced Flight Vision Systems (EFVS). Depending on the qualifications and experience levels of our ASIs in the FSDOs and RFSDs, FSDO and Regional Managers must consider “best qualified” criteria in selecting ASIs to perform this endorsement job assignment. “Best qualified” at a minimum should include the completion of the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) NVG course at http://faasafety.gov. The Airman Training and Certification Branch (AFS-810) is available for consultations with FSDOs and RFSDs on this subject.

Figure 5-21.  FAA Form 8410-1, Airman Proficiency/Qualification Check

Figure 5-21. FAA Form 8410-1, Airman Proficiency/Qualification Check

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RESERVED. Paragraphs 5-269 through 5-285.