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Recurrent Training

by Darren Smith, ATP, CFII/MEI
from Darren's Flight Review Guide

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  Flight Reviews:  Recurrent Training | Intro to Flight Reviews | Common Problems | Darren's Flight Review Guide

We spend a lot of time doing things to our aircraft, including annual inspections, upgrades, and special checks.  We spend a lot of time preventing failure because we don't want to experience failure in flight.  In contrast, pilots don't get the same checks and inspections.  We let pilots reach a failure mode when we make the minimal effort of a flight review every 24 calendar months.

The only way to avoid becoming a statistic is frequent, recurrent training.  Not only is it good sense, the FAA requires it, and so does your insurance.  If you hold a pilot certificate, you are required to obtain a flight review (BFR) every 24 calendar months.  If you are instrument rated, you are required to obtain a proficiency check (IPC) if you are not current. 

Flight Review (BFR)

The Flight Review an instructional service designed to assess a pilot's knowledge and skills.  The objective is to ensure that pilots have the opportunity to ride with a flight instructor of their own choice for an appraisal of their pilot proficiency and to seek assistance or guidance if any deficiency is identified.

Requirements:  FAR 61.56(c) states that no pilot may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, t hat person has:

  • accomplished a flight review in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an appropriately rated instructor
  • a  logbook endorsed by the person who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review
A flight review consists of a MINIMUM of 1 hour of flight instruction and 1 hour of ground instruction, and must include:
  • a review of the current general operating and flight rules of Part 91
  • a review of those maneuvers and procedures which, at the discretion of the person giving the review, are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the pilot certificate
  • Exception: A current CFI who satisfactorily completed a renewal of their certificate with a FIRC, need not accomplish the 1 hour ground.
You may accomplish the flight review requirements in combination with the recent flight experience requirements at the discretion of the instructor conducting the review.

Read the BFR - Frequently Asked Questions

AOPA Online - Pilots' Guide to Getting Back Into Flying
AOPA ASF Pilot's Guide to the Flight Review (download)
FAA AC61-98A Conducting a flight review - backup site
Darren's Guide to Successful Flight Reviews
The FAA has developed new flight review guidance for CFIs to conduct BFRs.

Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC)

Regular 6 month Instrument Proficiency Checks are an excellent way to stay current. Not only will an IPC help you improve your instrument currency, but the instrument proficiency check will be a challenge which helps you understand and improve your current level of ability. 

Even if you are already current to fly under IMC, during your Instrument Proficiency Check, you will discover things about your flying that can be improved. Commercial operators require proficiency checks every six months, shouldn't you hold yourself to the same standard? 

The instrument proficiency check must be given by:

  • An instrument flight instructor who holds the appropriate instrument instructor rating; or 
  • Designated Pilot Examiner / FAA Examiner
The IPC is structured like an instrument rating checkride and the PTS must be used to evaluate the candidate for an IPC.

Recency of Experience Requirements:
  • An Instrument Proficiency Check 

  • or

  • Within the preceding 6 calendar months, that person has: 
    • performed and logged under actual or simulated instrument conditions
    • appropriate to the appropriate category of aircraft for the instrument privileges sought or in an approved flight simulator
      • at least six instrument approaches; 
      • holding procedures; and 
      • Intercepting and tracking courses through the use of navigation systems.

    If the pilot does not meet either of these two requirements, the pilot has 6 months to become current otherwise an IPC is required.

Read the IPC - Frequently Asked Questions
View the IPC Checkout Form

You may not do an IPC in a PCATD.  See AC61-126.

Instrument Proficiency Checkride Reviewer

Cover - IFR Checkride ReviewerThis 314-page review package is designed to help you to get through the Instrument Checkride.  Includes the Radio Communications Guide.  This package can be used as a self study guide or by flight instructors to provide IPC/Checkride preparation.  More Info...

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All content is Copyright 2002-2010 by Darren Smith. All rights reserved. Subject to change without notice. This website is not a substitute for competent flight instruction. There are no representations or warranties of any kind made pertaining to this service/information and any warranty, express or implied, is excluded and disclaimed including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. Under no circumstances or theories of liability, including without limitation the negligence of any party, contract, warranty or strict liability in tort, shall the website creator/author or any of its affiliated or related organizations be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages as a result of the use of, or the inability to use, any information provided through this service even if advised of the possibility of such damages. For more information about this website, including the privacy policy, see about this website.