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FAA Publishes Notice to Change Pilot Certification Rules

On August 31, 2009, FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register. The NPRM recommends several changes to pilot, flight instructor, and pilot school certification rules under the Code of Federal Regulations (parts 61, 91, and 141). The proposed changes reflect advances in aircraft design and avionics, pilot training, and international agreements. Among the 16 proposed rule changes is requiring a è 61.58 pilot-in-command (PIC) proficiency check for single-piloted, turbojet-powered airplanes; the ability of applicants to apply for and be issued a private pilot certificate and instrument rating concurrently; and a proposal for replacing the 10 hours of complex airplane training at the commercial pilot certification level with 10 hours of advanced instrument training.

The NPRM represents the potential for several safety benefits. According to John D. Lynch, of the FAA Certification and General Aviation Operations Branch, replacing the required 10 hours of complex airplane training with 10 hours of advanced instrument training “allows students to use their time more efficiently and gives them experience with more useful instrument flight training.” Lynch adds that flight schools would save by not having to keep an inventory of two kinds of airplanes (i.e., complex and non-complex airplanes) to meet the commercial pilot and flight instructor certification requirements.

To see the proposed changes, as well as to send any comments, go to www.regulations.gov and search for FAA-2008-0938. Comments must be received on or by November 30, 2009.