FAA updates flight training regs

 - September 30, 2009, 12:33 PM

The FAA issued a final rule revising the training, qualification, certification and operating requirements for pilots, flight instructors, ground instructors and pilot schools to clarify, update and correct existing regulations. The changes were made to incorporate international flight standards and respond to recent technological advances.

The agency received considerable public response to the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) it issued in February 2007. One of the changes to instrument currency requirements would have required pilots to perform precision and nonprecision approaches; fly a missed approach; hold at a “radio station,” intersection or waypoint; and conduct a one-hour cross-country flight, in addition to the current requirements.

“The FAA made the right decision in upholding the current instrument currency standards,” said Robert Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. “The time and cost burden of the proposed changes would have outweighed any marginal safety benefits, which the FAA did not show would exist even with the additional requirements.”

Under the new rule, pilots may choose to complete the instrument currency requirements in an aircraft and/or through the use of a flight simulator, flight-training device or aviation training device.

According to the FAA, it made two significant proposals in the NPRM. The first one details pilot and flight instructor training and qualifications for night-vision-goggle operations and the second one converts military flight instructor training experience to civilian teaching.

Many of the changes reflect and incorporate comments and suggestions made in 1,970 comments by 231 commenters, including trade organizations, flight schools, manufacturers, individual pilots and others.