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Hello - I am a private pilot currently trying to get my IFR rating.
One of the things I have never been completely clear about is whether time on PC-based Flight Simulators (FSX, X-plane) should be logged in your logbook, or counts for any IMC time. I have a setup with rudder, yoke and throttle, but I can imagine that logging time without any supervision or traceability would be frowned upon.
Does anyone know what the human language behind the FARs is?
You must have a Instrument ground instructor or CFII present to log instrument BATD or PCATD time and may only use 10 hours toward your instrument rating. The BATD or PCATD must be FAA approved, it doesn't sound as though your setup would qualify. Check out Elite Flight Simulations website and Precision Flight Controls website for flight training devices that qualify. There is nothing wrong with practicing with your setup, you just can't log the time. After you get your instrument rating you may log instrument time for currency purposes and simulated instrument time if you have an IGI or CFII present and flight training device that qualifies, the 2 above mentioned websites have PDF brochures and Advisory Circulars that should help you. Hope this was helpful.
PS: don't get too concerned about the 10 hour limitation, if you have a good instructor the time spent on the FTD training in radio navigation, course intercepting, holding patterns, instrument departures/arrivals etc. is invaluable and difficult to learn while airborne, just chalk it up to ground school training which will make you a much safer and competent instrument pilot.
With the amount of money you would spend buying a certified sim for your home you could have paid for your entire rating in a real plane even with the extra hours.
A maximum of 20 hours may be performed in that flight simulator or flight training device if the instrument time was not completed in accordance with part 142 of this chapter.
The short version: you cannot log it.
Make it a habit to check your fuel gauges to ensure the tanks are even.
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