The FAA has closed what it saw as a loophole in the regs that for many years allowed pilots of single-pilot jets to continue to fly without having to get the same annual recurrent checks as pilots of crewed airplanes, including jets. The newly constituted FAR, 61.85, was originally slated to go into effect last October, but based on concerns that many pilots wouldn’t be able to schedule training in time to meet the new regulation, the FAA tacked a year onto the activation date. It now goes into effect on Oct. 31.
Most typically, pilots of single-pilot jets will now keep their certification current by doing an annual check in any turbojet or crew-required airplane or by doing a check once every two years in the specific airplane in question. For example, a pilot approved for single-pilot privileges in a Mustang could stay current one of two ways: one, by going through a Mustang check every two years or, two, by adding a type rating or doing a proficiency check in some other jet or crewed airplane every year. (There are other, less common ways to maintain certification for some pilots, including examiners; check out the text of the reg for the details.)
While the updated single-pilot regulation seems at face value that it would add to the training cost and commitment for pilots of single-pilot jets, there’s been relatively little dispute over the reg, most likely because there’s near universal agreement already that the demands of single-pilot turbine flying warrant regular high-level recurrent training, as outlined by the upgraded requirement. The second factor is that most single-pilot practitioners are already required by their insurance companies to get such training.