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Do Hours Logged Ever Expire?

It’s important to maintain an up-to-date logbook so you don’t have to repeat training.

Question: Do pilot hours ever expire?

A commercial applicant at my flight school was told by the Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE) that a 300 nm flight he did in 2000 was “too long ago to count toward the experience required,” citing FAR 61.129: Aeronautical Experience for Commercial Pilots.

The DPE told him he would have to do another 300 nm cross-country flight to meet the experience requirements before he was allowed to take his check ride.

The applicant was on the professional pilot track years ago but diverted to another career when the industry tanked after 9/11. He has since returned to flying and regained currency and proficiency.

Answer: The short answer is no. The hours of aeronautical experience don’t expire. Per the FAA: “Regulations do not time-limit aeronautical experience for commercial pilots who are applying for a certificate.” Either the DPE was mistaken, or there was a miscommunication. This is why it’s important to keep track of your logbook and make sure everything—be it flight, ground, or AATD—is properly logged and signed off. You don’t want to have to pay for those hours twice.

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