FAA Releases Updated Circular on Flight Reviews and IPCs

New AC adds important focus on aviation accident prevention.

instrument training
Advisory circular addresses technology changes related to flight training.Garmin

Pilots and flight instructors have a new FAA advisory circular, AC 61-98D, to guide them through both the flight reviews and instrument proficiency checks required under Part 61. This newest version of the circular addresses changes in technology and the operational environment, their impact on recurrent training and proficiency checks. The FAA added important safety information from the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC), findings and recommendations designed to help improve the GA accident rate. These new 61-98D guidelines do not however, apply to pilots operating under Part 121 or Part 135 training regimes.

In addition to the renewed focus on safety and loss of control topics, the agency is re-emphasizing that the phrase, “biennial flight review” is definitely history after realizing many GA pilots interpreted that text to mean training was only necessary every two years. The agency wants to compel pilots to train as often as they feel necessary to remain competent.

AOPA's Air Safety Institute is also working on a new website aimed at improving the flight review experience for pilots and instructors by offering specific blocks of learning such as positive aircraft control, weather & CFIT and IFR Proficiency. The site is expected to go live in July.

Flight reviews and IPCs are not tests and hence a pilot cannot fail one. Instructors with concerns about a pilot’s abilities to safely operate an aircraft will simply not endorse that pilot’s logbook. An instructor’s evaluation must also include the pilot’s English language proficiency as part of either check.

The circular adds important insights on topics like night currency and recency of experience in make and model of aircraft. When conducted in accordance with § 61.57(c) recent instrument IFR experience demands performing six required approaches, holding procedures, tasks and course interception and tracking, as well as using navigational electronic systems in an FAA-qualified full flight simulator (FFS) or flight training device (FTD).

Although optional, the FAA encourages pilots who satisfactorily complete a flight review or IPC to submit a completed FAA Form 8710-1 to the Airmen Certification Branch (AFB-720) that includes data later added to the pilot’s official records. This information that can later be accessed should a pilot ever lose their logbook.


The new AC 61-98D offers pilots and instructors a number of important information sources to aid with flight reviews and IPCs, including Airplane Flying Handbook, Instrument Flying Handbook, Instrument Procedures Handbook, Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, (InFO) 15012, Logging Instrument Approach Procedures, Aeronautical Information Guide and relevant practical test standards or airman certification standards.