Stay IFR Current at Home

FAA’s new rules on training devices took effect this week.

The Redbird TD is one of several home based simulators that can help you stay IFR current.Redbird Flight Simulations

An amendment to 14 CFR 61.57, the area of the Federal Aviation Regulations that handles recent flight experience requirements for pilots in command, came into effect this week allowing instrument rated pilots to maintain currency in the comfort of their own homes. And adding to the ease of which pilots can keep legal, those pilots no longer need to pay an instructor to hover over them as they shoot approaches on a home-based simulator.

The new rule was part of an overhaul of currency requirements and rules for logging flight time that was published on June 27. There were varying effective dates for the different sections that were modified. The requirement for instrument currency, which must be met every six months, now allows IFR pilots to track radials and fly the required instrument approaches and holding procedures in basic simulators classified as Aviation Training Devices (ATDs). With a starting cost of a little more than $5,000, these devices are affordable enough to keep in the home. Basic ATDs can be purchased from Redbird, Fly This Sim and Elite Simulation Solutions. Previously, pilots had to conduct currency flights in devices classified as either Full Flight Simulators (FFS) or Flight Training Devices (FTD), which are unaffordable to most pilots, and an instructor had to observe the flight for it to count toward currency, a rule that added to the expense and need for planning to keep current.

The elimination of the flight instructor requirement that was part of 61.51 (g) was removed on July 27. So now you can literally pick up an ATD and practice approaches and holds any time that is convenient to you.