FAA Allows More Simulator Time for Instrument Rating

Now up to 20 hours of instrument training in a sim.

The FAA yesterday issued long-awaited rules that increase the number of hours pilots may log toward an instrument rating using approved aviation training devices, raising the limit to 20 hours in advanced training devices versus 10 hours under the old rules.

In reality many simulator makers had received special authorizations from the FAA to allow more than the 10-hour minimum. The new rule, set to take effect on January 20, harmonizes standards across the industry.

Part 61 students will be permitted to log up to 20 hours of instrument time in an approved advanced aviation training device (AATD) or up to 10 hours of time in an approved basic aviation training device (BATD). Part 141 students will be allowed to accomplish up to 40 percent of their total flight training hour requirements in an aviation training device.

Another noteworthy change in the new rules is that students will no longer be required to wear view-limiting devices (such as Foggles) while training in ATDs. This is a somewhat surprising shift, in part because very few instrument instructors seemed to be aware that it was even a requirement. The FAA said the condition is no longer necessary because ATDs can adequately simulate IMC weather, though the agency stressed that instrument students must operate the training device solely by reference to instruments in simulated IMC to log the time toward their instrument rating.

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