Changes also affect military certificate transfers and simulator use for flight currency.
A final FAA rule published in the Federal Register has removed one more major roadblock to certifying more pilots. The updated Part 61 will soon approve the use of a technically advanced airplane, like a Cirrus, as a substitute for the traditional complex aircraft used for commercial and flight instructor checkrides. Some of the changes incorporated into the updated Part 61 were derived from industry suggestions. This updated certification news closely follows word in April that the agency was dropping the requirement to use a complex airplane for some portions of these checkrides.
The FAA said reasons for the change include the need to relieve some of the burdens being placed on pilot applicants due to the difficulty in locating complex aircraft, as well as to take better advantage of recent aviation training device technologies that have proven to be a safe, effective and affordable method of gaining pilot experience.
In addition to changes related to training aircraft, the updated rule also expands the opportunities for military instructor pilots or examiners to pick up their civilian ratings based on their military experience. Another will allow pilots to log time to maintain currency in an FAA-approved FFS, FTD or ATD without the need for a flight instructor to be looking over their shoulder. Finally, the FAA will soon allow sport pilot instructors to serve as safety pilots.
Some of the changes to Part 61 become effective on July 27, 2018, with all expected to be in place before the end of 2018.