Flight Forum (Nov/Dec 2016) — letters from the Safety Briefing mailbag

Simulator Logbook Entries

Editor’s note: The following letter has been edited due to space constraints.

I enjoy reading the FAA Safety Briefing, and hope you can answer this question. For instrument flight experience, I have been using the RedBird FMX simulator. Per 61.51(g)(4) there needs to be an “authorized instructor” present to observe the time, sign my logbook, and verify the time and content of the training session. Who is an “authorized instructor” for this purpose? I am not getting training, just currency. Does it need to be a CFII, a CFI, or a Ground Instructor?

I can do simulated instrument approaches in a real airplane, with only a safety pilot, who may not be an instructor, and doesn’t have to sign my logbook, why would I need someone with more authority when I use a simulator? I would think I only need to make a logbook entry of the approaches, and holding, locations, and the type of simulator.

— Hal

Thanks for your questions. The supporting authority on the topic is found in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 61 and its subparts.

Part 61.1 defines an Authorized Instructor as (i) A person who holds a ground instructor certificate issued under part 61 of this chapter and is in compliance with section 61.217, when conducting ground training in accordance with the privileges and limitations of his or her ground instructor certificate;

(ii) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate issued under part 61 of this chapter and is in compliance with section 61.197, when conducting ground training or flight training in accordance with the privileges and limitations of his or her flight instructor certificate; or

(iii) A person authorized by the Administrator to provide ground training or flight training under part 61, 121, 135, or 142 of this chapter when conducting ground training or flight training in accordance with that authority.

Yes, it must be an authorized “flight” instructor.

To answer your question regarding flight simulators, an authorized instructor must be present to verify the time. Additionally, an instructor must be present when accomplishing instrument experience requirements, and the instructor must validate the session. Section 61.51(g)(4) states, “A person can use time in a flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device for acquiring instrument aeronautical experience for a pilot certificate, rating, or instrument recency experience, provided an authorized instructor is present to observe that time and signs the person’s logbook or training record to verify the time and the content of the training session.

In regard to logbook entries, this information (an entry of the approaches, holding, locations, the type of simulator), plus the instructor’s endorsement would be necessary. Since time in a full flight simulator, flight training device, or aviation training device can be credited towards experience requirements acquired in an aircraft, a ground instructor cannot verify the time and content. However, an authorized “flight” instructor can. Verifying time and content for instrument experience (currency) in this scenario is not considered training; therefore, any authorized flight instructor could sign the person’s logbook to verify the time and the content, per 61.51(g)(4). However, if the instructor provides any training pertinent to an instrument rating skill, they would need to have the appropriate rating on their flight instructor certificate.

FAA Safety Briefing welcomes comments. We may edit letters for style and/or length. If we have more than one letter on a topic, we will select a representative letter to publish. Because of publishing schedule, responses may not appear for several issues. While we do not print anonymous letters, we will withhold names or send personal replies upon request. If you have a concern with an immediate FAA operational issue, contact your local Flight Standards District Office or air traffic facility. Send letters to: Editor, FAA Safety Briefing, AFS-850, 55 M Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003-3522, or email SafetyBriefing@faa.gov.

This article was originally published in the November/December 2016 issue of FAA Safety Briefing magazine.

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