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Oct
24
2022

This Could Be Your Path Back to Pilothood

Posted 35 days ago ago by Admin

As the pilot shortage becomes more of an issue within all segments of aviation, an increasing number of pilots that have not flown in several years are returning to the flight deck. One such group that is reentering the pilot fold are former military aviators. In some cases, these pilots left the military and did not obtain Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certificates prior to discharging from their military service.   

The daunting task of having to complete flight training all again push many to reconsider this endeavor. To re-engage pilot training is a costly, time-consuming effort that is never guaranteed to pay. But what about all those flight hours that were flown in service to our country? Is there a way to use those hours even after years of separation from the military? Absolutely!

The Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) 14 CFR 61.41 - “Flight Training Received from Flight Instructors not Certificated by the FAA,” provides the relief requested in such situations. Within 61.41, a pilot may credit all the flight training hours logged during training if certain conditions were met. 

14 CFR 61.41 states that a person may credit flight training toward the requirements of a pilot certificate or rating issued under Part 61 if that person received the training from:

  • 61.41 (a)(1) A flight instructor of an armed force in a program for training military pilots of either

    • (i) The United States; or

    • (ii) A foreign contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation

Furthermore, the ability to credit flight hours from years gone by is not limited to those within the military. This regulation also provides pilots from other countries desiring FAA pilot certification the opportunity to credit their previously accumulated flight training hours received from non-FAA certificated flight instructors in other countries as well: 

  • 61.41 (a)(2) A flight instructor who is authorized to give such training by the licensing authority of a foreign contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and the flight training is given outside the United States.

So, as you can see the FAA provides a path to allow credit for previously logged flight hours with conditions. The conditions stated make sense as the FAA desires the training to be conducted by an entity within a country that is a member State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (or ICAO). This provides a standardization of knowledge and experience that is accepted globally.

It is important to note that both dual instruction as well as solo flight operations conducted within the specifics of the regulation are creditable. The limitation that is critical to regulatory compliance is within the endorsements received by the pilot for certain authorizations during the flight training program.

Endorsements received by flight instructors not certificated by the FAA that meet the requirements of 14 CFR 61.41 are not valid for the purposes of FAA functions.

  • 61.41 (b) A flight instructor described in paragraph (a) of this section is only authorized to give endorsements to show training given

What this means is that the pilot desiring FAA certification using non-FAA flight instructor flight training may only utilize endorsed flight training hours toward training, not for such pilot actions to include solo flight or endorsements toward an FAA Practical Test.

Yes, it is possible to credit flight training from non-FAA flight instructors and use those hours to obtain FAA certificates and ratings. Welcome back!

About Randy: 
Randy Rowles has been a FAA pilot examiner for 20 years for all helicopter certificates and ratings. He holds a FAA Gold Seal Flight Instructor Certificate, NAFI Master Flight Instructor designation, and was the 2013 recipient of the HAI Flight Instructor of the Year Award. Rowles is the owner/president of Helicopter Institute.

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