FAA Regional Counsel Legal Interpretation for Instructors

Below is a recent FAA Legal Counsel (Eastern Region) interpretation I received through Capt. Ron Levy of UMES. If you are an instructor without an instrument rating on your flight instructor’s certificate (just a CFI-A) or an instructor with only an instrument rating on you flight instructor’s certificate (CFI-IA), then you should read this carefully. Just an FYI for most folks. My emphasis in blue to distinguish from the legal counsel interpretation and the FAQ Q&A.

JAN 6 2004

Capt Ronald B. Levy
Director, Aviation Sciences Program
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
30806 University Boulevard South
Princess Anne, MD 21853-1299

Dear Capt. Levy:

This responds to your request for an interpretation of 14 CFR § 61.195 pertaining to the providing of instrument instruction. You have raised your disagreement with information contained in the FAA web site maintained by flight Standards (specifically, AFS-840) where answers are provided to frequently asked questions (FAQs). We apologize for the delay in providing this response to you and appreciate your patience.

Your question concerns the response given on the Flight Standards website(http://www1.faa.gov/AVR/AFS/AFS800/DOCS/pt61FAO.doc) in “Q&A-249.” The question posed and the answer from AFS-840 are as follows:

QUESTION: The flight review requirements of § 61.56(a) requires [sic] 1 hour of flight training and 1 hour of ground training which includes a review of the current general operating and flight rules of part 91 and a review of those maneuvers and procedures that, at the discretion of the person giving the review, are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate. If the person getting the flight review holds an Instrument-Airplane rating on his certificate does the review have to be given by a CFI-IA and include instrument procedures such as radial intercepts, approaches, etc.? Can a CFI-A (but no Instrument-Airplane rating on his CFI) give the flight review to the instrument rated pilot and can that CFI cover any instrument maneuvers such as those that might be given to a Private pilot under 61.107?

ANSWER: Ref. § 61.193 and § 61.195©; YouÂ’re incorrectly mixing up the flight review requirements of § 61.56© with the Instrument Proficiency Check § 61.57(d). They are two separate requirements. But if youÂ’re asking whether a CFI-ASE only can administer the Instrument Proficiency Check of § 61.57(d), the answer is no. The flight instructor must hold a CFII-Airplane rating to administer the Instrument Proficiency Check of § 61.57(d).

We view, as the response acknowledges, the above dialogue as involving two distinct matters. The first concerns the requisite qualifications of the person conducting a flight review under 14 CFR § 61.56©. Section 61.193(g) provides that a flight instructor, within the limitations of that personÂ’s flight instructor certificate and ratings, may conduct the flight review. Since maneuvers and procedures necessary for the flight are at the instructorÂ’s discretion, see 61.56(a)(2), they need not include instrument maneuvers and procedures. The flight review may be combined with an instrument proficiency check if warranted, see 61.56(h), in which case the instructor must hold the appropriate authorization, see 61.57(d)(2)(iv), 61.195. Accordingly, the person conducting the flight review need only have instructor-airplane privileges (CFI-A). Instrument instructor qualifications (instructor-instrument/airplane, or CFI-IA) are not necessary, even if maneuvers are performed “under the hood” since a flight review is not flight training for the issuance of an instrument rating or type rating, see 61.195©.

The second matter concerns the requisite qualifications of the person conducting the instrument proficiency examination under 14 CFR § 61.57(d). Since the proficiency check is an operation related to instrument flying, under 61.193(f) an instructor-instrument rating (CFI-IA) is needed, even though the proficiency check does not constitute training toward an instrument or type rating (see 61.195(d)).

Considering the context of the response, we do not read it as indicating that a CFI-A may give instrument training in flight without holding instrument authorization (CFI-IA) as per § 61.193. Flight training is defined as training, other than ground training, received from an authorized instructor in flight in an aircraft (14 CFR § 61.1(b)(6)). Training can only be logged if provided by an instructor authorized to provide the specific training. Any instrument procedures conducted with a CFI-A during a flight review may be appropriate at the discretion of the instructor but do not qualify and may not be logged as training.

Your related question deals with the qualifications to provide instrument training corresponding to the category and class of the aircraft. As you point out, § 61.195(b) provides, “A flight instructor may not conduct flight training in any aircraft for which the flight instructor does not hold: (1) A pilot certificate and flight instructor certificate with the applicable category and class rating; and (2) if appropriate, a type rating.” You have indicated that some persons hold the belief that the possession of a CFI-IA authorizes the holder to provide instrument training without regard to the class rating held, a belief you do not share.

In construing § 61.195(b), we must rely on the plain language since it appears to be unambiguous and we are not aware of any agency-condoned practices that deviate. Section 61.195(b) refers specifically to category and class, as you have pointed out. The category of aircraft is airplane, but the class can consist of, for example, single engine, multiengine, land, and water (sea), as defined in 14 CFR 1.1. As provided in 61.195(b), to provide flight training, the instructor must bold both a pilot certificate and a flight instructor certificate with the category and class rating applicable to the training being provided. For example, an instructor must hold a pilot certificate and an instructor certificate, each with an airplane multiengine instrument rating, to give instrument training in a twin airplane. We do not construe Q&A-249 as indicating any other position.

I trust that this response satisfactorily answers your question. Should you need any further clarification, please contact Stephen Brice in this office at 718 553-3268.


Loretta A. Alkalay