FAA Tries Again To Increase Sim Time


The FAA last week published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would increase to 20 hours the simulator time allowed for the instrument rating, following an earlier attempt using a straight-to-final rule process that was derailed when two commenters objected to the change. The new proposal states that the FAA aims to “relieve burdens on pilots seeking to obtain aeronautical experience, training, and certification by increasing the allowed use of aviation training devices.” Comments will be accepted on the new proposal until July 16. Using this rulemaking procedure, the FAA will consider all the comments, both positive and negative, and then can publish its final rule.

Under current rules, pilots can log only 10 simulator hours toward their instrument rating. However, the FAA had issued exemptions to some operators allowing them to log up to 20 hours. The proposal says the new rule would take into account that the technological capabilities of simulators has improved over time, and also reflects the FAA’s belief that “permitting pilots to log increased time in ATDs [aviation training devices] would encourage pilots to practice maneuvers until they are performed to an acceptable level of proficiency.”

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators supports the change. “We’re urging pilots to comment favorably on this NPRM,” said executive director John Dorcey. “The idea of additional simulator time is widely supported in the flight instruction community.”