May A Pilot Continue To Act As Pilot In Command (PIC) Despite A Lapse In § 61.58 Currency?

by Gregory J. Reigel
Attorney At Law
© 2015 All rights reserved.

If you fly an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered, you know that 14 C.F.R. § 61.58(a) requires that you have regular proficiency checks. Specifically, within the preceding 12 calendar months, you need to have completed a proficiency check in an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered, and within the preceding 24 calendar months, you must have completed a proficiency check in the particular type of aircraft in which you will serve as pilot in command (PIC) that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered.

So, when do you actually need to complete each proficiency check? Well, if you complete the proficiency check in the calendar month before or the calendar month after the month it is due, Section 61.58(i) states that “the pilot is considered to have taken it in the month in which it was due for the purpose of computing when the next pilot-in-command proficiency check is due.”

This means you have a “grace month” within which to complete the 12- and 24-month proficiency check requirements. But, are you permitted to continue to act as a PIC in an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered during the grace month after the proficiency check has lapsed?

The answer is “Yes.” According to the FAA in a recent Legal Interpretation, a pilot may continue to act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered during the month after a Section 61.58 proficiency check is due. But keep in mind that when a pilot completes a Section 61.58 proficiency check during the grace month (either before or after the proficiency check is due), he or she is considered to have completed the proficiency check during the month it was due for the purpose of calculating the due date for the next Section 61.58 proficiency check.

Also, pilots and operators shouldn’t use the grace month as a way to regularly extend a 12-month proficiency check to a 13-month proficiency check. However, this interpretation is certainly helpful to those pilots who are unable to complete their recurrent training/proficiency check requirements in the month in which they are due.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Greg Reigel is an attorney with Reigel Law Firm, Ltd., a law firm located in Hopkins, Minnesota, which represents clients in aviation and business law matters.

For assistance, call (952) 238-1060 or Twitter: @ReigelLaw (www.aerolegalservices.com).

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