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Do instructor checkrides count for BFRs

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Practicals and BFRs

You are correct. Any time you take and pass an FAA flight test it counts for your BFR.

What many people do instead of taking a flight review is they go to someplace that sells such things as seaplane ratings. It's fun and automatically counts for a flight review.
Renewal of a flight instructor certificate counts for the ground portion of a flight review (no such thing as a BFR), as indicated in 14 CFR 61.56(f).

(f) A person who holds a current flight instructor certificate who has, within the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, satisfactorily completed a renewal of a flight instructor certificate under the provisions in § 61.197 need not accomplish the 1 hour of ground training specified in paragraph (a) of this section.

A flight instructor certificate is not a pilot certificate. While 61.56(d) allows that passing a proficiency check for a pilot certificate, rating, or operating privilege will cover the requirement for a flight review, a flight instructor certificate is not a pilot certificate. Therefore, certificate renewal (without a flight test) does not meet the full requirements of a flight review. However...

If a pilot undertakes to add a certificate or rating, passing the practical test for that certificate or rating constitutes meeting the requirements of a flight review under 61.56(d). The same applies for an operating privilege. If piloting skills are evaluated during a renewal flight, reinstatement flight, or practical test for an initial or add-on rating, then it may be credited as a flight review.

For clarification, the logbook should be endorsed as having completed a 61.56 flight review.
avbug said:
For clarification, the logbook should be endorsed as having completed a 61.56 flight review.

That's certainly prudent but not required. I ran into a situation at the FBO where I rent a 172. I've not had a flight review or BFR in over eight years. I've had ratings rides and Part 135/121 proficiency checks but they've never touched my logbook. The manager wanted written proof that I was current but airlines apparently don't give out copies of our Part 121 authorization certificates. So I just printed out a record myself stating the date of my last proficiency check and that satisfied the manager.
Avbug is correct, and everyone else is wrong. (TWA dude is asnwering a different question, you are correct, a 121 PC doesn't need an logbook endorsement to count as a flight review, but the question is about CFI checkrides, not air carrier PCs)

OK everyone, listen up, because this is important, and it could cause a LOT of grief for you.

A flight instructor checkride does NOT count as a 61.56 flight review.

61.56 says in part that you don't need to have accomplished a flight review if you have "...passed a pilot proficiency check....."

A flight instructor certificate is *not* a pilot certificate, and the Flight Instructor Practical Test is *not* a Pilot proficiency check.

OK, OK, I hear what you are saying...."your piloting proficiency is tested on a CFI checkride...." Yep, doesn't matter, it is not a
pilot proficiency check, it is an instructor proficiency check, nor is it a check for a "pilot certificate, rating or operating privelige" (91.56 (f)) it is a check for *instructor* priveliges.

I've included below a legal ruling from the Office of Regional Counsel, Eastern Region. It is hard to follow, and parts of the discussion seem a bit disjointed, but, it IS an official legal opinion from the FAA's Legal Counsel.

Here's the relevant part of the opinion:

"Accordingly, a CFI practical test will not per se fulfill the flight review requirement."

Per se is a legal term which means "by itself"

so there you have it, straight from the FAA's lawyers, a CFI checkride won't by itself fulfil the requirements for a 61.56 flght review.

At least for the Eastern region, the only opinions which would rule over this, would be from the Office of Chief Counsel, an NTSB Administrative Law Judge, or a real judge in a real court. I don't know what standig this has in other FAA regions, but, I think that it would be extremely unwise to assume that your region would consider things differently.

What you think is reasonable, what your instructor told you, what your DE told you, what your FSDO told you is all quite irrelevant. An enforcement proceeding against your certificates is based on the FAA's Legal Counsel's interpretation of a regulation. The only opportunity you have to reverse this is on appeal to an NTSB judge *after* your certificates have been suspended.

I'm not sure what standing a legal ruling from the Eastern Region has in other regions. I would encourage anyone who is interested (and I bet there are some who are very interested at this point) to write to your Office of Regional COunsel, or better still, write to the Office of Chief Counsel and request an opinion.

everyone fly safe out there,


Legal opinion:


1 Aviation Plaza
Room 561
Jamaica, NY 11434

RE: Interpretation of FAR 61.56(d)

Dear Mr. Dennstaedt:

This is in response to your letter dated August 25, 2001, wherein you ask whether an airman can satisfy the flight review requirement under 14 C.F.R. (Federal
Aviation Regulation [FAR]) 61.56 by passing a practical test to become a certified flight instructor (CFI), as required by FAR 61.183.

Under FAR 61.56(c)(1), one may not act as pilot-in-command of an aircraft unless, within the preceding 24 calendar months, he has "accomplished a flight review
given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor." Under FAR 61.56(c)(2), the airman must receive a logbook endorsement from the
authorized instructor certifying that he has satisfactorily completed the review. Under FAR 61.56(a), a flight review must include: (1) a review of the current general
operating and flight rules of Part 91; and (2) 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.

Under FAR 61.56(d), however, the flight review requirement of FAR 61.56(c)(1) does not apply to one who has "passed a pilot proficiency check conducted by an
examiner, an approved pilot check airman, or a U.S. Armed Force, for a pilot certificate rating, or operating privilege."

The issue you raise is whether passing a practical test to become a CFI can fall within the exception to the flight review requirement that is provided by FAR
61.56(d). Under FAR 183(h), to be eligible for a flight instructor certificate or rating, the applicant must "pass the required practical test that is appropriate to the
flight instructor rating sought." The FAA Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the airplane flight instructor examiner (sic) requires that the examiner ensure that the flight
instructor applicant has the "ability to perform the procedures and maneuvers included in the standards to at least the commercial pilot skill level."

Thus, the instructor has broad discretion in conducting a flight review. A CFI practical test encompasses the demonstration of various basic maneuvers that an
instructor is likely to cover in a flight review. Incorporating a flight review into the CFI practical test could be accomplished, therefore, with little, if any difficulty.

Accordingly, a CFI practical test will not per se fulfill the flight review requirement. A practical test for a CFI rating under FAR 61.183, taken within 24 months of a
prior flight review, can readily meet the flight review requirement of FAR 61.56(d), however, if the examiner is satisfied that a flight review endorsement can be
given. To ensure that the CFI applicant gets credit for successful completion of the flight review, however, he or she should ask the examiner to conduct the CFI oral
and practical test so as to satisfy the flight review requirements as well, and to make a logbook endorsement for the flight review upon completion of the examination.

If you have additional inquiries, please contact Zachary M. Berman of this office at (718) 553-3258.


Loretta E. Alkalay
Flight Review endorsement

This sounds like lawyer overkill to me. Nearly every practical test I took covered more than what the average flight review covers. Don't forget, regs interpretation are in the eyes of the beholder. Having said all that, I'd find it hard to believe if the average examiner would not be willing to sign off his/her practical as a flight review, wearing either his/her examiner hat or his/her CFI hat.

Yeah, everyone fly safe and CYA while you're at it.
>>>>>Nearly every practical test I took covered more than what the average flight review covers.

Yeah, certainly it does, but the regulation requires a "pilot proficiency check" and the CFI Practical Test is not a "pilot proficiency check"

Don't like it? nope, neither do I. Think it should count? Yep, so do I, but until the words of the regulation are changed, those are the words of the regulation.

>>>>Don't forget, regs interpretation are in the eyes of the beholder.

Yep that's true, but to paraphrase George Orwell, some beholders are more equal than others. In this case it's the FAA's legal counsel who is the beholder, and thy're going to be-holding your pilot certificte, tearing it into little pieces.


BTW here's the addresses for the Office of CHief Counsel and the Regional Counsels if anyone wants to request a clarification. Personally, I'd write directly the Chief Counsel, an opposing opinion from a differnt Regional Counsel would only muddy the issue and the CHief Counsel's offic should be more likely to know of relevant case law. I think if they get a couplpe of requests from different people, they might be more motivated to respond.

Office of the Chief Counsel

Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Ave. S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20591
Attention: Office of the Chief Counsel

Offices of Regional Counsel

Alaska Region

FAA Alaskan Region
222 W. 7th Avenue, #14
Anchorage, AK 99513-7587
ATTN: Regional Counsel, AAL-7

Central Region

DOT Regional Office Building
901 Locust St
Kansas City, MO 64106-2641
Office of Asst. Chief Counsel (816)329-3760

Northwest Mountain Region

Office of the Regional Counsel, ANM-7
Federal Aviation Administration
Northwest Mountain Region
1601 Lind Ave. SW
Renton, WA 98055-4056

Southern Region

Office of the Regional Counsel ASO-7
FAA Southern Region
P.O. Box 20636
Atlanta, Georgia 30320

Southwest Region

Office of the Regional Counsel
Federal Aviation Administration
Southwest Region Headquarters
Fort Worth, Texas 76193-0007

Great Lakes Region

Office of the Regional Counsel, AGL-7
Great Lakes Regional Office
2300 E. Devon Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60018
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Flight Review endorsement

I still feel this is lawyer overkill. But, I am a pragmatist. Therefore, how 'bout this idea? When your instructor signs you off for your CFI practical, ask him/her to also sign off a flight review for you. In training for your certificate, you will have more than fulfilled the 1 hour of ground time and 1 hour of flight as required by 14 CFR 61.56 (a). You won't have to ask the examiner to sign off the flight review for you.
You can probably get away with a free signature and no flying required if you offer a free monkey...

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