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hi performance signoff

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Well-known member
Jan 23, 2002
I was reading text from a well-published author on multi flying and he states that he signs off his multi students who have flown in a seminole. I'm aware of the differing schools of thought on this topic but i'm wondering who is right. Some people do it one way and some do it another way but the FARs seem to make it clear that you must fly a plane with an engine of more than 200 HP to qualify for the hi perf signoff. Am i missing something?

You're not missing anything. However, you need to look at the date of the book. The regulation on what constituted high performance and complex changed a couple of years ago. Was this written before the change?
The book was published in '96. I guess it was '97 that the regulation changed. However, i went to visit a school to check out the CFI program and the person i talked to said that they sign their guys off when they fly the seminole. And apparently they're not the only ones that do that. So I guess i'll just be happy with what I have now and get the signoff when i fly the seneca. :)
Make sure you understand the difference between a complex and a high performance endorsement. Before the 1997 change it was all called a high performance endorsement. Now they're different and the Seminole is complex, but not high performance.


I believe what you were driving at is weather the combined horsepower may be used to qualify as high performance, or weather each engine must exceed 200 hp. Is this correct?

The ratings of the engines cannot be combined to come up with that figure. In other words, if the power of each engine is 180 hp, then the airplane is not a 360 hp airplane that qualifies. It's a 180 hp airplane that does not qualify.

14 CFR 61.31(f)(1) specifically states "...(an airplane with an engine of more than 200 horsepower)..." when defining High Performance. Had the rule made allowance to combine the horsepower ratings, the wording would have been "an airplane with more than 200 horsepower." However, it doesn't say that. It specifically identifies the requirement for an engine, in the singular, or more than 200 hp. In theory, this could be accomplished by having only one engine that exceeded this rating...one 180 hp engine and one 200 hp engine, for example. That's a little far fetched, but for illustrative purposes, only one engine must have that rating.
The reg says AN engine of MORE than 200 hp. Therefore the A/C in question must have an engine rated at least 201 hp. A C-182 or Cherokee 235 would meet the requirement for high performance.
A Mooney 231 would be HP and complex. A Seminole, Twin Commanche, Seneca I etc. would be complex but not HP. I remember AOPA fighting this as making no sense when the reg was rewritten but the FAA would not change it.
What if it was a turbo siminole? I don't know how many piper made, but do know that there are bound to some out there. Does the trubo add into the equation for total HP?
A turbo-charged engine rated at 200 HP is still considered 200 HP. It just may be able to hold that rating to a higher altitude.
So that is what happen. I've been away for a while and missed the new FAR, (1997 seporating complex and high proformance). What if I had a complex sign off before 1997? Do I get grandfathered in?

Your question is answered by 61.31(f)(2), which states that you do not need an additional endorsement if you have logged time in a high performance airpane prior to August 4th, 1997.

An important caveat is that you must define that time under the current regulation. In other words, in order to avoid needing an endorsement to fly an airplane with an engine of more than 200 horsepower, you must have logged time in such an airplane (or appropriate simulator/flight training device prior to 08-04-97.

14 CFR 61.31(f)(2):

2) The training and endorsement required by paragraph (f)(1) of this section is not required if the person has logged flight time as pilot in command of a high-performance airplane, or in a flight simulator or flight training device that is representative of a high-performance airplane prior to August 4, 1997.

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