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Where does it say 12 months for instrument currency?


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While reviewing the FAR about insturment currency requirements,i couldnt find where it allows a 6 month grace period if the previous 6 months passes. From a google search, there is discussion about this back in 2012 and how the wording and intent differed, but i would think that the 2016 FAR would have resolved any confusion in wording.


If an employer asks me about this, what do i reference about the grace period to prove im still current? Im a little concerned because i did let about 8 months lapse before i did a proficiency flight with a cfii.

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The regulation for which you are searching is 14 CFR 61.57( c ). This paragraph requires a pilot to have six approaches (hold entries, etc) within the preceding six months. It's been modified and changed over time; formerly it required six hours of instrument time, as well. That's been dropped. The specific language of the regulation lent some confusion over the past years, and in 2009 the construction of the regulation, especially 61.57( d ), was changed to say "within the prescribed time, or within 6 calendar months after the prescribed time." In 2011, it was changed again, as described in the Federal Register:




If you scroll down to the discussion regarding 61.57( d ), you'll see an explanation respecting a 6 month period after your instrument currency has lapsed, in which you need only fly with a safety pilot to regain currency. After that time, your only option is an instrument proficiency check.


You must have six approaches, holding, etc, in the six months prior to the flight that requires instrument currency (flight in instrument conditions, or flight under IFR, if acting as pilot in command). If you don't, you're not current. You can get current if, during the six month period after which your currency lapsed, you get your approaches, holding, etc, done and logged. If you go past that six month period, then you've got to take the IPC.


The regulation about which you're asking, the "grace period," is found in 61.57( d ).


See also the Whistman 2012 letter, a FAA Chief Legal Counsel letter of interpretation. Remember that the primary sources for understanding the regulation are the Federal Register preambles, the regulation itself, and the chief and regional legal counsel's interpretations. To some degree, case law is also applicable, depending on the case, but in terms of it's application in the appeals portion of the enforcement process.



Edited by avbug
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Avbug nailed it. Very nice reply. In fact just recently in my past job, we had this very discussion after coming across this letter of interpretation. Many had at first thought that the new wording had erased that six month grace period that followed the 6 monh currency time frame. When the regulations were rewritten, the intent was to clarify it..however I believe as do many that it instead muddled the whole thing.


It reads correctly, but, it also depends on how one perceives what is being said. As pilots we often read it from one perspective and miss what is being said by the regulation.


This letter from the chief counsel is very clear and really helps to bring it home.


Sometimes I wish some regs were just written in laymens terms...but that would be too easy...haha.

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When the regulations were rewritten, the intent was to clarify it..however I believe as do many that it instead muddled the whole thing.



The re-write was supposed to clarify, but it did just the opposite. It could have been a plain english rendering and would have been substantially improved. I don't care for the wording at all. In fact, given the language, I don't agree with the legal interpretation, but the Chief Legal Counsel's opinion counts. Mine doesn't. The original language was actually a lot better than what they came up with after two revisions. It's difficult to understand how something so simple can be so hard for the Administrator to clarify.

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