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Learn about new rules for proficiency checks - in effect since 1 September 2014. The full rules are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.
Who do the new rules for proficiency checks apply to?
- All pilots.
- All operators.
- All flight examiners.
What is a proficiency check and why do I need to have one?
A proficiency check is an assessment of your skills and knowledge in a particular operational area. Pilots are required to undertake proficiency checks to ensure they continue to be competent conducting particular kinds of operations.
After gaining a qualification, it is normal for some skills to deteriorate over time. A proficiency check ensures your piloting skills continue to meet the standards described in the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS) and (where applicable) those of your operator.
The following proficiency checks are prescribed under Part 61:
- instrument rating proficiency check
- instructor rating proficiency check
- examiner rating proficiency check
- aerial application rating proficiency check
- night vision imaging system proficiency check.
Part 61 refers to operator proficiency checks which are prescribed in the regulations that cover flight operations.
How do I meet the requirements of a proficiency check?
To meet the proficiency check requirements for a rating you need to demonstrate competency against the relevant units.
At the end of a successful check the flight examiner will enter the details in your licence and send a notice to CASA to update your records.
Can I fail a proficiency check?
Yes. If you don’t meet the proficiency check standards, the person conducting the check will let you know. You cannot exercise the privileges of the rating until you pass the proficiency check. You should consider receiving further refresher training before attempting another proficiency check.
How often are proficiency checks required?
For Part 61, proficiency checks for instructor and examiner ratings are valid for two years. Checks for the other ratings are valid for one year.
In some cases, additional proficiency checks may be required to meet operational requirements. For example, a pilot working for an airline would need to complete at least two proficiency checks each year.
A proficiency check is valid to the end of the month in which it is done, 12 months later. For example, if you undertake an instrument proficiency check in January 2015 it remains valid until the end of January 2016.
However, if you complete the proficiency check any time in the three months prior to when it is due, your original renewal month remains unchanged. This means your check remains valid, even if you do it early.
For example, if you have an instructor rating proficiency check and it is due to expire at the end of April but you undertake it in February 2015, your next instructor rating proficiency check will be due at the end of April 2017.
Do I need to do a proficiency check if I complete a flight review?
Yes. Flight reviews are not specified for ratings that require a proficiency check. However, if you complete a proficiency check in a particular type or class of aircraft, the flight review requirement for that class or type of aircraft is satisfied by completing the proficiency check.
An aerial application proficiency check satisfies the low-level rating flight review requirement (61.1060).
For example, if you complete an aerial application rating proficiency check in a single-engine class-rated helicopter, then you satisfy the flight review requirement for the single-engine helicopter class rating. More information can be found in CASA’s Flight reviews information sheet.
What is an operator proficiency check?
An operator proficiency check (OPC) is an assessment conducted by a flight examiner and is for the purpose of the operations being performed by the operator. If the OPC includes IFR operations, it also satisfies the instrument rating proficiency check requirements and the flight review requirements for the class or type of aircraft used in the OPC.
Who can conduct a proficiency check?
A flight examiner with the appropriate endorsement can conduct a proficiency check.
CASA can authorise a person to conduct a proficiency check. For example, there might be a special situation where the flight examiner is not available and there is a specific operational need for the check to be undertaken.
A flight examiner conducting a proficiency check must be authorised to fly the type of aircraft being used for the check. If the check is for an operational rating, the examiner must also be authorised to conduct a flight test for that rating.
Does a proficiency check have to be done under a Part 141 or Part 142 operator?
No, proficiency checks are organised by the pilot with an appropriately authorised flight examiner. If the pilot is undertaking an operator proficiency check, the operator is responsible for making the arrangements for the check.
Do I need to do a separate proficiency check if I am in a training and checking system (cyclic)?
Pilots successfully participating in an approved operator’s training and checking system don’t have to complete separate proficiency checks or flight reviews, as long as the operator holds Regulation 61.040 approvals for those purposes. However, to fly an aircraft with another operator or privately you require a separate proficiency check. The same applies to flight reviews.
Is the Part 61 proficiency check different to the Civil Aviation Regulation (CAR) Part 5 renewal flight test?
The Part 61 proficiency checks and the CAR Part 5 renewal flight tests are essentially the same. To pass a proficiency check under Part 61, a pilot must demonstrate competency to the standards in the MOS.
What about aerial application rating proficiency checks?
CASR Part 137 requires pilots conducting aerial application operations in aeroplanes to undergo an operator proficiency check. A separate Part 61 is not required.
A Part 137 proficiency check also satisfies the applicable aircraft rating flight review requirement.
Want to know more?
Visit Licensing regulations.
The new rules for proficiency checks are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations:
- Regulations 61.640 and 650 - limitations of MPL
- Regulations 61.6780 and 695 - limitations of ATPL
- Regulation 61.1205 - simulator instructor proficiency check
- Regulation 61.745(3) and (3A) - proficiency checks and flight reviews - aircraft type rating
- Regulation 61.805(2)(c) - operator proficiency check and instrument proficiency check
- Regulation 61.880 - instrument proficiency checks
- Regulation 61.1015 - night vision imaging system proficiency checks
- Regulation 61.1110 - aerial application proficiency checks
- Regulation 61.1180 - flight instructor proficiency checks
- Regulation 61.1280 and 61.1285 - examiner proficiency checks
- Regulation 61.1305 - obligations of flight examiners
- Regulation 61.1410 - instructor proficiency checks (flight engineer)
- Regulation 61.1470 - examiner proficiency checks (flight engineer)
- Regulation 61.1490 - obligations of flight engineer examiners
- Note: Regulation 61.1055(2) refers to an operator proficiency check in low-level operations.