Aircraft class ratings
Learn about new rules for aircraft class ratings - in effect since 1 September 2014. The full rules are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.
What is a class rating?
An aircraft class rating is a flight crew qualification that authorises the holder to operate aircraft that fit the description of the class rating and are not designated as type-rated aircraft. For example, a Piper Seneca is a multi-engine aeroplane and is not designated as a type-rated aircraft, so it is covered by the multi-engine aeroplane class rating.
Part 61 prescribed the following class ratings:
- single-engine aeroplane class rating
- multi-engine aeroplane class rating
- single-engine helicopter class rating
- single-engine gyroplane class rating
- airship class rating.
Multi-engine centre-line thrust aeroplanes are included in the single-engine aeroplane class rating.
Which aircraft are not included in a class rating?
Aircraft that are certificated for multi-crew operations are designated as type-rated and are not included in a class rating.
Type-rated aircraft are listed in an aircraft rating legislative instrument published by CASA.
Some complex single-pilot aircraft are also designated as type-rated as they require additional training to ensure pilots are competent flying these types of aircraft. Examples of single-pilot type rated aircraft are:
- helicopters - AS355, A109, BH214, S76 series
- aeroplanes - BE350/1900, C550, Dornier 228 series.
I hold a class rating and want to fly another type of aircraft that is covered by the same class rating. However, I haven’t flown that type of aircraft before. What do I need to do?
The first thing you need to do is consider the general competency requirement - regulation 61.385. Even though you hold the appropriate aircraft class rating you must make sure you are competent flying that type of aircraft.
You should consider taking a familiarisation flight with an appropriately qualified instructor to learn about the operation of the aircraft including pre-flight planning, serviceability checks and in-flight performance and handling. This training doesn’t need to be done under a Part 141 operator.
Do I keep all my multi-engine aeroplane type ratings on my licence when it is converted into Part 61?
If you have an aircraft endorsement on your old licence you are granted the equivalent aircraft rating under Part 61 that authorises you to fly that type of aircraft.
If the aircraft endorsement is for a type that is included in a class rating, you are granted the new class rating and the old endorsement is not referenced on your new Part 61 licence. For example, if you have a C402 aeroplane endorsement on your old licence, you will receive a multi-engine aeroplane class rating.
Are there any types of aircraft in a class rating that require specific training?
Yes. Some aircraft are not designated as type-rated aircraft, however, pilots need to complete specific training on the aircraft and complete a flight review before they are allowed to act as pilot-in-command in that aircraft. After that, the aircraft is treated the same as other aircraft in the class. That means the pilot can continue flying the aircraft after the initial training and flight review are completed, as long as they have a valid flight review for the class rating.
For example, Tom holds a multi-engine aeroplane class rating and plans to fly a Merlin type of aircraft for the first time (note the Merlin type includes the SA26-T Merlin II, SA226-Merlin III, IIA and IIB). Before flying the Merlin operationally, Tom must complete training and a flight review on a Merlin. The flight review also satisfies the multi-engine aeroplane flight review for a further 24 months (refer to CASA’s Flight reviews information sheet for more details).
Are there any single-engine helicopters that don’t require specific training and a flight review?
Yes. A small number of helicopters such as most amateur-built types (for example the Rotorway Exec) do not require specific training and are covered by the single-engine helicopter class rating. However, pilots should consider undergoing training in that type of aircraft to make sure they are fully competent - refer to the general competency rule (regulation 61.385 in the Part 61 Manual of Standards).
Do I need to go to a Part 141 or Part 142 school for aircraft class-rating training?
Training for aircraft class ratings must be done at a Part 141 school. Most pilots will complete training for the grant of their single-engine class rating during training for their pilot licence.
If you have a class rating and want to learn to fly a different aircraft covered by that class rating, you don’t need to complete that training at a Part 141 school.
What qualifications do I need to conduct training for an aircraft class rating?
Pilot instructors need to be authorised to fly the aircraft, and hold a pilot instructor rating and the appropriate training endorsement:
- for a single-engine aeroplane class rating - at least a grade 3 (aeroplane) endorsement
- for a multi-engine aeroplane class rating - a multi-engine aeroplane class rating training endorsement
- for a single-engine helicopter class rating - at least a grade 3 (helicopter) endorsement (to conduct simulated engine failure training you must have least 100 hours flight training under that endorsement)
- for a gyroplane class rating - at least a grade 3 (gyroplane) endorsement
- for an airship class rating - at least a grade 3 (airship) endorsement.
Do I need to do a flight test for an aircraft class rating, and who can conduct the test?
Yes, you need to pass a flight test. Only flight examiners can conduct the test.
How long is an aircraft class rating valid for?
Aircraft ratings are valid perpetually unless they are suspended or cancelled.
However, you need to satisfy the flight-review requirements before using it. Flight reviews are valid for two years and are valid to the end of the month in which they were completed. For more information see CASA’s Flight reviews and Proficiency checks information sheets.
Want to know more?
Visit the Licensing Regulations section.
The new rules for aircraft class ratings are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations:
- Regulation 61.195 - for flight training
- Regulations 61.735 to 61.750 - general requirements
- Regulation 61.747 - flight review for aircraft class ratings
- Regulation 61.1235 - for pilot instructor training endorsements
- Regulation 61.1245 - for limitations on training endorsements.