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Aircraft ratings (overview)
Learn about new rules for aircraft ratings - in effect since 1 September 2014. The full rules are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.
What is an aircraft rating?
An aircraft rating is a flight crew qualification that authorises the holder to operate particular aircraft.
Under the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR) 1988 aircraft ratings were referred to as aircraft endorsements which were specified in Civil Aviation Orders. The change harmonises Australian terminology with that used by the International Civil Aviation Organization and other countries.
Every type of aircraft, including all of its models, has a type certificate. The type certificate specifies whether it is a single-pilot or multi-pilot aircraft (or in a few cases, both). Different aircraft rating systems are used depending on the purpose such as flight crew licensing, airworthiness, maintenance and flight operations. In Part 61, there are two kinds of aircraft ratings for flight crew:
- Aircraft class ratings which include different but similar types of aircraft
- Pilot and flight engineer type ratings which are limited to one type of aircraft, although a type rating can include models that are variants of each other.
What are the main differences between Part 61 and the CAR Part 5 regulations?
As well as the change in terminology and introduction of additional class ratings, Part 61 introduces several other changes:
- type ratings are more closely aligned with rating systems in other countries
- there are no co-pilot aircraft ratings
- aircraft design feature endorsements have been amended
- flight reviews apply to aircraft ratings, not licences - see CASA's'Flight reviews information sheet for more details
- new cruise-relief type ratings.
Which aircraft are included in a class rating?
Aircraft class ratings cover types of single-pilot aircraft that have similar performance and operational characteristics - a type rating is not required. There are class ratings for:
- single-engine aeroplanes
- multi-engine aeroplanes
- single-engine helicopters
- single-engine gyroplanes
Note: some multi-engine aeroplanes can be included in the single-engine aeroplane class rating (Regulation 61.020(2)). Multi-engine centre-line thrust aeroplanes are included in the single-engine aeroplane class rating.
What is a type rating?
All aircraft that are certificated for multi-crew operations and some single-pilot certified aircraft are prescribed, for flight crew licensing purposes, as type-rated aircraft (Regulation 61.055). Type-rated aircraft are not included in a class rating.
Some type ratings include several models, such as the B737-300 to 900. Differences training, if specified by CASA, must be completed before flying a different model of an aircraft in a common type rating (Regulation 61.055).
Some single-pilot aircraft are prescribed as type-rated aircraft due to factors including complexity, performance and operating characteristics. These aircraft are listed on a legislative instrument (Regulation 61.060). Examples of single-pilot type-rated aircraft are:
- helicopters - AS355, A109, BH214, S76 series
- aeroplanes - BE350/1900, C550, Dornier 228 series.
Do I need to go to a Part 141 or Part 142 school for aircraft rating training?
Training for aircraft class ratings must be done at a Part 141 school. Training for a type rating must be conducted by a Part 142 school, or a Part 141 school if the type rating is specified in a legislative instrument (142.015(2)(d)).
If you have a class rating and want to learn to fly a different type of aircraft covered by that class rating, you don't need to complete that training at a Part 141 or Part 142 school.
Are there minimum hours of training required to be eligible for an aircraft rating?
Can any pilot instructor teach me to fly a multi-engine aeroplane?
No. The instructor must hold a multi-engine aeroplane training endorsement or a class type training endorsement if the aeroplane has a type rating.
Do I need to do a flight test for an aircraft rating and who can conduct the test?
Yes. You need to pass a flight test. Only flight examiners can conduct the test.
How are aircraft ratings issued?
Flight examiners issue aircraft ratings by entering the details on you PART 61 licence. A notice is also sent to CASA so that your licence records can be updated with your new rating.
How long is an aircraft rating valid for?
Aircraft ratings are valid perpetually unless they are suspended or cancelled. However, you need to satisfy the flight review requirements for the rating before using it. Refer to CASA's'Flight reviews and'Proficiency checks information sheets for more details.
What ratings will I get on transition to Part 61?
If you have an aircraft endorsement you will be granted the equivalent aircraft rating under Part 61. If the aircraft endorsement is for a type that is included in a class rating, you will be granted the new class rating and the old endorsement will not be referenced on your new Part 61 licence.
Want to know more?
- Refer to CASA's'Aircraft type ratings and'Aircraft class ratings information sheets.
- Visit 'Licensing regulations.
The new rules for aircraft 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.