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Flight instructor ratings
Learn about the rules for flight instructor ratings in effect since 1 September 2014.
The full rules are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
Download a print-friendly version of the flight instructor ratings fact sheet.
Who should read this information sheet?
- Pilots who hold, or plan to gain, a pilot instructor rating
- Flight examiners
- Operators who employ pilots to conduct flight training
What is a flight instructor rating?
To obtain a Part 61 flight crew licence, rating or endorsement, pilots need to complete training which is delivered by capable and qualified instructors. Pilots who conduct this training must hold a pilot instructor rating.
There are two types of pilot instructor ratings:
- flight instructor rating
- simulator instructor rating.
Quality training underpins pilot competency - this is why the role of instructors is safety critical.
This information sheet deals with flight instructor ratings.
Do I need a flight instructor rating?
If you want to conduct flight training in an aircraft, you will need to have a flight instructor rating.
A flight instructor rating issued under Part 61 permits the holder to conduct flight training in either an aircraft or a flight simulation training device (FSTD). A simulator instructor rating only authorises training in FSTDs.
To conduct flight training, an instructor must hold a flight instructor rating with at least one training endorsement.
What can a flight instructor do?
Provided they hold the appropriate training endorsement, a flight instructor can conduct flight training for pilot licences, ratings (except for flight examiner ratings) and endorsements (except for flight examiner endorsements).
Flight instructors can also:
- grant design feature and flight activity endorsements to pilot licence holders
- conduct multi-crew cooperation training
- conduct differences training for variants of types of aircraft
- conduct training for general pilot competency
- conduct flight reviews
- approve someone to fly solo
- approve someone to fly an aircraft while receiving flight training for a pilot licence, rating or endorsement.
How do I get a flight instructor rating?
To get a flight instructor rating you must hold a private pilot licence (PPL), commercial pilot licence (CPL) or air transport pilot licence (ATPL). You also need to:
- meet the educational requirements (that means you must either hold a tertiary qualification in teaching or a certificate IV in training and assessment, or complete an approved course of training in principles and methods of instruction)
- meet specified aeronautical experience requirements
- pass the instructor rating aeronautical knowledge examination
- complete a course of training for the rating and at least one training endorsement
- pass a flight test for the rating and at least one training endorsement.
What is the flight instructor rating aeronautical knowledge examination?
All applicants for a flight instructor rating need to undertake the Pilot Instructor Rating Exam - Common. This examination assesses your knowledge of the legislation relating to a flight instructor rating and the principles and methods of instruction, with a focus on flight training.
The aeronautical knowledge standard for the flight instructor rating examination can be found in Schedule 3 of the Part 61 Manual of Standards (MOS).
What are the aeronautical experience requirements?
The aeronautical experience requirements must be met in the same aircraft category that will be used in the flight test for the rating. There are different aeronautical experience requirements for helicopters and aeroplanes.
For helicopters you must have at least 250 hours flight time as pilot and 100 hours flight time as pilot in command.
For aeroplanes you must have at least 200 hours flight time as pilot and 100 hours flight time as pilot in command.
These aeronautical experience requirements must be met before you start your flight training for a flight instructor rating. However, you do not have to meet these requirements if you can satisfy the following criteria.
For helicopters, that means you must:
- hold a CPL with a helicopter rating completed through an integrated training course
- hold a low-level rating and a helicopter low-level endorsement
- hold one of these combinations:
- a night visual flight rules (NVFR) rating and a helicopter NVFR endorsement
- an instrument rating and a single-engine helicopter instrument endorsement
- an instrument rating and a multi-engine helicopter instrument endorsement.
For aeroplanes, you can commence the instructor rating course before being issued with your licence if you have:
- completed your CPL with an aeroplane category rating in an integrated training course
- passed the flight test for the grant of the licence with an aeroplane category rating.
If you already hold an instructor rating and want to expand your privileges to instruct in an aircraft of another category, you need to have the aeronautical experience above and pass the instructor rating flight test in an aircraft of the second category.
What are training endorsements?
A training endorsement allows you to instruct someone for specific pilot authorisations. Training endorsements are outlined in a table in regulation 61.1235. The table details what authorisations and aeronautical experience requirements you need in order to be eligible for a particular training endorsement, and what each training endorsement authorises you to provide instruction in.
To obtain a category-specific Grade 1 training endorsement you need to hold a CPL or ATPL and have at least 500 hours flight time conducting initial flight training in an aircraft of the specified category. If you meet the criteria you will be able to undertake the activities authorised by the Grade 2 training endorsement, and supervise people who hold Grade 2 and Grade 3 training endorsements.
To obtain a winch and rappelling operations training endorsement you need to hold a CPL or ATPL, a helicopter category rating, a low-level rating and a winch and rappelling operations endorsement. If you meet the criteria you will be able to conduct flight training for a winch and rappelling operations endorsement (note: this does not include training for the grant of a low-level rating).
What do I need to do to get a training endorsement?
You must complete a course of flight training appropriate to the training endorsement you are seeking. The training must address all of the relevant units of competency in the Part 61 MOS.
The training can only be undertaken by an operator that holds a Part 141 or Part 142 certificate that authorises them to conduct flight training for a flight instructor rating.
At the completion of the training course, you will be issued with a course completion certificate showing that you have been trained in all the units and assessed as competent. This certificate should be available to the examiner conducting your flight test along with your training record.
There are no prescribed hours for a training course. However, courses need to cover the areas of training that are required for each training endorsement. Thorough instructor training is essential because the quality of training directly affects the competency of the pilots the instructor trains in the future.
Who can conduct basic instrument flight training?
Basic instrument flight training can only be conducted by the holder of a night VFR training endorsement or an instrument rating training endorsement.
Exemption CASA EX103/18 authorises holders of Grade 1, 2 and 3 training endorsements to conduct basic instrument flight training. They must have undertaken the relevant gap training conducted by the holder of a Grade 1 training endorsement. This is from a Part 141 or Part 142 flight training operator authorised to conduct BIFT.
The flight instructor providing the gap training and the operator don't need to be authorised to conduct instructor rating training.
Fiona holds a flight instructor rating with a Grade 2 training endorsement (aeroplane).
To instruct in basic instrument flight for a student training for a PPL, Fiona would have to hold either a night VFR rating and a night VFR training endorsement, or an instrument rating and an instrument rating training endorsement.
Who can conduct a Knowledge Deficiency Report (KDR) assessment?
A Knowledge Deficiency Report (KDR) provides a candidate who has undertaken an aeronautical knowledge examination, and their training provider, with information about any topic areas where their knowledge was deficient.
Under Part 61, a flight examiner has to make sure an applicant has sufficient knowledge in the topics on their KDR. One option is to rely on a KDR assessment that has been made by the holder of an instructor rating with a Grade 1 or Grade 2 training endorsement.
Otherwise, the examiner needs to conduct the KDR assessment.
Who can conduct a flight review?
A flight review can be conducted by an instructor who holds a Grade 1 or 2 training endorsement or a training endorsement for the relevant rating.
The Grade 3 training endorsement doesn't authorise the holder to conduct a flight review.
Instructors are not allowed to conduct training or a flight review for a rating or endorsement unless they are authorised to conduct the operation themselves.
Can I conduct a flight review independently?
The purpose of a flight review is to provide a pilot with the opportunity to receive training that refreshes their flying skills and operational knowledge. It is normal for some pilot skills to deteriorate over time and so the flight review ensures that pilot skills remain at, or are brought back up to standard. CASA strongly encourages training in a flight review.
A flight instructor delivering training during a flight review can only deliver that training if employed by an operator with a part 141 or 142 certificate that authorises the conduct of flight training for the rating under review.
In some circumstances, a pilot may be operating within a system where they are subject to regular proficiency checking and so there may be no need for training during a flight review. In this case, the flight review does not have to be conducted under a Part 141 or 142 operator.
What training can I conduct if I have a PPL and an instructor rating?
If you have a PPL you can hold an instructor rating, however you will be restricted to conducting training for the grant of a design feature or a flight activity endorsement. You cannot conduct training for the grant of a pilot licence, an operational rating or rating endorsements.
I am conducting training for a flight activity endorsement independent of a Part 141 or Part 142 flight training operator. Do I need to keep training records?
Yes. A flight instructor who conducts training for a flight crew endorsement independently of a flight training organisation must record the training and retain the training record for at least seven years. The training record should reflect all the training conducted in accordance with the Part 61 MOS, the standard attained and a copy of the certificate of completion.
Does training for the general competency rule have to be done under a Part 141 or Part 142 operator?
No, training to satisfy the general competency rule for pilots can be undertaken outside of a Part 141 or Part 142 operator, provided the flight instructor who delivers the training holds the appropriate training endorsement allowing them to conduct flight training in the aircraft being used.
The flight instructor must meet the competency rule to operate the aircraft, have a current flight instructor proficiency check and meet any other rating recent experience requirements.
Peter has just purchased a Beech Baron aircraft and needs to undergo some training to attain competency in operating it. Peter already has a class rating for multi-engine aeroplanes and a multi-engine aeroplane instrument rating with a current proficiency check. He has asked Rachel, a flight instructor, to familiarise him with the aircraft operation and fly with him for some general handling competency and an instrument approach.
To undertake this training flight Rachel must hold a class rating training endorsement (multi-engine aeroplane), a current flight instructor proficiency check, a multi-engine aeroplane instrument rating and an instrument rating training endorsement. Rachel also needs to meet the general competency rule for operating the Baron.
Are there any limitations on exercising the privileges of a flight instructor rating?
Yes, there are several general limitations that apply to all flight instructor ratings.
- A flight instructor can only instruct in an aircraft or an FSTD in the particular aircraft category for which the instructor rating was granted.
- A flight instructor can only conduct flight training for a licence, rating or endorsement on an operational rating if they are employed by a Part 141 or Part 142 operator authorised to conduct the training.
- A flight instructor must hold the training endorsement for the training they plan to deliver.
- If making an assessment of a Knowledge Deficiency Report, the flight instructor must hold a Grade 2 training endorsement or the relevant training endorsement.
What is an instructor proficiency check?
An instructor proficiency check is an assessment of a pilot's competency to conduct flight instruction. The standards for instructor proficiency checks are prescribed in Schedule 6 of the Part 61 MOS.
Pilots are required to demonstrate that they can competently conduct aeronautical knowledge training and flight training in an aircraft appropriate to the training endorsements they hold.
Demonstrating aeronautical knowledge does not have to cover all of the training endorsements you hold, however you will be required to demonstrate competency in at least one training endorsement.
If your training endorsements authorise you to conduct flight reviews, you will also be required to demonstrate your knowledge of conducting a flight review.
How long does an instructor proficiency check last for?
If you hold a flight instructor rating you will need to undertake an instructor proficiency check within 12 months of initial issue of the rating and every 24 months thereafter.
Susan obtained her initial flight instructor rating on 23 June 2017. Her first proficiency check was due on 30 June 2017. Susan successfully completed her instructor rating proficiency check on 12 June 2018 which means her next flight instructor proficiency check is due on 30 June 2020.
Do I need to pass a separate flight instructor proficiency check for each training endorsement I hold?
No, you only need to demonstrate your competency in at least one of the training endorsements you hold.
If you hold a class rating training endorsement (multi-engine) or a type rating training endorsement for a multi-engine aircraft, you should consider alternating proficiency checks in a multi-engine aircraft and FSTD approved for the purpose.
Note: Part 141 and 142 operators have obligations to conduct standardisation and proficiency checks of their instructors (for Part 141, see regulations 141.185 to 141.195 and for Part 142, see regulations 142.315 to 142.330).
Does a flight instructor proficiency check meet the requirement for an aircraft rating flight review?
Yes, the flight instructor rating proficiency check meets the requirements for an aircraft rating flight review for the class or type of aircraft in which the proficiency check was undertaken.
Philip's most recent flight instructor proficiency check was conducted in a multi-engine aeroplane covered by his class rating. This will meet the flight review requirement for his multi-engine aeroplane class rating flight review.
He can continue operating single-engine class-rated aeroplanes because that is a privilege of the multi-engine aeroplane class rating. However, his next flight instructor proficiency check (if undertaken in a single-engine aeroplane) will only meet the flight review requirement for the single-engine aeroplane class rating and he would need to undertake a flight review for his multi-engine aeroplane class rating separately.
Who can conduct a flight instructor proficiency check?
The only people who can conduct flight instructor proficiency checks are flight examiners, CASA examiners and people who hold an approval granted under regulation 61.040.
Flight examiners must hold a flight instructor rating flight test endorsement. They must also be authorised to conduct flight instruction for the training endorsement that is included in the check. This means they need to satisfy the recent experience and proficiency check requirements.
What happens if I fail my flight instructor proficiency check?
You cannot conduct flight instruction until you have successfully completed a flight instructor proficiency check.
Are there other ways of satisfying the flight instructor proficiency check requirement?
Yes, you can also satisfy the flight instructor proficiency check requirement if you:
- pass a flight test for a training endorsement that was done more than six months after the initial flight instructor rating flight test
- complete an operator proficiency check that covers the conduct of flight instruction
- successfully participate in a training and checking system conducted by an operator that holds a regulation 61.040 approval for that purpose.
Refer to CASA's information sheet on proficiency checks for more details.
Want to know more?
Visit the licensing regulations section on the CASA website.
The rules for flight instructor ratings are contained in Part 61 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations:
- CASR Dictionary
- Regulation 61.010 - definitions for Part 61
- Regulation 61.075 - definition of aeronautical experience
- Regulations 61.080 and 61.090 - definitions of flight time as pilot and flight time as pilot in command
- Regulation 61.195 - flight training requirements
- Regulation 61.1165 - privileges of flight instructor ratings
- Regulations 61.1170 to 61.1180 - limitations on exercising the privileges of a flight instructor rating
- Regulation 61.1185 - requirements for grant of flight instructor ratings
- Regulation 61.1190 - privileges of simulator instructor ratings
- Regulations 61.1195 to 61.1205 - limitations on exercising the privileges of a simulator instructor rating
- Regulation 61.1210 - requirements for grant of simulator instructor ratings
- Regulations 61.1215 to 61.1230 - obligations of pilot instructors
- Regulations 61.1235 to 61.1252 - training endorsements.