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The flight crew licence is the first qualification obtained by a pilot and indicates the level of training and assessment completed.
A Part 61 flight crew licence lists each licence level and the associated aircraft category rating. For example, a commercial pilot licence (CPL) aeroplane (A) or CPL helicopter (H).
We determine a pilot’s competency through a combination of training and assessment. The level of complexity and depth of knowledge increases depending on the licence level, rating or endorsement a candidate is working towards. Flight testing is conducted by a flight examiner or 61.040 approval holder. However, some endorsements don’t require testing and where applicable an authorised instructor can issue a respective endorsement.
A designated medical examiner will also assess your fitness to fly. Pilots who wish to operate at the recreational level can obtain a Basic Class 2 medical certificate or recreational aviation medical practitioners certificate (RAMPC). Information on the types of medical certificates can be found on the Aviation Medicine page.
Once you hold a flight crew licence, you can continue to acquire additional ratings and endorsements, to increase the privileges you can exercise.
Ratings and endorsements
There are a number of ratings and endorsements you can acquire under Part 61.
1. Aircraft class/type ratings
You will have at least one aircraft rating when you get your flight crew licence. An aircraft class or type ratings must be attached to your license.
Aircraft ratings are valid for life. However, you must complete a flight review every two years. This can be done by either completing the flight review itself or if you already hold an operational rating, a proficiency check that meets flight review requirements.
2. Operational ratings and associated endorsements
Operational ratings extend the privileges of your licence. This enables you to engage in certain activities once you complete the training and assessment requirements specific to the operational rating. Examples are flying at night, using instruments, teaching others to fly, or agricultural work.
Operational ratings align with corresponding endorsements and for the initial issue of the rating you must meet requirements to be granted at least one of the relevant endorsements. A flight examiner or 61.040 approval holder can issue you with your ratings and endorsements via an entry on your Part 61 licence. This enables you to use the new qualification immediately. For example, an instructor rating with a Grade 3A training endorsement.
Depending on the operational rating you hold, they require either flight reviews (e.g. the night rating) or proficiency checks (e.g. instructor rating) to continue exercising privileges. Flight reviews can be conducted by an authorised flight instructor, however proficiency checks must be conducted by an authorised flight examiner or 61.040 holder.
3. Flight activity and aircraft design feature endorsements
There are a range of flight activity and design feature endorsements available under Part 61. Endorsements such as aerobatics and the retractable undercarriage design feature require training and sign off from an authorised instructor. Design features can also be issued following a successful flight test for an aircraft class or type rating that has design features listed under CASR Part 61.755.