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3 Answers

Can I count my Military Instrument SIMULATOR time towards my PPL ASEL Instrument Rating? (How to Prove)

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Instrument Rating

All, I am a ~200 hr private pilot, recently returned to flying after 10 yrs, current, enthusiastic, and looking to earn an instrument rating. My situation is a bit unusual in that 20 years ago I was a Student Naval Aviator and received significant training time in the T34C and T2C. I did not earn my wings as a a Naval Aviator, unfortunately. Prior to commencing Naval Flight Training I was a civilian licensed Private Pilot with High Performance/Complex endorsement.  There is no question that the time in the T34/T2 counts towards my instrument rating. (4.8 Hrs Actual. 12.4 Hrs Sim.) I also have 6.3 Sim in an aircraft in the civilian world -- so 20+ hrs in an airplane, + 20+ hrs in SIM should = eligible (ready is another question) to take a ride (with long X/Country & written test, and 3 hrs recent time I know). The question I get into is how can I prove to a DPE/CFII that my military SIM time counts as well? This is relevant as I have 46.8 Hours of sim instrument time in the T34C and T2C military simulators and I need that to get to the magic 40 total instrument number. I know in the civilian world the "simulator" must be FAA approved. I also know that one FAR mandates that military time counts towards Civilian ratings (ref?). And I know that I can only use 20 hrs of sim time toward the 40 the FAA requirements for Instrument Rating. What I don't know is what reg I can cite when I plop my Civilian Logbook with Part of my qualify time and my Military log book with the other parts of my qualifying time in front of either a perplexed CFII or DPE.  What I don't want to hear is that "Your military sim time doesn't count because those sims were not "FAA Approved" go log 20+ more hours at$150/hr. FYI In my logbook the T2C Sim is recorded as 2F01 under "model" and the T34C Sim Model is listed as 2B37. The T2C sim was full motion as I recall. The T34 was static. Anyway - thanks for your help. Big Picture. If I can get my Military sim time to count, I think I only lack a long cross country and 3 hrs "currency" for a check ride. If I can't count 20 hrs of my military sim time towards the mins, then I have a lot of Cessna 150/172 driving in foggles to redo unfortunately. Final Footnote on logging time -- I actually also have logged 3.6 hrs of Actual Instruments in a civilian plane - flying in a plane with my IFR Rated father on an IFR flight plan he filed 20+ years ago.  After working through several "logging time" threads I think I can legally log/count this time, but I've held off just to avoid making a CFII/DPE's head explode. I don't need to count it if my military sim time counts anyway. Phew...

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3 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Jun 03, 2015

    The sim must be logged and signed off by your IP in the military. However that is accomplished should work.

    I highly doubt you’ll be ready in the minimum time and so most of this discussion is mute.

    Regarding the flight with your father 20 years ago. You were not a required crew member especially since I think you became a private pilot 10 years ago. You cannot count that time toward any certificate or rating.

    If you were a rated private pilot in that class of airplane and were also the sole manipulator of the controls you can log PIC time and instrument time. I highly doubt your father would let you fly for any substantial time in the clouds without formal training. If I was the DPE, I would not accept that time.

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  2. Todd Payne on Jun 03, 2015


    Thanks for the feedback. To clarify, I was sole manipulator of the controls, a rated PPL with High Perf endorsement for the 182 we flew at the time of the long IFR XC flight partially in IMC to Oshkosh. That time isn’t critical as I have plenty as long as the Military Sim Time is acceptable.

    And I feel pretty confident re: the quality of my military training even if it was 20 yrs ago. I’ve supplemented this significantly recently with lots of time on PilotEdge. I fully expect to need at least 10 or so of refresher training in the plane.

    I want to avoid any gotchas or surprises as I am just begining the actual process of working on my Rating. I have a club CFII in mind, but it seems these guys aren’t necessarily masters of the minutia wrt FARs that concern my situation. hence my hope that ask a cfi would be more definitive and specific wrt the specific FAR to cite.


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  3. Best Answer

    Kris Kortokrax on Jun 04, 2015


    61.41 (a) (1) states:

    “(a) A person may credit flight training toward the requirements of a pilot certificate or rating issued under this part, if that person received the training from:

    (1) A flight instructor of an Armed Force in a program for training military pilots of either –

    (i) The United States; or
    (ii) A foreign contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.”

    They use the term “flight training” which might lead one to believe that SIM time might not be useable. 61.1 defines flight training as “Flight training means that training, other than ground training, received from an authorized instructor in flight in an aircraft.”

    61.1 also defines pilot time as “Receives training from an authorized instructor in an aircraft, flight simulator, or flight training device;”

    61.1 defines training time as time received “In a flight simulator or flight training device from an authorized instructor.”

    61.4 discusses qualification of simulators.

    61.65 (d) describes aeronautical experience requirements.

    61.1 defines aeronautical experience as “Aeronautical experience means pilot time obtained in an aircraft, flight simulator, or flight training device for meeting the appropriate training and flight time requirements for an airman certificate, rating, flight review, or recency of flight experience requirements of this part.”

    61.65 (h) discusses allowances for simulator time for the instrument rating.

    What does it all mean? If you want a definitive answer, you will probably need to request a legal interpretation from the Office of Legal Counsel. Your CFI or DPE are not qualified to issue a legal interpretation. The big hang up appears to be the use of the words “flight training” in 61.41. I personally think that the sim time should be able to be counted, but legal may disagree.

    The word you were looking for was “moot”, not “mute”.

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