Can I do a flight review for a different rating?
Mike is looking into regaining his currency and asks:
I’m thinking about doing the Recreational Pilot flight review instead of the Private Pilot this time around. I haven’t been able to fly much in the last 15 yrs. but want to restart. Can I do the Rec Pilot and then get a medical and redo a check to Private later?
The short answer is that it doesn’t really matter. The long answer is that since it’s been a while, it could be that you’re actually thinking of Sport pilot, rather than Recreational. This is totally understandable—the FAA doesn’t always make it easy to determine requirements for, and privileges of, different types of pilot certificates. However, recreational pilots still must hold a current medical, as required by the FAA, and (as of 2006) there were fewer than 250 of them left in the country. While there are some caveats, a sport pilot does not need to hold a medical.
However, a flight review is a flight review, regardless of what pilot certificate you hold, and it must consist of at least one hour of flight and one hour of ground. You could do your flight review in a light sport aircraft without a medical, and that would allow you to exercise sport pilot privileges, but you’ll also have to learn new regulations that apply only to sport pilots, and you’d also have to operate within some (potentially significant) limitations.
Given that relatively flew FBOs offer Light Sport aircraft for rental or for training, it may make more sense to simply get a Third Class medical and stick with the Private certificate, and not necessarily in that order. You can certainly start the flight review process without a current medical. I’ve done several flight reviews with pilots who haven’t flown (at all) in over 10 years, and the amount of time it takes them to get used to flying the airplane—and, often more significantly, new regulations—is fairly reasonable, ranging from 2 and 10 hours of flight and ground time.