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5 Answers

Instrument “Grace Period”

Asked by: 6425 views FAA Regulations, Instrument Rating

Instrument pilots often use the term "grace period" when referring to the period of time in which they can get current with a safety pilot after losing their instrument currency (and before one year has passed, in which case they would require an IPC). 

Is it true that the "grace period" may only be used once without having to do an IPC? If so, is there  an FAA source where I would be able to find that information?

Thank you!

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5 Answers



  1. Micah on May 20, 2011

    I presume that your confusion results from hearing “You’ve got a six-month ‘grace period’ during which you can complete your currency requirements…” If you think that “grace periods” are finite, read the Regs; if you don’t have this misunderstanding, but are otherwise confused, read the Regs. Here’s my attempt to help:
     
    Read 61.57 (C) & (D) (links at the bottom), but you should know that as an instrument pilot you are “current” now if your (performed and) logged experience equals that required by 61.57 (C). If this is false, then you may not fly as PIC under IFR rules (or in IFR conditions). If this is false, but these experience requirements are met within the preceding 12 months then you are within the “grace period,” during which you may perform and log the experience required (by 61.57 (C)), which authorizes you (after the experience is obtained) to act as PIC under IFR (although you currently may not do so). After 12 months you must complete an IPC as described by 61.57 (D).
     
    It’s simplest to me to consider the law this way: there is only 1 period of currency, and that period is now. (Yes, there was past currency and yes there may be future currency, but nevertheless…) Either you are current now or you are not current now, and you therefore are or are not authorized to act, now, as PIC under IFR rules/conditions. If this is true, fly safe(ly). If this is not true, then you either are or are not within the “grace period” now. Whether this second question is true or not informs what actions you must take to become current.
     
    If your question is “Do I only have 1 grace period to use ever?” then I hope you find guidance above (and, more importantly, in 61.57).
    If your question is  “Am I able to use consecutive grace periods?” then I hope you find guidance above (and, more importantly, in 61.57).
     
     
    Full text of 61.57:
    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr;rgn=div8;view=text;node=14%3A2.0.1.1.2.1.1.36;idno=14;sid=a57796b91e9428ed48f362ddd15fe537;cc=ecfr
    Better formatted (but not current) text of 61.57:
    http://flash.aopa.org/asf/single_pilot_ifr/site/html/misc/instrument_currency.cfm

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  2. Nathan Parker on May 20, 2011

    “Is it true that the “grace period” may only be used once without having to do an IPC?”
    No.
    “If so, is there  an FAA source where I would be able to find that information?”
    14 CFR 61.57(c)

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  3. mario schmidt on Sep 04, 2011

    my last IFR flight was 13 months ago. What should I do to be current again?

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  4. Paul Tocknell on Sep 04, 2011

    You need to schedule an IPC (instrument profiency check) with a CFII.

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  5. Lagmanbek on Oct 11, 2012

    The text of 61.57(d) changed, but the rule didn’t. Here’s a really good explanation:
    http://www.premierflightct.com/newsletters/TrainingArticles/InstrumentCurrencyRule.html

    Cheers!

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