Are You “Street Legal” in the Skies? Taking a Closer Look at Arizona Pilots and their Biennial Flight Reviews

Can you imagine if pilots were governed by the same rules as those with a Class D driving licenses? When buzz about the new “flying car” started, it generated excitement from the masses; most pilots knew that the idea would thankfully, and quite literally, never get off the ground.

While a majority of people you share the streets with have not received any type of instruction or review for decades (unless they incurred a driving infraction), most of the people buzzing around our Arizona skies have received instruction, check rides, or a flight review within the past two years. While this cannot guarantee that each of these pilots are at peak proficiency, it does make giant strides towards a safer Arizona airspace.

The Biennial Flight Review: What it is, and When You Need It

A flight review for single engine-rated pilot consists of at least one hour of ground instruction and one hour of flight training with an authorized instructor or examiner. The training must consist of a review of FAR Part 91 operating rules as well as flight maneuvers and procedures in a manner that demonstrates the pilot’s ability to safely exercise the privileges of his or her certificate.

In the simplest interpretation of the rules, a flight review must be completed within the previous twenty-four calendar months of a pilot acting as pilot-in-command of an aircraft with a few exceptions. Student pilots receiving training for a specific certificate with current solo endorsement are not required to undergo a flight review, nor is any pilot who has received a successful check-ride for a rating or certificate within the past twenty-four months. Certified Flight Instructors are exempt from the ground training portion, but must still undergo the hour of flight training.

Why Your Flight Review Currency Matters

Flight reviews on a biennial basis are required by FARs, and if you are involved in an accident or incident, one of the first things the FAA will look as is if you are in compliance with your certificate and currency. For some reason, however, many pilots overlook the flight review and assume that a current medical certificate and regular flight time will suffice. From an administrative perspective, not to mention a safety perspective, nothing can replace the flight review or check ride.

While there is a large amount of flight training that takes place here in Arizona, the majority of pilots here are people who fly for enjoyment. While we might fly on a fairly regular basis, we may not go through the standard maneuvers and emergency procedures as often as we should to maintain a mastery of our aircraft handling skills. With a flight review, we have the opportunity to perfect these maneuvers in a safe environment, and maybe even get the chance to learn something new in the meantime.

If you have any questions about flight review requirements, feel free to reach out to us here on our website or by calling our Arizona aviation attorneys at 602-258-1000. We want to play a role in keeping you safe and legal in the skies!