FAR 61.31 and instructor privileges
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AOPA receives regular inquiries regarding an instructors authority to conduct various training operations without certain endorsements. As an example, must an instructor hold a tailwheel endorsement in order to conduct training in a tailwheel airplane? The answer depends on what type of training is to be offered. Keep in mind that the endorsements in FAR 61.31 are required to serve or act as PIC in various types of aircraft. If the instructor is not, or does not need to act as PIC, an endorsement is not required.

To conduct a flight review for a current pilot in a tailwheel airplane, an instructor need not have a tailwheel endorsement. In this case, the pilot receiving the flight review can still act as PIC. If the pilot's flight review has expired, however, the instructor must serve as PIC and must therefore hold a tailwheel endorsement. The same is true if the instructor is to teach pilots seeking a tailwheel endorsement.

This is true for other endorsements in 61.31 as well, including complex airplanes, high-performance airplanes, pressurized/high altitude aircraft, as well as tailwheel as noted. It should be noted that the regulation exempts endorsement requirements if a pilot had logged PIC time prior to tax day 1991; in these cases, an endorsement is not required and the pilot is 'grandfathered'; the same as if he or she had the endorsement.

AOPA's Pilot Information Center is available to assist on any regulatory question. If you have one, give us a call at 800-872-2672 or send us an email to pilotassist@aopa.org
2 Replies
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I do recall that document, Ron. IIRC, John Lynch was the primary author. It was very useful and AOPA used it as guidance and member assistance quite a number of years ago until FAA advised us to, effectively, cease and desist. The reason was that document was the opinions of AFS-800 only; it was not official legal interpretation of any particular regulation from the office of chief counsel.

The AOPA Pilot Information Center has long avoided interpreting the regulations. Quite simply, it is not our job. We do, however, attempt to make heads or tails of the regs, using only the words in the regs, without reading anything into them or making interpretations. We offer opinions based on that. This post is my opinion based on my read of the regulations.

Unfortunately, that document cites at least one regulation that no longer exists; replaced or removed. Furthermore, an authorized instructor is one who is conducting flight training in accordance with the privileges and limitations of his or her flight instructor certificate. FAR 61.31 endorsements are not privileges, ratings, or limitations on an instructor certificate.

So long as the flight is conducted with a legal PIC, I see nothing that specifically says an instructor can provide instruction (flight review) in a tailwheel airplane without a tailwheel endorsement. But, most regulations do not grant permissions, they stipulate prohibitions. I also see no prohibitions on the privilege.

This forum is the perfect vehicle for such debates, and it is wholeheartedly encouraged. If any citation to the contrary can be found, I would welcome it here.
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AFS-800 does not agree with Daddis regarding a CFI-A giving training (including a flight review) in an airplane without having the applicable 61.31 additional training endorsement (or grandfathering).  This appears to be an interpretation of the term "authorized instructor", not the verbiage in 61.31.  Any questions should be directed to AFS-800 or the Office of the Chief Counsel (AGC-200).  From the Part 61 FAQ file (an internal document which provides standardizing guidance on the Part 61 regulations for FSDO personnel):

QUESTION:  The situation is a flight instructor has asked the question whether he can give flight training in a tailwheel airplane and yet he has not previously met the additional training requirements for operating a tailwheel airplane [i.e., § 61.31(i)]. 

ANSWER:  Ref. § 61.1(b)(2); § 61.31(i)(1);  No, a flight instructor cannot give flight training in a tailwheel airplane for the tailwheel airplane endorsement unless he has complied with § 61.31(i).  Per § 61.31(i)(1), it states, in pertinent part, “. . . from an authorized instructor in a tailwheel airplane . . . .”  Per § 61.1(b)(2)(ii), it states, in pertinent part, “. . . in accordance with the privileges and limitations of his or her flight instructor certificate . . . .”  The flight instructor would not be considered an “authorized instructor” for providing flight training in a tailwheel airplane for the tailwheel airplane endorsement.
{Q&A-551}
 
QUESTION:  The situation is a flight instructor has asked the question whether he can give a flight review in a tailwheel airplane and yet he has not previously met the additional training requirements for operating a tailwheel airplane [i.e., § 61.31(i)]. 

ANSWER:  Ref. § 61.1(b)(2); § 61.56(c)(1);  No, a flight instructor cannot give a flight review in a tailwheel airplane unless he has complied with § 61.31(i).  Per § 61.56(c)(1), it states, in pertinent part, “. . . by an authorized instructor . . . .”  Per § 61.1(b)(2)(ii), it states, in pertinent part, “. . . in accordance with the privileges and limitations of his or her flight instructor certificate . . . .”  The flight instructor would not be considered an “authorized instructor” for giving a flight review in a tailwheel airplane.
{Q&A-551}