If an instrument rated pilot has not conducted 6 approaches, holds and intercepting radials in the past 6 months, can they become current by doing these maneuvers an an approved flight simulator over the next 6 months?

2 Replies
Ronald Levy
1516 Posts
Depends how long ago the pilot was last current.  A pilot who is no more than six months since last current can just do the 6HIT's either on an approved sim or in the air under the hood with a safety pilot.  If you're more than six months out of currency, you must get an Instrument Proficiency Check from an instrument instructor or examiner.  And the relevant regulation is 61.57(c).  The reg you cited only covers logging the instrument time and events, not the requirements for logged recent instrument experience to be PIC under IFR.

Of course, that's just the legal requirement.  Never forget the difference between legal currency and actual proficiency.  A pilot who hasn't flown instruments in more than six months might be able to stumble through the 6HIT's on a sim but still be a long way from being safe to launching off into the wild gray yonder.

If a pilot allows his/her instrument currency to expire, and you are within the ”second” 6 month grace period, can he/she become current again by using a simulator or can it only be done in a plane with safety pilot?

(14 CFR 61.57, 91.109)
A pilot is current for the first 6 months following his/her instrument checkride or proficiency check. If the pilot has not accomplished at least 6 approaches (including holding procedures, intercepting/tracking courses through the use of navigation systems) within this first 6 months, he/she is no longer legal to file and fly under IFR. To become legal again, the regulations allow a “grace period” (the second 6-month period), in which a pilot may get current by finding an “appropriately rated” safety pilot, and in simulated IFR conditions only, acquire the 6 approaches, etc. If the second 6-month period also passes without accomplishing the minimum, a pilot may reinstate his/her currency by accomplishing an instrument proficiency check given by an examiner, an authorized instructor, or an FAA-approved person to conduct instrument practical tests.