Requirements for 'complex' airplane seem to vary between regulators and between pilots, so let's have this settled once and for all.
What is the definition of a 'complex' airplane as defined by FAA and EASA?
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For the FAA, a "complex aeroplane" must have:
The FAA's definition is given in 14 CFR 61.1:
Complex airplane means an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller, including airplanes equipped with an engine control system consisting of a digital computer and associated accessories for controlling the engine and propeller, such as a full authority digital engine control; or, in the case of a seaplane, flaps and a controllable pitch propeller, including seaplanes equipped with an engine control system consisting of a digital computer and associated accessories for controlling the engine and propeller, such as a full authority digital engine control.
However, the EASA has a different definition of a "complex motor-powered aircraft" that is an airplane, which is considerably more "complex":
- with a maximum certificated take-off mass exceeding 5 700 kg, or
- certificated for a maximum passenger seating configuration of more than nineteen, or
- certificated for operation with a minimum crew of at least two pilots, or
- equipped with (a) turbojet engine(s) or more than one turboprop engine
Note that 5700kg is about 12567 pounds.