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I have a question about the currency of a Private Pilot's License: if someone obtains a PPL but doesn't fly for a period of time, is there a time after which some conditions or restrictions are imposed?

I'm mainly interested in Europe and the US.

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marked as duplicate by abelenky, Pondlife, DeltaLima, SMS von der Tann, Simon Aug 5 '16 at 21:29

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site! Which country are you asking about? Regulations are different in different locations, but these questions are closely related for Europe and the US, respectively. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Aug 5 '16 at 14:35
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In the US (under the FAA) there are 2 things that must be maintained (lets assume this is a VFR license).

First there are some basic flight requirements. You don't need an instructor to complete these. It basically boils down to 3 take offs and landings every 90 days to be current to cary passengers. Here is the full legislation.

Sec. 61.57

Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.

(a) General experience.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers or of an aircraft certificated for more than one pilot flight crewmember unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days, and--

(i) The person acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls; and (ii) The required takeoffs and landings were performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating is required), and, if the aircraft to be flown is an airplane with a tailwheel, the takeoffs and landings must have been made to a full stop in an airplane with a tailwheel.

(2) For the purpose of meeting the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft under day VFR or day IFR, provided no persons or property are carried on board the aircraft, other than those necessary for the conduct of the flight. (3) The takeoffs and landings required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section may be accomplished in a flight simulator or flight training device that is--

(i) Approved by the Administrator for landings; and (ii) Used in accordance with an approved course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter.

(b) Night takeoff and landing experience.

(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning 1 hour after sunset and ending 1 hour before sunrise, and-

(i) That person acted as sole manipulator of the flight controls; and (ii) The required takeoffs and landings were performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating is required).

(2) The takeoffs and landings required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section may be accomplished in a flight simulator that is--

(i) Approved by the Administrator for takeoffs and landings, if the visual system is adjusted to represent the period described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section; and (ii) Used in accordance with an approved course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter.

Every 2 years you will also need a flight review which is administered by an instructor.

Sec. 61.56

Flight review.

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (f) of this section, a flight review consists of a minimum of 1 hour of flight training and 1 hour of ground training. The review must include:

(1) A review of the current general operating and flight rules of part 91 of this chapter; and

(2) A review of those maneuvers and procedures that, at the discretion of the person giving the review, are necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate. (b) Glider pilots may substitute a minimum of three instructional flights in a glider, each of which includes a flight to traffic pattern altitude, in lieu of the 1 hour of flight training required in paragraph (a) of this section. (c) Except as provided in paragraphs (d), (e), and (g) of this section, no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft unless, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in which that pilot acts as pilot in command, that person has--

(1) Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor; and (2) A logbook endorsed from an authorized instructor who gave the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily completed the review. (d) A person who has, within the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, passed a pilot proficiency check conducted by an examiner, an approved pilot check airman, or a U.S. Armed Force, for a pilot certificate, rating, or operating privilege need not accomplish the flight review required by this section. (e) A person who has, within the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, satisfactorily accomplished one or more phases of an FAA-sponsored pilot proficiency award program need not accomplish the flight review required by this section. (f) A person who holds a current flight instructor certificate who has, within the period specified in paragraph (c) of this section, satisfactorily completed a renewal of a flight instructor certificate under the provisions in Sec. 61.197 need not accomplish the 1 hour of ground training specified in paragraph (a) of this section. (g) A student pilot need not accomplish the flight review required by this section provided the student pilot is undergoing training for a certificate and has a current solo flight endorsement as required under Sec. 61.87 of this part. (h) The requirements of this section may be accomplished in combination with the requirements of Sec. 61.57 and other applicable recent experience requirements at the discretion of the authorized instructor conducting the flight review. (i) A flight simulator or flight training device may be used to meet the flight review requirements of this section subject to the following conditions:

(1) The flight simulator or flight training device must be used in accordance with an approved course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter.

(2) Unless the flight review is undertaken in a flight simulator that is approved for landings, the applicant must meet the takeoff and landing requirements of Sec. 61.57(a) or Sec. 61.57(b) of this part.

(3) The flight simulator or flight training device used must represent an aircraft or set of aircraft for which the pilot is rated.

The license its self (as the laws currently stand) is good for life, barring you having it revoked for some reason you will not need to fly your check ride again (unless you go for something like an instrument rating or a higher license).

Until recently here in the US you also needed a valid medical certificate. However recent regulation change has altered that a bit. You can read up on some of the changes here as they are still in progress.

On a bit of the more practical side there are some things to consider. For example many people here in the US rent aircraft. Your local flight school or rental facility may impose other rules on flight currency for you to be allowed to rent a plane. Likewise if you own a plane your insurance company may require certain experience or other things in order for you to be allowed to fly your plane. Generally this is based on your experience as well as time in type.

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    $\begingroup$ It's not a "must" as such to maintain currency per 61.57, it's only required for carrying passengers (although that is relevant to the question about restrictions being imposed after some time). And you might want to mention that you also need a medical certificate. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Aug 5 '16 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ Edited to reflect your suggestions. The medical is however no longer needed as per recent reforms. $\endgroup$ – Dave Aug 5 '16 at 15:14
  • $\begingroup$ It's a bit premature to say that no medical is required: the FAA hasn't published new regulations yet and even when they do, you'll still need to log an online course every 2 years and get a sign-off from your doctor every 4 years. So pilots will still need some medical documentation, even if it should be much easier to get in future. It's definitely not a driver's license medical. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Aug 5 '16 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ My apologies I had miss read some of the earlier talks on it a few months back then seen the headlines recently, ill update my answer. $\endgroup$ – Dave Aug 5 '16 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ No problem! The AOPA FAQ seems to be a good source for the most current information. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Aug 5 '16 at 15:52

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