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I am at the end of my training as a student pilot with an overkill amount of flying hours, but I had a couple of complications in the way.

  • I flew with my old instructor (instructor A) for about 3 years, and he signed me off for everything but the check ride.

  • When it was time for me to go to college, I had to find a new instructor (instructor B) and we trained for about a year until he decided it was about time I go for the check ride. Sadly our plane had engine issues and I had to cancel my check ride.

  • So I had to go back home to my old instructor (instructor A) who I haven't flown with for about a year. The last time we flew, he also said I was ready for the check ride, but that was about one year ago.

My question is this: Can my hometown instructor (instructor A) sign my off for my check ride even though I haven't flown with him in a year?

I stayed current with my flying and I even flew the same type of plane (One was a Cessna 172n and the other was a Cessna 172m).

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  • $\begingroup$ You are putting instructor A in a delicate situation because he was not flying with you. Better go to instructor B and ask him do sign off. Maybe he can send you a letter o mail to you the pappers. $\endgroup$ – jean Aug 17 '17 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ How long ago was the check ride you cancelled? Didn't instructor B endorse it then? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Aug 17 '17 at 17:24
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Any instructor can sign you off as ready, with a couple of caveats.

First, the instructor is certifying that you're ready for the test. The only way to know that for sure is to fly with you until he's satisfied that you really are ready. In theory he could pencil whip your application, but if you fail the checkride spectacularly the DPE and even the FAA would probably have some questions for him. And too many failed candidates would make his CFI renewal process more difficult.

Second, in order to take the private pilot checkride you need several logbook endorsements (see AC 61-65 for all the details) plus an IACRA recommendation. One of those endorsements is required by 61.103(f), which says the endorsing instructor must have instructed you himself:

(f) Receive flight training and a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor who:

(1) Conducted the training in the areas of operation listed in §61.107(b) of this part that apply to the aircraft rating sought

The IACRA process also requires the recommending instructor to confirm that he did instruct you personally (see the IACRA instructions 11.2.4):

By electronically signing this document I certify that:

I have personally instructed the Applicant and consider this person ready to take the test.

So in summary, instructor A can certainly endorse your logbook and recommend you in IACRA, but he has to certify that he's instructed you and you're ready for the test. That means you have to expect to fly with him first.

Alternatively, go back to instructor B and get him to do it. But it isn't clear from your question how long it's been since you flew with him (or any instructor) and he might also want to fly with you again first.

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No. Instructor A needs to provide at least three hours of training in preparation of the practical test within two calendar months of the checkride.

§61.39   Prerequisites for practical tests.

(6) Have an endorsement, if required by this part, in the applicant's logbook or training record that has been signed by an authorized instructor who certifies that the applicant—

(i) Has received and logged training time within 2 calendar months preceding the month of application in preparation for the practical test;

(ii) Is prepared for the required practical test; and

(iii) Has demonstrated satisfactory knowledge of the subject areas in which the applicant was deficient on the airman knowledge test;


§61.109   Aeronautical experience.

(a) For an airplane single-engine rating...

(4) 3 hours of flight training with an authorized instructor in a single-engine airplane in preparation for the practical test, which must have been performed within the preceding 2 calendar months from the month of the test


§61.103 Eligibility requirements: General.

(f) Receive flight training and a logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor who:

(1) Conducted the training in the areas of operation listed in §61.107(b) of this part that apply to the aircraft rating sought; and

(2) Certified that the person is prepared for the required practical test.


Instructor A has to provide the required training to the applicant before signing him off for the practical test. I would agree it doesn't have to be within two calendar months... but three hours are required from an authorized instructor with two calendar months. However, I would not, under any circumstance, sign off an applicant without at least three hours of training within the preceeding two calendar months. How else would I know they are prepared for the practical test?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure it reads like that... Instructor A should be able to sign off for the check ride as long as they can verify that any instructor has provided and logged training time within the previous 2 calendar months. All Instructor A has to do is verify that the student received instruction, it doesn't necessarily need to be by the same instructor. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Aug 17 '17 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer. I read 61.103 as a requirement for training before I give out my endorsement for a practical test. $\endgroup$ – wbeard52 Aug 17 '17 at 16:18

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