I'm working on getting checked out in our flying club's Arrow II. Our club's insurance requires 10 hours of instruction if you don't have any retractible time.

I've done a few hours with an instructor, and he signed off on my complex endorsement, which I also need from an FAA standpoint. So I'm FAA endorsed, but I need more time to satisfy club insurance.

§61.31.(d)(2)(e)(i) says:

(i) Received and logged ground and flight training from an authorized instructor in a complex airplane, or in a flight simulator or flight training device that is representative of a complex airplane, and has been found proficient in the operation and systems of the airplane;

What defines "found proficient?" What is the list of things an instructor "ticks off" their list to be able to give that endorsement?

Same question for the high-performance endorsement?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The FAA does not provide "endorsements", instructors do. The FAA allows instructors to provide these endorsements based on the instructor's evaluation of the pilots proficiency. So you are not "FAA endorsed", you are instructor endorsed which the FAA recognizes. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Dec 11, 2017 at 17:58
  • $\begingroup$ I apologize if I did not word my question precisely enough for you. An instructor 's endorsement makes me compliant with FAA regulations. My question still remains unanswered. $\endgroup$ Dec 11, 2017 at 20:02
  • $\begingroup$ There is no regulation that I can find that defines "proficiency". It is up to the instructor to determine that you are proficient. Whether this takes 1 hour or 10 hours is entirely up on what the instructor wants to see to make that endorsement. This is a similar reason why some people solo at 5 hours and others 30, the pilot is part of that, the other part is how comfortable the instructor is and what the instructors comfort level is. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Dec 11, 2017 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ No need to be grouchy @JimJarrett, Ron was making sure the question was understood. A simple answer is that if an instructor signs you off then you have been found proficient. $\endgroup$
    – GdD
    Dec 11, 2017 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! See this question for details of the high-altitude endorsement. Unlike the HP and CMP ones, it does have specific training requirements. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Dec 11, 2017 at 22:13

2 Answers 2


This Advisory Circular describes what should be examined when transitioning (and ultimately endorsing) a pilot for complex operations.

This publication is offered as a guide to the procedures and standards to be followed for a thorough and comprehensive checkout in these airplanes. The conscientious application and adherence to the scope of coverage recommended in the syllabus should result in a more competent, effective, and efficient pilot.

The document is fairly short and I suggest you look through it, for brevity I wont copy it here as its pretty much all relevant. Its important to note that this is simply what the FAA suggests (albeit strongly) and its not required all the described things be covered in a checkout. Although the instructor may be assuming some liability by signing you off without a proper checkout.


As I understand it, 61.31 provides the legal guidelines for doing so, but the FAA prefers CFIs to only sign someone off on a complex or high performance airplane when they can handle the airplane at or above the practical test standards for their pilot certificate eg maneuver the airplane +/- 100 ft, +/- 10 kts, etc.

As Jim Jarrett states, while these are the standards the FAA wants to see, insurance companies are a totally different animal. Underwriters have paid out too many claims from a numbskull bellying an airplane in while ignoring the gear warning horn and will set minimum hourly requirements for flight clubs to rent complex aircraft out.


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