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Suppose I've done my Private Pilot training in aircraft Make/Model "A" and the one I have access to breaks two weeks before my checkride. My instructor also teaches in model "B". What do I need to do solo in model B, if all of my endorsements are for model "A"?

  • Is it necessary to complete a Pre-solo exam?
  • Is it necessary to demonstrate all the maneuvers in 61.87?
  • Is it necessary to demonstate all the maneuvers in 61.93 for solo cross country privileges?
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As long as your training has been done in the same category, class, and type as the aircraft you are switching into, the FARs aren't specific regarding repeat training required. Instead, this will fall into the realm of flight school policy, and CFI judgement.

For example, if you are transitioning from a high wing to a low wing, or from manual to electric flaps, your instructor will need to ensure that you are safe and comfortable flying the new aircraft before signing you off to solo. To the first question, it is almost a 100% certainty that you will at a minimum need to complete a presolo exam on the new aircraft to ensure that you know the systems, airspeeds, etc.

If the instrumentation and navigation equipment are similar enough you probably won't need to refly any cross country flights, but again this is at CFI/Owner's discretion.

You will, of course, need a new solo endorsement for the specific make and model.

And don't forget the most important piece, two weeks before your checkride YOU need to be comfortable in the aircraft you will take your practical exam in! Don't short change yourself, push out the checkride if needed to make sure you are ready.

The best advice is to consult your CFI and/or the flight school chief pilot to put together a re-training/recovery plan to transition. Good luck!

ADDENDUM: I see in your profile that you are a CFI with 20 years of flying experience. What gives?! (downvote for what I perceive as deception...)

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  • $\begingroup$ It's not quite that simple: assuming that the OP holds a student certificate then 61.87 requires knowledge and training in a "similar make and model" before a student can solo an aircraft, plus a logbook endorsement for the specific make and model. You're right that a lot is left to the instructor's judgment, but there are still requirements in the regulations. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Sep 12 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ Nothing I said contradicts 61.87, and I assume that the OP and their CFI have referenced this section. (or will...) My answer simply provides a perspective that supplements the CFR. I don't feel the need for hand holding by posting quotes from this section, but can if it will strengthen the answer. Link to the CFR if it helps: law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/61.87 BTW, I added a specific line about needing a new endorsement for make and model to clarify this hard requirement. "Similar" is a bit more squishy... $\endgroup$ – Michael Hall Sep 12 at 21:28
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Short version: you don't need to repeat everything but you do need some kind of written test plus training and endorsements for the new aircraft. Your instructor has a lot of freedom to decide exactly what you have to repeat or not.


Assuming that you're a student pilot training for ASEL (airplane single-engine land) then 14 CFR 61.87 applies to all solo flights:

A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student has met the requirements of this section. The term “solo flight” as used in this subpart means that flight time during which a student pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft [...]

The whole thing is too long to quote here and you can read it yourself; the general idea is to make sure that you're competent in the "make and model" (not the category and class) of aircraft that you're going to solo.

Here are some key points:

  • 87(b) requires a knowledge test that includes operational limitations of the aircraft
  • 87(c) requires logged flight training, and maneuvers
  • 87(n) requires an endorsement for the specific make and model
  • 87(p) requires a 90-day endorsement from an instructor

The regulations do give instructors some discretion: some of them refer to a "similar" or "appropriate" make and model, i.e. not everything you've learned has to be repeated in the new aircraft.

With all that in mind:

  1. Is it necessary to complete a Pre-solo exam?

Yes. 87(b) requires a knowledge test including "Flight characteristics and operational limitations for the make and model of aircraft to be flown". Your instructor can decide exactly what that test covers (or not).

  1. Is it necessary to demonstrate all the maneuvers in 61.87?

No. 87(c) requires training in an "appropriate" and "similar" make and model, but it doesn't require it in the specific make and model that you're going to fly. Your instructor determines what's similar enough or not.

  1. Is it necessary to demonstrate all the maneuvers in 61.93 for solo cross country privileges?

No. 93(e) just requires that you log training, it doesn't say anything about the make or model. But note that 93(c) and (d) do require a current endorsement for the specific make and model.

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