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Context: To minimize the heath risk during pandemic, many CFIs, especially senior ones, are not comfortable to conduct instructional flights with students in a narrow cabin. In the meantime, many pilots are due soon for flight reviews (BFR), but still within the 24 calendar month valid period.

For the ground portion of the flight review, a remote video call should make no difference with respect to regulation compliance. So the remaining of the question is for the flight portion,

Is it regulation-compliant to let a CFI to endorse me while the CFI is on the ground while I am going solo for the flight? There will be real-time videos, which cover the flight instrument panel, my maneuvers and cockpit outside views, broadcasting to my CFI in real-time, as well as recorded for post-flight verification. The CFI will be able to communicate to me in real-time through a hand-held radio, and will watch my takeoffs and landings near the runway, just like what happens on a first solo.

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  • $\begingroup$ See SFAR 118, 118-1 and 118-2 for special COVID-related relief of many currency requirements. That should give you enough additional time to find a CFI willing to do a Flight Review in person. Many schools have reopened, and many never closed, so it shouldn’t be difficult. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Oct 13 '20 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ How do you plan on setting up this real time video? A regular cellphone connection isn't going to be enough, and that much data is going to be expensive. $\endgroup$ Oct 13 '20 at 16:15
  • $\begingroup$ Although, I can not find anything that explicitly prohibits a pilot who meets currency requirements from receiving a Flight Review this way, 91.109 strongly implies that the CFI must be able to manipulate the controls of the aircraft. It may be easier to just accomplish a WINGS phase. It seems to have fewer concrete stipulations. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Oct 13 '20 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ @DJClayworth, I did saw some real-time broadcasting YouTubers and I guess there would be some good-signal area. I'm also on an unlimited data plan. Nonetheless, I am researching it is legally compliant before starting to search for these zones. $\endgroup$
    – skyoasis
    Oct 15 '20 at 5:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenS These are great pointers that give me more room of time. $\endgroup$
    – skyoasis
    Oct 15 '20 at 5:42
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It seems to me that your question is simply "can an instructor provide flight training from the ground?", whether it's for a flight review or something else. As far as I can tell, the instructor must be in the aircraft. All emphasis below is mine.

61.1:

Flight training means that training, other than ground training, received from an authorized instructor in flight in an aircraft.

61.195(g)(1):

(1) A flight instructor must perform all training from in [sic] an aircraft that complies with the requirements of §91.109 of this chapter.

The Williams interpretation (2018) talks about instructing from the rear seat (see this somewhat related question) and states that the regulations require the instructor to be seated in a pilot station per 61.195:

Section 61.195 prescribes limitations and qualifications for flight instructors. As evident from the heading in § 61.195(g), § 61.195(g) prescribes limitations on the flight instructor's position in an aircraft and required pilot stations for flight training.
[...]
The regulation would not require two pilot stations for a training flight unless the flight instructor were required to provide flight training from the one of the pilot stations.

That last statement seems very clear. In any case, the idea of providing flight instruction from the ground doesn't seem realistic, in my opinion. Even with great cameras, will the instructor be able to see your knuckles are white on the yoke from poor trimming technique? How would you do exercises under the hood (if needed)? There are just too many things that would be difficult to do and/or difficult to assess.

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