Long before the FAA updated the rules of BATD, AATD, FFS, and FTD, what were the rules for logging simulated instrument time in a synthetic trainer?

Specifically, this question came up, an older pilot had a few log book entries for simulated instrument in a Curtiss-Wright P.3 simulator and it was logged as "simulated instrument", "synthetic trainer" and "total flight time." Nowadays, you do NOT log instrument time in a simulator (unless its full motion) as "total fight time", but how was it logged back in 1994? This person's log book entries were logged by an instructor/simulator operator, and the entry was signed off by the instructor. I looked it up and the Curtiss-Wright P.3 was used by airlines to do instrument training, but I couldn't find anything on how that time was appropriately logged back in 1994.

I imagine back then it may have been appropriate to log it as flight time, but I can't find anything that old that says anything one way or the other.

UPDATE: I found AC 120-45A issued in 1992, which described Airplane Flight Training Device Qualifications. Section 14 of this AC said that Previously Approved Flight Training Devices are essentially grandfathered for 5 years from the date of that AC in 1992. So if the Curtis-Wright P.3 was previously approved as a flight training device then, it would be grandfathered. So, if anyone knows if the Curits-Wright P.3 was ever approved as a flight training devices, that would be helpful as well.


1 Answer 1


This answer is somewhat non-responsive but may be helpful.

In the 70's I utilized training devices, both in preparation for an instrument rating, and for currency. The training device had a plotter and would tract the path flown. As I recall it was a regulatory requirement that a CFII or an IGI (Instrument Ground Instructor) provide training for all simulated time. It was logged as simulated instrument time, and instrument instruction received.

Simulator time on the device was not acceptable for any ratings or currency, unless an instructor was present and endorsed the logbook or other record.

As I recall, two inspectors from the FSDO also used this facility.

When I accomplished my instrument airplane rating and my CFII airplane rating, there was no concern either from the DPE who conducted the instrument checkride, nor from the DPE and operations inspector who rode along on my CFI instrument ride.

I will amend this if I am able to dig out the guidance at that time, which as I recall was not an AC, but rather a collection of Letters of Determination from FAA Legal.

  • $\begingroup$ Did your instructor log that time as Total Flight Time in the last column of your logbook? The P.3 sim is just like you described, huge silver cockpit with an operator station on the side with a plotter that would trace a line on graph paper. It was high tech back in the day. I know its legit for simulated instrument time, but was it also logged in the Total Flight Time column? I'm curious if you still have the log book maybe you can take a peek. $\endgroup$
    – Devil07
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 4:33
  • $\begingroup$ Not logged as flight time. I had a IGI and did not log it as flight time with that rating, or with my CFII when I received that rating. I provided about 1500 hours of training in a flight training device back then, and always logged it was "simulated IMC" with the N and category / class entry being the simulator model and serial. $\endgroup$
    – mongo
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 13:37
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! That is very helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Devil07
    Commented Dec 15, 2020 at 17:38

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