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I have a foreign-based PPL issued by the FAA. According to the regulation of my original (non-FAA) PPL, I am required to accomplish a biennial flight review with an authorized instructor in my country. I had a flight review less than a month ago to meet this requirement.

During a checkout flight in the US, the local CFI stated that the flight review must be conducted by an FAA-authorized CFI - therefore the flight review I had in my home country (less than a month ago) is not sufficient. He stated that FAR §61.56 requires I have "Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor", while FAR §61.1 defines an "authorized instructor" as "(ii) A person who holds a flight instructor certificate issued under part 61 of this chapter and is in compliance with §61.197"

The CFI that approved my last flight review is authorized by the local authorities in my country, but not by the FAA under part 61. On the other hand, as far as I know, a foreign-based FAA PPL should be valid as long as the original PPL (it is based on) is valid, without any special additional requirements from the FAA. In my case, my original PPL meets all the requirements by the local authorities in my country. Am I still required to have another flight review, in the US, approved by an FAA-authorized CFI?

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! Does this question help? It seems to be very similar. Note the legal interpretation mentioned in this answer. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Aug 4 at 15:30
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The U.S. CFI who gave you the checkout flight is correct in stating that a FAR 61.56 Flight Review must be given by an "authorized instructor" as defined in FAR 61.1 (the CFI certificate of the "authorized instructor" must have been issued under FAR Part 61)

61.56 does provide for some alternative ways of meeting the Flight Review requirement, but completing a Flight Review in your home country is not one of those alternative ways.

One of the most important elements of a 61.56 Flight Review is specified under 61.56 (a)(1) -

"A review of the current general operating and flight rules of part 91 of this chapter;"

A Flight Review from your country, although probably an excellent and comprehensive review, is unlikely to include this required element.

Here is a FAA legal interpretation, while not specifically on point, may help in understanding the basic issue underlying your question:

FAR 61.56 interpretation

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you @757toga for the detailed response, much appreciated! $\endgroup$ Aug 5 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ I had been in the same situation as the OP. While the FFA PPL is valid as long as the foreign on which its based is valid, it does not exclude you from the rules of FAR 61.56. My US CFI reached the same conclusion, that my foreign instruction flight (to maintain the SEP of my PPL) does not count as an FAA flight review. My personal conclusion was if I wanted to stay long in the USA it would be easier to pass the full fledged FAA test than maintain a licence in both places (Europe and USA). $\endgroup$
    – Brice
    Aug 27 at 7:48

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