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For the United States, does anyone know how this progressed over time / when? Was it always a rating? Was it an endorsement at some time? Called something else? Any history out there?

Thanks

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  • $\begingroup$ Please specify whether you mean in the US, or somewhere else, or anywhere in the world-- thanks -- and should be in the body of the question (or title) as well as just the tags-- thanks $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2021 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ @quietflyer There is no need to specify the country, it clearly says [faa-regulations] in the tags. See also Should questions include "tags" in their titles? on Meta. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Jan 1 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Bianfable -- tags can be (and often are) added by anyone, so there is no guarantee that they reflect the intentions of the original poster. A question should stand alone on its own content, and should not depend on tags to clarify the intent of the question. This is a different issue from whether or not tags should be included in the title. $\endgroup$ Jan 1 at 13:31
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    $\begingroup$ Difficult to find an answer unless you access very early editions of FAR Part 61. I received a multi-engine rating (on my then commercial cert) almost 50 years ago (early 1970's). At that time my CFI cert said "airplanes and instruments" meaning that the day I got my multi-engine rating I was also a multi-engine instructor. When multi-engine was subsequently added as a CFI rating those that had given at least 20 hours of instruction in a multi-engine airplane would have that new CFI rating added to their CFI certificate after logbook verification by the FAA. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Jan 1 at 16:09
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    $\begingroup$ There is a subscription site called "Hein online" that allows searching of Federal Regulations back to around 1938 -- if there's a way to do this without paying, I'd like to know about it-- haven't found google to be very effective for older regs-- $\endgroup$ Jan 1 at 18:00

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I've not been able to find copies of aviation regulations for the USA pre-dating 1938.

In the 1938 Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14 item 20.44 speaks of "specifying the weight and powerplant of aircraft which the applicant is deemed competent to pilot". Classes 2M, 3M, and 4M are all "multi-engine" classes. However, the word "rating" is not specifically used in relation to these classes.

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Similar content may be found in the 1939 edition of the Code of Federal Regulations. It appears that no update to Title 14 was published in 1940.

In the 1941 Code of Federal Regulations, Title 14 item 21.350 specifically references "aircraft class ratings". Item 21.350(c) is "multi-engine land" and item 21.350(d) is "multi-engine sea".

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Images are screenshots of material accessed via the "Hein online" (subscription-based) web-search site.

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  • $\begingroup$ So, it seems that at least in 1938 a "multi-engine" rating was a specific classification for a pilot certificate. Probably take a lot more research to really determine when a specific class rating was first introduced. If I had to guess I would say that when regulatory oversight first made its way into aviation was when qualifications for different aircraft configurations (MEL, SEL, SES, MES, etc.) came about. In 1926 the Department of Commerce -Aeronautics Branch was created. Perhaps this is the beginning of regulatory oversight and when classification began. Good research. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Jan 1 at 22:22

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