In the U.S., since there is not a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) rating for "lighter-than-air" category pilots, someone who holds only a Commercial Balloon pilot certificate can provide the flight and ground training and various endorsements in order for someone to become a balloon pilot. 14 CFR 61.133(a)(2)(ii)(D)


Can the holder of a "Balloon" only Commercial Pilot certificate conduct and provide the endorsement for the 1 hour (minimum) of ground training required for a 14 CFR 61.56(a)(1) Flight Review for a pilot who holds, for example, an Airline Transport Pilot certificate and is only rated in Airplanes?

Of course the flight training portion of the Flight Review would have to be conducted by an instructor who holds an "Airplane" rating on his/her CFI.


1 Answer 1


No. They cannot provide ground training for a flight review in any other category aircraft.

The full text of the CFR cited above:

(2) Commercial pilots with lighter-than-air category ratings. A person with a commercial pilot certificate with a lighter-than-air category rating may -

(ii) For a balloon -

(A) Give flight and ground training in a balloon for the issuance of a certificate or rating;

(B) Give an endorsement for a pilot certificate with a balloon rating;

(C) Endorse a pilot's logbook for solo operating privileges in a balloon; and

(D) Give ground and flight training and endorsements that are required for a flight review, an operating privilege, or recency-of-experience requirements of this part.

The regulation is specific to an (1) airship or a (2) balloon classes.

If a holder of a commercial balloon category certificate wanted to provide ground instruction for an airplane category flight review they will need to become a ground instructor per §61.215

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. But would you agree that If the ATP airplane pilot (in my question) also held a Private pilot rating in a Hot Air Balloon the Commercial Pilot rated only in Balloons could give not only the ground training but also the flight training required for a 61.56 Flight Review in a Balloon that would also count for the ATP Pilot's 61.56 currency in an airplane. (Good idea or not) $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    May 11, 2022 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ Yes. I would agree with that comment. It is legal as it satisfies the requirement for a flight review. Is it a good idea? Maybe. Imagine a pilot who flies his airplane all the time and only balloons occasionally. Getting a flight review in a balloon would be a fantastic idea. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    May 12, 2022 at 0:54
  • $\begingroup$ Almost ready to accept your answer, but still pondering and doing some more research. Sub-para (d) in your answer (the actual reg) says "...recency-of-experience...of this part which is the entirety of part 61. Not a big difference between what I said in my comment and having a Balloon only "authorized instructor" do the ground training. Thanks for the answer. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    May 12, 2022 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ You are missing part of the regulation in 61.56(c)(1). "Accomplished a flight review given in an aircraft for which that pilot is rated by an authorized instructor". If the pilot receiving the flight review doesn't have a balloon rating a balloon instructor cannot provide the required ground training unless they also have a basic or advanced ground instructor certificate. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    May 12, 2022 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ I don't disagree. But the (c) (1) was written in a context that seems to assume the ground and flight review are done by the same person. The ground part is not "...given in an aircraft..." That is why, I believe a non-pilot ground instructor (by regulation) can give the ground portion. But, you are likely correct. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    May 12, 2022 at 1:45

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