In April, 2004, the FAA updated and revised the Practical Test Standards (“PTS”) for the Instrument Rating. The new standards become effective October 1, 2004. Of interest to CFII’s is a substantial change in the requirements for administering and Instrument Proficiency Check (“IPC”).
Currently, a CFII has discretion regarding what PTS tasks he or she can require for a pilot to demonstrate instrument proficiency. This discretion allows a CFII to be flexible in order to accommodate/address a pilot’s strengths/weaknesses, as well as the pilot’s aircraft, instrumentation and intended missions. That is, the CFII is allowed to decide what tasks the pilot needs to accomplish in order to show the CFII that the pilot can competently operate in the instrument environment.
The revised PTS will now require completion of specific tasks including holds, unusual attitudes, intercepting nav-aids and dme-arcs, precision, non-precision and circling approaches, partial- panel and review of instruments and aircraft equipment. One of the concerns with the revised PTS is the removal of the CFII’s discretion. This seems to convert what used to be a learning experience tailored to a pilot and his or her needs into what is more closely akin to an actual check-ride.
Another concern is the requirement that an IPC candidate now perform a circling approach. Unfortunately, this eliminates the opportunity for an IPC candidate to fully complete an IPC using a computer-based trainer such as an Advanced AD. Although an Advanced AD will still qualify for completion of a majority of the IPC requirements, if it does not have a wide, wrap-around display, a circling approach will be impossible and this portion of the IPC will need to either be demonstrated in an aircraft or in a simulator that is equipped for such an approach.