Every 24 months an FAA certified pilot must go through a flight review (formerly called the biennial flight review or BFR). This flight review consists of a minimum of :

  •  1 hour ground instruction
  •  1 hour in-flight with a qualified instructor

Another option that will fulfill the BFR requirement is completion of any phase of the FAA Wings program.  The flight review is not pass or fail. Although, at any time within the flight review, an instructor may decline to sign the pilot’s logbook. The FAA specifies that the review must include:

  • Current general operating and flight rules of FAR 91
  • Maneuvers
  • Procedures

**Note that the specific Maneuvers and Procedures to be reviewed are at the discretion of the person giving the review. The FAA and instructors are quick to point out that this is not a test. It is a review of the skills necessary for the pilot to demonstrate the safe exercise of the privileges of the pilot certificate currently held by the applicant and by the standards of the certificate held by applicant.
There are three instances where a flight review is not necessary. These include:

  1. A flight test conducted by an FAA designated flight examiner that results in a new certificate or rating can be substituted for the flight review.
  2. A proficiency check conducted by a certified flight instructor for additional sport pilot privileges may also be substituted.
  3. Completion of a proficiency check administered by a check airman who typically is an air carrier pilot

Many countries besides the U.S. require a pilot in command to complete a flight review.


To fly under IFR a pilot must meet two requirements. Have an instrument rating and be current. To be considered current, a pilot must meet the recency of experience requirement. This means within the preceding six months a pilot must have flown:

  • Six instrument approaches
  • Six holding procedures
  • Six course interceptions
  • Tracking with navaids

If these requirements have not been met during the prior six-month period, the pilot can no longer fly under IFR. However, currency may be reestablished within the next six months by first completing the requirements above.
A pilot can practice instrument approaches in either instrument meteorological conditions or in visual meteorological conditions.
In visual meteorological conditions a safety pilot is required so the pilot can practice instrument approaches while wearing a device that restricts his field of view to the instrument panel. The safety pilot’s primary duty is to observe and avoid other traffic. Under instrument meteorological conditions a pilot must also have aboard a current IRF rated pilot.

Do You Need a Flight Review?