Simtech Aviation

Instrument Current OR Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC)?

Maintaining instrument currency in NYC is very time consuming and with the new changes in the regulation in 2018, there is no reason NOT to stay instrument current. Staying instrument current using an Aviation Training Device (ATD), should be as easy as flying an airplane without leaving Manhattan.

How to Stay Instrument Current?

In order to act as PIC under Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) or to participate in IFR environment, regardless if you are flying solo. To stay instrument current in an airplane, you must have complied with 14CFR61.57(c), which states, a pilot must have performed and logged the following task within the preceding 6 calendar months:

  • Six instrument approaches.
  • Holding procedures and tasks.
  • Intercepting and tracking courses through the use of navigational electronic systems.

To comply with the "Intercepting and tracking" you must use approaches that require the use of navigational equipment, you cannot only fly Precision Approach Radar (PAR) or Airport Surveillance Radar (ASR) approaches to meet the requirement. When using an Aviation Training Device to stay instrument current, this will not be a factor as all of you approaches will be using the airplanes navigational system.

Do you need six approaches? No Problem, just plan for a 3-hour lesson with CFI-I. Ideal plan? One of our LOFT and one local instrument currency scenarios. Want to practice your 6 approaches with no instructor? Click here

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Proceeding 6 Calendar Months?

When logging approaches the are always cumulative. If flying 1 instrument approach creates a cumulative sum of 6 logged approaches in the past 6 calendar months, that's all you need to fly. You do not need to fly all 6 approaches during your grace period to regain currency if you've logged approaches in the past 6 months.

While you can jump in the ATD an get one approach in, is recommended to book the ATD and practice a few approaches, as it takes a little to warm up to a new flying device.

Staying current using an ATD:

With the new rule change from the FAA, using an ATD to stay instrument current is lot easier. you can accomplish your:

  • Six instrument approaches.
  • Holding procedures and tasks.
  • Intercepting and tracking courses through the use of navigational electronic systems.

and you can stay current for another 6 calendar months with no instructor while using ATD.

While not having an instructor to stay instrument current is legal and acceptable. We recommend to use the ATD with an experience CFI-I, because if you practice the wrong instrument procedure there is no one pointing it out, and if you fly the same procedure in real-life you could run into problems.

Getting the most of using an ATD for your instrument currency:

Whether you use an CFI-I or you plan to use an ATD by yourself to stay current. Here are some tips you should do every session to make your simulated flight more realistic.

  1. Use PilotEdge: PilotEdge is a paid service of a live person acting as ATC, using proper phraseology, radio and instrument procedures. Using PilotEdge will allow you to increase your workload, becoming more comfortable talking with ATC, and if you make a mistake is better to do it in a control environment.
  2. Use the Geo Reference on your Electronic Flight Bag with the sim, or you might want to turn it off if you are always relying on it. Most ATD will allow you to sync your EFB with the sim, providing you the real-time simulator location in your EFB, which is great if you are not comfortable using an EFB. However, if your life depends on the Geo Reference and your situation awareness is lacking, might want to turn it OFF and rely in the airplane navigation systems
  3. Set the simulator for random failures: X-plane has a feature to set random failures, challenging your pilot skills. This feature is very cool, but you have to be familiar on setting up the sim to do so, and even then, you might get unrealistic failures.


You're No Current and you let your six-month grace period:

If you didn't meet the instrument experience after the 6-month grace period, you are not instrument current. and you will need an Instrument Proficiency Check.

Using the Instrument Rating- Airplane Airman Certification Standards, Section 8 you can still use an ATD for part of the IPC, but you will need to fly with an instructor an accomplish the following items:

  • Circling Approach (SE/ME IPC)
  • Landing from a Straight-in or Circling Approach (SE/ME IPC)
  • One Engine Inoperative During Straight-and-Level Flight (ME IPC)
  • One Engine Inoperative Instrument Approach (ME IPC)


The FAA’s WINGS Program goal is to go above and beyond the minimum required knowledge for a flight review. Yes, we have Accredited Activities!

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Instrument Currency Requirement Flow Chart New York Simtech Aviation