So in the midst of this Coronavirus pandemic and the grounding of airplanes everywhere, I was thinking about my night currency. I suppose it should be the least of my worries, but still, I was trying to remember when I last flew at night. And I was trying to remember what the requirements were, since I didn’t usually have to think about it. I googled “Pilot currency requirements to carry passengers at night” and up came this alternate means of compliance that I had never seen before!
There is an excellent chance that we will all probably have some sort of currency issues when the social distancing rules are lifted. Fortunately, this alternate means of compliance actually makes it easier for many of us to remain night current (sorry 135 guys and girls, this one is for 91 only).
So there are some basic requirements that must be met for a pilot to qualify for the alternate compliance. As per FAR 61.57(e)(4), the pilot must hold at least a commercial certificate with at least 1500 hours of flight time. This is strictly for Part 91 PIC assignments and the aircraft must be type certificated for more than one crewmember. Oh, and the pilot must have the appropriate type rating for each airplane that requires more than one crew member, but that goes without saying.
So if you meet all of the above requirements, then you are good to move on to the next round. To further qualify, you must have 3 DAY takeoffs and landings in the past 90 days IN TYPE and also, 15 hours of flight time in the past 90 days IN TYPE. Still with me? You get to move on again….
The final qualification is an either/or requirement. Either the pilot must have made 3 NIGHT takeoffs and landings (beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise) in ANY multi crew turbine airplane in the preceding 6 months (not 90 days)
Within the preceding 12 months, the pilot must have completed a Part 142 training program that included 6 NIGHT takeoffs/landings to a full stop in ANY multi-crew turbine airplane OR simulator.
If you can say yes to all of the above, then congratulations! You are officially night current! So the big changes that I see are the “ANY turbine multi crew aircraft”, instead of each specific type and the “6 month requirement” instead of 90 days.
Night pilot currency requirements are hard enough to maintain without a pandemic grounding all of our flights! Maybe this alternate means of currency will help some of us when the green light is given to return to flying.