Subject: PILOT PROFICIENCY AWARD PROGRAM
AC No: 61-91H
Initiated by: AFS-810
1. PURPOSE. This advisory circular (AC) describes the Federal Aviation
Administration's (FAA) Pilot Proficiency Award Program and outlines the eligibility
requirements for pilots to qualify for Phase I through Phase XX Pilot Proficiency
2. OBJECTIVE. Regular proficiency training is essential to the safety of all
pilots and their passengers. The objective of the Pilot Proficiency Award Program
is to provide pilots with the opportunity to establish and participate in a personal
recurrent training program. Aviation safety is a cooperative effort of all members
of the aviation community. The FAA encourages each pilot to establish a regular
recurrent training program and invites pilots to participate in the Pilot
Proficiency Award Program.
3. CANCELLATION. AC 61-91G, Pilot Proficiency Award Program, dated 8/4/94, is
4. WHO MAY PARTICIPATE. All pilots holding a recreational pilot certificate or
higher and a current medical certificate, when required, may participate. In
addition, uncertificated pilots of qualified ultralight vehicles under Title 14 of
the Federal Code of Regulations (14 CFR) part 103 may participate. Requests to
participate in the program should be made to a certificated flight instructor, an
appointed Aviation Safety Counselor (ASC), or the Safety Program Manager (SPM) in
the local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
5. INCENTIVE AWARDS - PILOT WINGS AND CERTIFICATE. The Pilot Proficiency Award
Program is now a 20-phase program. Upon completion of each of the first 10 phases,
pilots become eligible to wear and are presented with a distinctive lapel or tie pin
(wings) and a certificate of completion. Phase I wings are plain bronze tone.
Phase II wings are silver tone with a star added. Phase III wings are gold tone
with a star and wreath. Phase IV wings are gold tone and have a simulated ruby
mounted in the shield. Phase V wings are gold tone with a rhinestone mounted in the
shield. Phase VI wings are gold tone with a simulated sapphire mounted in the
shield. Phases VII, VIII, and IX wings are gold tone with the appropriate Roman
numeral displayed within the wreath. Phase X wings are bright gold tone with the
Roman numeral X and shield located within a ring of 10 stars. No complimentary
wings will be issued. Pilots, regardless of certificate type, ratings, or position,
must earn the privilege of wearing the pilot proficiency wings. A pin and
certificate will be awarded for Phases I through X. A certificate only will be
awarded for Phases XI through XX.
NOTE: Seaplane-rated pilots who specify "seawings" on their proficiency
record/wings application form and complete the requirements listed below for
seaplanes and amphibians will receive a distinctive seawings pin.
6. PARTICIPATION IN THE PILOT PROFICIENCY AWARD PROGRAM IN LIEU OF A FLIGHT
REVIEW. A pilot need not accomplish the flight review requirements of 14 CFR part
61, _ 61.56 if, since the beginning of the 24th calendar month before the month in
which that pilot acts as pilot in command, he or she has satisfactorily completed
one or more phases of an FAA-sponsored Pilot Proficiency Award Program in an
aircraft (reference 61.56(f)).
7. TRAINING REQUIREMENTS PHASES I THROUGH XX. Minimum requirements, which include
specific subjects and flight maneuvers, have been established for airplanes,
seaplanes and amphibians, rotorcraft, gliders, lighter-than-air aircraft, and
ultralights. The required training profiles represent those phases of operation
that have been identified by accident reports as phases most likely to produce
accidents. These training profiles are established for each category of aircraft.
Pilots may select the category and class of aircraft or ultralight in which they
wish to receive their flight training. All training must place special emphasis on
safety of flight operations. All training requirements for each phase of the
program must be completed within 12 months. After completing a phase of the
program, pilots may begin working on the requirements of the succeeding phase at any
time; however, 12 months must pass between the date of completion of a phase and
application for the award for the next phase.
(1) One hour of flight training to include basic airplane control, stalls, turns,
and other maneuvers directed toward mastery of the airplane.
(2) One hour of flight training to include approaches, takeoffs, and landings,
including crosswind, soft field, and short field techniques.
(3) One hour of instrument training in an airplane, FAA-approved aircraft
simulator, or training device.
b. Seaplanes and Amphibians.
(1) One hour of flight training in a seaplane or amphibian to include a
demonstration by the applicant of a complete seaplane or amphibian passenger safety
briefing, a weight and balance computation and interpretation for the actual flight,
a review and evaluation of the current and forecast weather, and on-the-water
training in docking, beaching and anchoring, and maneuvering in confined areas.
(2) One hour of flight training in a seaplane or amphibian to include landing area
assessment, safe approaches and departures, takeoffs, and landings, including
crosswind, rough water, and glassy water techniques. (Conditions may be simulated.)
(3) One hour of flight training in a seaplane or amphibian to include power-on and
power-off stalls in various configurations with minimum altitude loss, power-off
emergency landings, step taxi, step turns, rapid decelerations from the step, and
emergency procedures. In addition to the 1 hour of flight time ( not included in
the 1 hour), there must be a discussion of stall avoidance and prevention
NOTE: If the applicant is not qualified and current in accordance with 61.57
for instrument flight, 1 additional hour of basic instrument training with emphasis
on partial panel approaches, inadvertent penetration into instrument meteorological
conditions (180 turn), descent into visual meteorological conditions, and safe
operations shall be accomplished in an airplane, seaplane, FAA-approved aircraft
simulator, or training device for each odd-numbered award phase (Phase I, III, V,
(1) One hour of ground training to include use of the rotorcraft flight manual to
determine operating limitations, weight and balance computations, performance data,
aircraft servicing, use of optional equipment, and standard emergency procedures.
(2) One hour of flight training to include airport and traffic pattern operations,
including departures from a hover (helicopter only), normal and crosswind approaches
and landings, maximum performance takeoffs, and steep approaches.
(3) One hour of flight training to include systems orientation, autorotative
descents, power failure at a hover, settling-with-power, pinnacle/rooftop takeoffs
and landings, and navigation procedures.
(1) One hour of ground training to include preflight operations, including
installation of wings and tail surfaces, on-line inspection, use of glider operating
limitations, weight and balance computations, performance data, and standard
(2) One hour or three flights to include launch procedures, proper position during
tow, emergency procedures such as a slack line or tow rope failure, and tow release
(3) One hour or three flights to include thermalling procedures, flight in close
proximity to other aircraft, maneuvers at various performance speeds, demonstration
of best lift over drag (L/D) and minimum sink, and precision approaches and
(1) One hour of ground training to include fuel management, refueling, proper
inflation procedures, review of the flight manual, and proper weather check.
(2) One hour of flight training to include approaches, touch-and-go, level flight,
rapid descent and level out, and simulated landing in a congested area.
(3) One hour of flight training to include relighting the pilot light, simulated
high wind/short field landings, and other simulated emergency situations.
f. Ultralights. Pilot Proficiency Award Program training given in powered
ultralight vehicles by United States Ultralight Association, Inc. (USUA)-approved
flight instructors or other approved powered ultralight flight instructors will be
(1) One hour of ground training on preflight operations to include operating
limitations, weight and balance computations, performance data, vehicle servicing,
use of optional equipment, and standard emergency equipment.
(2) One hour of basic vehicle control, turns and other maneuvers directed towards
mastery of the vehicle.
(3) One hour of flight training to include airport and traffic pattern operations,
including departures, normal and crosswind approaches and landings, maximum
performance takeoffs, and steep approaches.
g. Mountain Flying Course. Applicants who successfully complete an FAA-sponsored
or FAA-sanctioned mountain flying course, including ground and flight training, may
substitute this course for the safety meeting required by subparagraph h when
completing all other mountain flying requirements.
(1) One hour of flight training to include basic airplane control, stalls, and
other maneuvers with emphasis on the use and difference of performing these
maneuvers in mountainous terrain and under high density altitude conditions.
(2) One hour of flight training to include approaches, takeoffs, and landings at
or simulating mountain airports with high density altitudes.
(3) One hour of ground training to include effects of high density altitude,
mountain terrain, and mountain weather conditions.
h. Safety Meetings.
(1) All applicants must attend at least one FAA-sponsored or FAA-sanctioned
aviation safety seminar or industry-conducted recurrent training program.
(2) Attendance at an Aviation Safety Program aviation safety seminar must be
verified in the pilot's logbook or other proficiency record. This verification must
be signed by an FAA SPM, other FAA inspector, or an ASC involved in conducting the
(3) Attendance at a physiological training course conducted under the FAA/U.S. Air
Force or U.S. Navy training agreements at various military installations in the
AC Form 3150-7, Physiological Training Application/Agreement, to participate in
physiological training. The form may be obtained from the SPM in the local FSDO or
by a letter of request to:
Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center
Airman Education Programs, AAM-400
Pilots who do not wish to participate in physiological training need not complete
the form. Pilots completing a physiological training course will receive FAA Form
3150-1, Physiological Training. A completed FAA Form 3150-1 must be submitted to
the SPM for verification of course completion.
i. Training Substitution. Completion of a training program or a flight instructor
refresher clinic conducted by various organizations such as flight schools, air
carriers, or other training facilities may be substituted for the requirements of
the Pilot Proficiency Award Program, if the minimums outlined in paragraphs 7a, b,
c, d, e, f, and g are met.
j. Aircraft Accidents and Enforcement Actions. Involvement in an aircraft or
ultralight vehicle accident and/or a pending or completed enforcement action will
not preclude participation in the Pilot Proficiency Award Program. However, a pilot
who has been involved in an accident or enforcement action should request that the
flight instructor place special emphasis on the causal factors of the accident or
enforcement action during pilot proficiency training. The instructor should focus
the training on educating the pilot in ways to preclude future accidents or
8. PILOT PROFICIENCY AWARDS EARNED BY FLIGHT INSTRUCTORS.
a. Phase I Through III Requirements. A certificated flight instructor,
USUA-approved flight instructor, or other approved powered ultralight flight
instructor may earn Phases I through III wings by providing the required instruction
for completion of a phase of the Pilot Proficiency Award Program to three pilots (a
minimum of 9 hours of instruction). To qualify for a Phase I wings award, an
instructor must document the completion of the training he or she has given to at
least three pilots and attend or participate in an aviation safety seminar or
clinic. The instruction given must be in accordance with paragraphs 7a, b, c, or d,
e, f, or g, as appropriate. The completion of the required instruction for three
additional pilots and attendance or participation in an additional safety seminar or
clinic is required to earn a Phase II award. An instructor may repeat the
requirements stipulated for a Phase II award to earn a Phase III award.
b. Phase IV Through XX Requirements. Twelve months after the date of meeting the
requirements for the Phase III award, a certificated flight instructor,
USUA-approved flight instructor, or other approved powered ultralight flight
instructor may apply for the Phase IV award. Phases IV through XX award wings
and/or certificate may be earned by the successful completion of an evaluation or
proficiency flight with a designated flight instructor examiner or an FAA operations
inspector and by attending or participating in an aviation safety seminar or clinic.
USUA-approved or other approved powered ultralight vehicle flight instructors may
receive their evaluations or proficiency flights with a USUA-approved advanced
flight instructor. Twelve months must pass between the date of completion of each
phase and application for the award for the next phase.
c. Safety Meetings. Flight instructors and powered ultralight vehicle flight
instructors must also attend or participate in at least one FAA-sponsored or
FAA-sanctioned aviation safety seminar, attend an FAA-approved Flight Instructor
Refresher Clinic, or complete a physiological training course as specified in
paragraph 7h(3) to meet the requirements for each phase of the awards. Attendance
must also be verified in the flight instructor's logbook or other proficiency
record. This verification must be signed by an SPM, other FAA inspector, or any APC
involved in conducting the above programs.
9. AWARDING OF THE PILOT PROFICIENCY WINGS AND CERTIFICATE.
a. Endorsement Verification. As pilots complete each step of training outlined in
paragraphs 7 or 8, whichever is appropriate, their logbooks or other proficiency
records must be endorsed by the persons who gave the instruction. That endorsement
should read substantively as follows:
Mr./Ms. XXXXXXX , holder of pilot
certificate no. XXXX , has satisfactorily
completed the training requirements outlined
in Advisory Circular 61-91H, paragraphs 7a,
b, c, d, e, f, or g (state which)
/s/ (date) M. Smith, 385652472CFI or
/s/ (date) M. Smith, USUA Ultralight Instructor
(or other approved instructor)123454
Note: In the case of ultralights, no certificate number is required.
b. Award of Pilot Proficiency Wings and Certificate. The Pilot Proficiency Award
certificate and the appropriate wings will be awarded after the pilot's logbook or
other proficiency record (such as a properly documented "wings card") is presented
to the Safety Program Manager (SPM) for verification of completion of training as
stipulated in this Advisory Circular.
William J. White
Deputy Director, Flight Standards Service