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Pilot in command qualifications

High Performance Aircraft

With the changes to Part 61 in August 1997, the FAA changed the definition of high performance and added a separate endorsement for complex aircraft. The definition of high performance is now "an airplane with an engine of more than 200 horsepower."

A one-time logbook endorsement from an authorized flight instructor is required to fly any aircraft that meets the definition of a high performance or complex aircraft per 14 CFR 61.31 (e)(f).

Complex Aircraft

A complex airplane is defined by 14 CFR 61.31(e) as an airplane that has the following:

  • Retractable landing gear
  • Flaps
  • Controllable pitch propeller

Prior to August 1997, a separate requirement to operate as pilot in command in a "complex" airplane didn't exist under part 61 and was considered to be part of the high-performance criteria. Today, a separate endorsement is required for each operating privilege.

Aircraft insurance requries special approval.