Published date: 16 April 2021

As part of the latest amendment to the Part 61 rules (Pilot Licences and Ratings) which took effect on 5 April 2021, an editorial change was made to standardise the way periods of time were referred to. For example, the term “three months” was to be replaced with “90 days”.

Unfortunately, an error was made as these changes were drafted, which resulted in three Part 61 rules having the term “3 months” replaced with “60 days”.

This error affected the following rules:

  • 61.17 – Written examinations – prerequisites and grades
  • 61.801 – Instrument Ratings | Eligibility requirements
  • 61.807(2) and 61.807(4) - Instrument Ratings | Currency requirements

The main effect of this error was the reduction of the time period for maintaining IFR currency from 3 months to 60 days.

This was a mistake – the intention was to change the rules so that “3 months” was replaced with “90 days”, meaning there was no material change to the currency timeframes.

We recommend participants follow previous “3 month” requirements

We apologise for the confusion and inconvenience this error has caused, and would like to thank the participants who have raised this issue with us and engaged with us on the matter.

We are planning to correct this error later this year in an upcoming rules amendment. In the meantime, we recommend participants follow these rules as they stood as of 4 April 2021.

For clarity, as of 4 April 2021, the relevant rules were as follows:

61.17(e) A person who fails a written examination 3 times within a period of 3 months may not sit another examination in that subject for a period of 3 months following the date of the last failed examination.

61.801(c) A person who holds a New Zealand Defence Force instrument rating and has passed a New Zealand Defence Force instrument flight assessment in the 3 months before applying for an instrument rating meets the eligibility requirements of paragraphs (a)(2) to (a)(6).


(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b), the holder of an instrument rating must not exercise the privileges of the rating unless the holder has,—

(1) within the immediately preceding 12 months,—

(i) successfully demonstrated to a flight examiner competency in accordance with rule 61.801(a)(6) for the appropriate category of aircraft; and

(ii) the person who conducts the competency demonstration certifies the successful completion of the check in the pilot’s logbook in accordance with rule 61.29; and

(2) within the immediately preceding 3 months,—

(i) either met the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) or completed at least 3 hours instrument time (which must have included at least 1 hour instrument flight time); and

(ii) carried out at least 3 published instrument approach procedures (1 of which may be performed in an approved synthetic flight trainer); and

(3) if acting as a pilot of a non-centreline-thrust multi-engine aircraft under IFR, demonstrated the competency required in paragraph (a)(1) in a non-centreline-thrust multi-engine aircraft; and

(4) if carrying out an instrument approach procedure under IFR, within the immediately preceding 3 months, performed in flight or in an approved synthetic flight trainer a published instrument approach procedure using a similar type of navigation system; or

(5) if conducting an IFR operation under the authority of an air operator certificate issued under the Act and Part 119, satisfied the IFR competency requirements in Part 121, 125 or 135 as appropriate; and Civil Aviation Rules Part 61 CAA Consolidation 5 April 2021 91 CAA of NZ

(6) holds a current class 1 or class 2 medical certificate issued under the Act.

(b) The holder of an instrument rating who does not comply with paragraph (a)(2) may act as support pilot of an aircraft on an IFR flight if the aircraft is not performing an air operation.

(c) A pilot who successfully completes the demonstration required by paragraph (a)(1) within 60 days before the date on which it is required is deemed to have completed the demonstration on the required date.