Recurrent Training: All the Details A student Needs to Know


Piloting is more than a “learn and forget” skill. Skills that aren’t practiced and knowledge that isn’t accessed and renewed are lost. Pilots whose knowledge and skill levels are at their peak on the day they pass the check ride are destined to be dangerous.

Pilots must continue to learn, practice, and improve their skills to ensure safety for passengers and themselves. How do they ensure that this happens? Enter recurrent training. Recurrent pilot training is an important component of keeping student skills and knowledge current.

What is Recurrent Training?

Pilots need to complete recurrent training regularly. Recurrent training can be done every few months, while others are conducted on an annual, biannual, or biennial basis. Training can be done in person or online. Recurrent training can include a written proficiency assessment and a practical proficiency evaluation.

Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) regulate and address the types, frequency, and quantity of required recurrent training required for pilots and crew members.

Recurrent training is necessary for what?

The FAA defines Recurrent pilot training as “ensuring that each crewmember is adequately trained for the type of aircraft and crew member position involved” and is especially important for pilots.

Pilots may have received the required training and showed proficiency when they obtained their certificate. However, if there was no recurrent training program, these same pilots might inadvertently lose certain skills and become rusty. There are certain skills that every pilot needs, such as ATC communications. These skills can be used on all flights, but not all. They also need skills like night flying illusion recognition and compensation.

Recurrent training is the solution. Recurrent flight training is a safe and structured way to learn potentially lifesaving skills that aren’t practiced on routine flights. Pilots who have completed this training are better prepared to deal with any situation.

Recurrent training also serves as an official way to learn new procedures, policies, skills, equipment, or technology that have been made available since the pilot was issued their certificate. While the basic principles of aviation remain the same, recurrent training allows airlines and the FAA to disseminate knowledge and teach constantly evolving and fluid skills.

What are FAA requirements for recurrent training?

Based on the certificate level of the pilot and the Part they are flying under, there is a range in how much and what type of training they must complete. Part 91 private pilots’ recurrent training will look different from a Part 121 pilot flying airline transport (ATP) or a Part 107 drone pilot.


The CFRs provide details and an itemized list of official recurrent training requirements for each type of flight operation a Recurrent pilot training might be involved in. Here’s what a student can expect:

Open up old textbooks to refresh a student’s knowledge on less-used but still important topics such as severe weather flying, mountain, canyon, backcountry flying, and even mental math for pilots. A student can also flip through the latest FAR/AIMs and review a guide on radio communications while a student at it. A student might also want to try Train Like A student Fly: Guide for Scenario-Based Training. These will keep a student’s mind active and knowledge up-to-date.