Making the transition to a more complex aircraft

Pilot Martin Griggs recently posted a great question on the Ask a Flight Instructor site about making the transition to a more complex aircraft or a multi-engine aircraft:

How many hours should I have before I transition to a TAA aircraft and or a multi engine aircraft. And then to a Meridian / King Air? I am a 100 hour pilot working on my instrument rating and deciding between a future purchase of a Meridian or King air and my current instructor is just an old ASEL INST CFI.

Gary Moore responded by pointing out that its about proficiency, ability and attitude rather that the number of hours. However, he also added that a “Meridian and/or King Air is a far cry” from where Marin is currently but he could begin the move whenever he wanted to.

On the other hand, Matthew Waugh pointed out that it matters little what other pilots think as what really matters is what the insurance company thinks! Nevertheless, he added that Martin does not need a large number of hours to fly those aircraft – just professional simulator training.

Finally, Jim Foley noted the definitions of TAA and complex aircraft with the later being aircraft having “retractable landing gear, controllable pitch propeller(s) and adjustable flaps” while the former are equipped with at least a “moving map display, IFR approved GPS navigator and autopilot.” Jim also commented that he got his complex endorsement after less than 2 hours in a 172RG and he added that while flying a TAA does not require an endorsement, its nevertheless a good idea to be very familiar with the systems as statistics indicate higher accident rates with TAAs for pilots who lack proper training. 

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