No person may act as pilot in command under IFR or in less than basic VFR weather minimums unless that person has performed and logged under actual or simulated conditions and within the preceding 6 calendar months: at least 6 approaches made in an aircraft, flight simulator, or flight training device; holding procedures; and intercepting and tracking of courses through the use of navigation systems.

A safety pilot may be utilized to assist the instrument pilot in obtaining simulated instrument experience. If a safety pilot is used, that safety pilot must occupy the other control seat whenever the PIC is operating the aircraft by sole reference to the instruments. The safety pilot must be appropriately rated in the aircraft used but need not possess an instrument rating.

If this recency requirement is not met, the pilot may not act as pilot in command under IFR until an instrument proficiency check, or IPC, is successfully completed in the category of an aircraft to be flown. An IPC can be given by an FAA examiner, FAA inspector, or any instrument flight instructor.

Pilots may log simulated or actual instrument flight time during the period in which the aircraft was flown by sole reference to the instruments. Each pilot logbook entry must include the place and type of each instrument approach. If a safety pilot is used, the name of the safety pilot must be included in the pilot logbook.

An instrument instructor may log instrument time whenever instruction is given in actual instrument conditions.