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8 Answers

Would be legal to let a passenger make a couple of turns?

Asked by: 1745 views ,
FAA Regulations

i see a lot of advertisings for "Adventure flights" in small singles during which the passanger in the front seat is allowed to fly the plane, is it legal? i mean, if a person doesn't hold a student certificate (not medical) supposely can't touch the controls. Am i right?

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8 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Feb 20, 2013

    A student pilot certificate is required to solo, for various endorsements, but is not a requirement to receive dual instruction. It is sometimes a good idea to obtain a student pilot certificate before you start training, but it certainly isn’t a requirement.

    For that matter, a private pilot may permit a non pilot to manipulate the controls while in flight, but must remain in overall control of the situation as they are still acting as the pilot in command and fully responsible for the safety of the flight. The difference is that neither the pilot nor non pilot may log the time.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Feb 20, 2013

    There are rules about who may =act as pilot in command=. For a student pilot that includes an endorsed student pilot certificate and logbook before solo flight is permitted.

    There are rules about who may =act as a second-in-command =in operations that require one.

    There are rules in Part 135 and 121 prohibiting commercial carriers from permitting a non-qualified pilot to even touching the controls.

    Aside from those few, there is no rule about whom a pilot in command may allow to fly the airplane. So long as the “real” pilot is in charge of the flight, he can let a 2-year old do the touching and flying.

    On the secondary loggin issue John brought up, I’ll agree there is no basis for the non-pilot to log anything (unless the pilot is also a CFI giving instruction). On whether the PIC may log that flight, I’ll leave to another discussion.

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  3. John D. Collins on Feb 20, 2013


    Read the following FAA General Counsel opinion as it deals with the issues of acting as PIC and logging.time when the acting PIC is not the sole manipulator of the controls.


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  4. Mark Kolber on Feb 20, 2013

    I’m familiar with the opinion: Assuming a single-pilot operation, when there are two certificated pilots on board rated in category and class, the sole manipulator is the only one who may log PIC time, regardless of which one is acting as PIC.

    I don’t agree the analysis necessarily applies to a situation in which the result is =no one= would be able to count the time. That scenario is discussed in my FAQ.

    Yes, I will agree you would have a hard time justifying the logging bu the PIC flying with a 2 year old using the words of the reg. That’s also true of other logging situations, such as allowing a checkride applicants to log PIC – not one word in 61.51 authorizes it.

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  5. Kyler on Feb 20, 2013

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe the pilot can still log Total Time even if he/she is not manipulating the controls. I understand you can log total time as long as you have a pilot certificate and are in the front seat or have access to some controls.

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  6. Mark Kolber on Feb 21, 2013

    I don’t have it handy, but there was a Chief Counsel opinion some years back that indicated that “other flying time” was no longer a proper category for counting flight time. In essence, if there is nothing that fits into some 61.51 category, there is no flight time that is countable.

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  7. Kris Kortokrax on Feb 21, 2013

    I would say that it depends upon what is meant by “Adventure flight”.

    The fact that you said the “Adventure flights” are advertised would of necessity exclude flights where a pilot might take his family or friends for a flight and allow them to manipulate the controls.

    If “Adventure flight” means a demo flight lesson, then no problem with the passenger in front manipulating the controls.

    If “Adventure flight” means a sightseeing ride conducted under 91.147, I would say that the passenger in front may not manipulate the controls. In this case, the pilot must be drug tested and hold a Commercial certificate with a Second class medical. The people on board might be an unrelated group of people. The people in the back have a reasonable expectation that the person manipulating the controls is a qualified pilot. I suspect that the FAA would not allow this.

    121 and 135 have already been addressed.

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  8. JB on Feb 22, 2013

    I know the question was “legally”…but practically speaking, it’s done all the time in all kinds of aircraft…props, turboprops, and even jets 🙂

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