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4 Answers

Logging PIC Time / Acting as PIC

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FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, General Aviation, Private Pilot

Need help clarifying:
Let's pretend a man named Joe has let his BFR lapse in 2005. He has a friend named Lisa who is a pilot and current on all fronts. Joe asks Lisa to go on a XC flight for a $100 hamburger. He is excited to fly again, will split the costs of the rental, and wants to fly the first leg and log the relevant PIC time. Assume the flight is 50nm and takes 30 mins each direction.

Is Joe allowed to fly a leg and log PIC time even though he allowed his BFR to lapse in 2005? How much time can Joe log as PIC? How much time can Lisa log as PIC?

Thanks for your help clarifying.

4 Answers



  1. Wes Beard on Apr 23, 2013

    Logging PIC time is completely different than acting as pilot in command. Notice that I spell out the words for acting pilot in command while use the acronym for logging PIC time.

    anything on the first leg, Joe can log PIC time and Lisa is required to act as pilot in command. Joe will log 0.5 hrs PIC, XC and total time. Lisa will not log anything at all.

    On the second leg, Lisa can log PIC time and she is required to act as pilot on command. Lisa will log 0.5 hrs PIC, XC and total time. Joe will not log anything.

    If Lisa is an instructor and she signed the logbook of Joe on the first leg then she can log the PIC, XC and total time for the first leg because she is an instructor.

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  2. Jonathan Seitz on Apr 23, 2013

    If Lisa is NOT a CFI, then she is a passenger if she is not the pilot flying. If she is a passenget then Joe is violating the FARs by not having a BFR and passenger landings currency. Joe can’t manipulate teh controls because he is not legally current to do so. If Lisa is a CFI, they could both log PIC time as they are both appropriately rated for the aircraft, but Lisa would be acting as pilot in command because Joe is not allowed to.

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  3. Chris on Apr 23, 2013

    Jonathan – thank you for specifying and you make the correct assumption that in this example Lisa is not a CFI.
    So for this flight, since Lisa is not a CFI, she is the only pilot that can can legally act as the PIC and log PIC time, right?

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  4. Best Answer


    Mark Kolber on Apr 23, 2013

    Jonathan, you are incorrect. Flying the airplane is not required for one to act as PIC; being responsible for the flight is. And one does not have to be an instructor to permit someone else to fly the airplane. Pilots let their friends and family manipulate the controls all the time. Not one word in the regs prohibits it; it it did, EAA pilots who do Young Eagles flights would be violating the rules constantly.

    If Lisa agrees to act as PIC – to be “the person who:
    “(1) Has final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the flight;
    “(2) Has been designated as pilot in command before or during the flight; and
    “(3) Holds the appropriate category, class, and type rating, if appropriate, for the conduct of the flight.”
    she is not a passenger. If anyone is a passenger, Joe is. And like any other passenger, even a child, he is entitled to fly the airplane if Lisa, who is in command, allows him to.

    On the logging itself, Wes is absolutely right. Joe may log PIC time for the time he is the sole manipulator of the controls. To repeat what has been said in a number of threads, his currency is irrelevant. Lisa may also log the time she is the sole manipulator of the controls.

    Neither may log the time the other one is flying. That’s the one that tends to sound strange since Lisa is =acting= PIC for the whole flight. But there is nothing in the Universal Rule of Logging Flight Time (61.51) that permits one to =log= PIC merely by =acting= as PIC. For contrast, look at 61.51(e)(1)(iii) which allows a non-flying PIC to log PIC time, but only when =acting= as PIC on a flight that requires a multi-pilot crew.

    In another thread, we recently looked at an FAA Chief Counsel opinion that allows a non-instrument rated pilot to log PIC time under IFR, so long as there is a qualified PIC on board who permits it. http://tinyurl.com/7zjy9jd But there’s another aspect to that same FAA formal interpretation: that the qualified PIC is not entitled to log PIC time while the non-instrument-rated pilot is doing the flying.

    Except for the instrument rating, it’s the same situation that’s being discussed here.

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