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3 Answers

How to log time building when you share the plane with another student.

Asked by: 1752 views Commercial Pilot, FAA Regulations

I'm starting my commercial cert soon, and I want to start time building, but am not totally clear on the rules.  To split the costs, I know students who fly together, with one flying from A-B, then another flying back from B-A.  If the whole flight from A-B and B-A takes 2 hours, the kids are both logging the full 2 hours.  I know according to the FARs, the person flying the airplane has to be under the hood for them both to log PIC, but these guys aren't flying under a hood, and are both still logging all the PIC.  They claim this is what the school advised them to do, and it's legal when you're both going for a new certification.... is there anywhere in the FARs, any ACs, or any precedent at all that would make this legal?  I hate flying under the hood (I like the scenery..), but don't want to run into problems in the future.

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3 Answers

  1. Aaron on Aug 14, 2013

    tell your flight school to take a look at FAR 61.51 and reconsider training there. one pilot must be under the hood for the flight that is being completed. This makes the other pilot a required crewmember under the operation being performed acting as a safety pilot. This way, they both can log PIC time.

    …of course, it is likely that no one will find out if that hood slips off for a bit… but I’m certainly NOT condoning that, and your school is wrong to suggest it’s legal. I’m simply suggesting that this is how your flight school could dismiss the regs with a sort of wink and a nod.

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  2. Wes Beard on Aug 14, 2013

    Aaron is right on. If the flight school is aware this is happening and not correcting their students then it is time to find a new flight school. If they can’t be honest with this… what other things are they hiding? If it is bad enough, it may make the FAA reconsider all the training that was accomplished as invalid and make all their students get the training again. Obviously, this will cost you thousands of dollars.

    I have issues with these scenarios anyways. Only the pilot who is manipulating the controls can log PIC time. If the pilot flying is under the hood, the second pilot is now required and can log that flight time as well.

    Depending on how the safety pilot logs the flight time is pretty telling. If the safety pilot logs PIC time they are stating that they were the acting pilot in command during that flight. If they log SIC time, they are stating the pilot flying was acting as pilot in command during the flight.

    If an accident or incident happens later on with these pilots and the FAA investigates they will ask the pilots who was the legal pilot in command. If there is any question, the FAA will review the logbooks and determine who was the acting pilot in command based on previous flights where the safety pilot logged PIC or SIC.

    To recap, if the safety pilot logs PIC time they are taking responsibility for airspace incursions and any other violation that the pilot flying makes during that flight. I don’t think it is worth it.

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  3. Mark Kolber on Aug 15, 2013

    I’m finding it difficult to imagine that a flight school is advising students to violate FAR 61.59 by making intentionally false logbook entries (fyi, the usual penalty for this is that you get to start all over with a student pilot certificate 6 months after the FAA revokes all the existing ones).

    John, are you sure you’re not misunderstanding something they said?

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