Michael writes asking:
How do you log the private pilot practical test, Do I log it as PIC? Dual? I don’t feel as if I am the PIC because I was not yet qualified, and its not really dual because there was no instruction.
Actually, according to § 61.47 you can log your private pilot practical test as PIC.
§ 61.47 Status of an examiner who is authorized by the Administrator to conduct practical tests.
(a) An examiner represents the Administrator for the purpose of conducting practical tests for certificates and ratings issued under this part and to observe an applicant’s ability to perform the areas of operation on the practical test.
(b) The examiner is not the pilot in command of the aircraft during the practical test unless the examiner agrees to act in that capacity for the flight or for a portion of the flight by prior arrangement with:
(1) The applicant; or
(2) A person who would otherwise act as pilot in command of the flight or for a portion of the flight.
(c) Notwithstanding the type of aircraft used during the practical test, the applicant and the examiner (and any other occupants authorized to be on board by the examiner) are not subject to the requirements or limitations for the carriage of passengers that are specified in this chapter.
You see, the designated pilot examiner on a PP checkride is, for logbook purposes, kind of a non-entity. He isn’t a “passenger”, he isn’t a flight instructor and he isn’t the PIC (unless previously agreed to for insurance purposes etc.). He is an observer designated by the FAA for pilot applicant examinations. So yes, you can log your practical test as PIC.
On a related note, are you aware that student pilots are now allowed to log their solo flight time as pilot-in-command as well? Previously 61.51 did not allow student pilots to log their solo time as PIC. Student pilots could only as count this as “solo” flight time but as of 10/20/2009, FAR §61.51 now allows student pilots to log their solo time as PIC. Remember, “solo” means sole occupant of the aircraft. (Read the latest version of § 61.51)