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Pilot in Command on a BFR

Posted by on June 19, 2010 3 Comments Category : Flight Instructor Blog Tags : , ,

Jim, a CFI, wrote in asking:

Who is pilot in command during a BFR? The CFI or the pilot who is taking the review? Here’s why I ask: many private pilots are in the habit of letting their BFR lapse before coming to me for a BFR. My attitude has been that if you let your BFR lapse, then I am PIC; and as such, I assume full responsibility for the flight.

Absolutely Jim, if you are giving a BFR to a pilot who has let their BFR lapse you are the legal PIC for the flight.  According to § 61.56 (c)(1) & (2): “…no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft” unless that person has accomplished a flight review within the preceding 24 moths and received the appropriate logbook endorsement from an authorized instructor who gave the review.   So yes, that pilot may not act as pilot in command during the flight review.  Only after having received the flight review and the appropriate endorsement in their logbook may that pilot act again as PIC.   Now, that person could still log the time as PIC under “the sole manipulator of the controls” provision, but as the CFI, you are the legal and acting PIC during the entire flight review.



  1. Danny D. Creech on Nov 16, 2010

    I agree with Paul. He is correct on both points.

    I would like to add something near this same topic that you may already know Jim.

    If you go flying with two of your friends, let’s say one is a private pilot and the other is a commercial pilot and you are sitting in the back seat. If something happens, you as the CFI (highest certificate holder in the aircraft) can be held responsible.

    That is one of those FARs I understand why it is there but don’t really like. I guess because I am a ATP with a Gold Seal and Master CFI. Heck if I am in the back seat and don’t even have access to the controls, I should be responsible. I would hope the FAA would use discursion with that FAR if I am asleep in the back seat when a friend of mine lands the plane and ground loops it or something.

    Anyway, just wanted to throw that in to the mix.


  2. Jay on Jul 22, 2011


    i guess that’s the reason why here in Germany it’s a “unwritten rule”, that on private flights the highest certificated (non-flying) pilot is sittiing on the right front seat, not a passenger.
    In case of emergency he can take the control oft the plane, but it could be difficult from the back seat-position. 😉

    It doesn’t matter whether in a piston single engine powered aircraft or twin-prop or jet.
    A normal passenger can look around from any seat, but he can’t do anything to operate an aircraft in case of “loss of pilot”. So a high trained pilot is the better choice for the second front seat. 😉

  3. Chris on Apr 23, 2013

    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 a leg and log PIC time.

    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.

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