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Yet another PIC question

Asked by: 3154 views ,
Flight Instructor

Scenario.  Civil Air Patrol mission. Left seat, current in all respect Private Pilot.  Mission Commander Right seat (me), CFI-I, current BFR, Medical, out of 90 day VFR currency. 5 hour mission, he flew 2.5, I flew 2.5 What can I log PIC?  I assume 2.5 because I was not acting as a CFI to get the whole 5.0.  I also assumed I could log the PIC even though I was out of currency, but he was a rated and current pilot, therefore not a passenger.  I did the landing, which I assumed was legal because he was, again, current and legal for the flight.  The FSDO seemed to agree with me on the landing, although I forgot to ask about the logging of PIC time.  In fact, I called the FSDO to see if I could do the three landings in the left seat, with the aircraft owner and pilot in the right.  They said it was fine since he was a rated and current pilot.  Thoughts

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1 Answers



  1. Kent Shook on Oct 28, 2010

    The key to most of these PIC questions is to realize that acting PIC and logging PIC are completely different animals.

    To act as PIC, you need medical, BFR, landing currency (if carrying pax), etc…

    To log PIC, you need to simply satisfy the requirements in 61.51(e). Period.

    Another way to drive this home is that there are situations where anywhere from zero to three pilots can *log* PIC – But there is *always* one and only one acting PIC. (And to clarify this further, the “acting” PIC is THE Pilot In Command – I know that the word “acting” has the potential to confuse the issue.)

    In your case, since you were out of currency, you were clearly not acting as PIC. The left seat Private Pilot was the only one qualified to be the PIC.

    In this case also, your current BFR and medical are irrelevant – The answer wouldn’t change even if you did not have a current BFR or medical.

    Now – The answer. Since you flew 2.5 hours, you can log that 2.5 hours, and you can log it as PIC, including the landings. The relevant reg is 61.51(e)(1)(i):

    “(e) Logging pilot-in-command flight time. (1) A sport, recreational, private, commercial, or airline transport pilot may log pilot in command flight time for flights-

    (i) When the pilot is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated,”

    Also note the “or” at the end of (iii), which means that only one of the pieces (i) through (iv) needs to be true to be able to log PIC time. Since you are rated (Category and Class – Airplane Single Engine Land), and you were sole manipulator of the controls for 2.5 hours, you can log the 2.5 hours as PIC.

    Also, as I’m sure you know, had you been giving instruction on this flight, you could have logged the entire 5 hours under 61.51(e)(3).

    +2 Votes Thumb up 2 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes


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