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7 Answers

Recency of experience – does a flight instructor have to be present?

Asked by: 7420 views General Aviation

I'm out of flight currency to carry passengers.  On the 90 day rule to become current (I know it can become sticky with day or night, but lets just stick to day) the three takeoffs and landings - must a flight instructor be on board?

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7 Answers

  1. Wesley Beard on Jan 12, 2011

    No!  However, if the pilot is outside the recency of experience requirements they must fly solo to obtain those landings.  If they are still within the 90 day window, they can carry passengers and log all the landings where they were the sole manipulator.  This is true for either day or night.   As you know, night landings count towards the day landings but day landings cannot count toward the night landings.
    Perhaps an example to make this stick better.  According to the FAA regulations, the day you get your private pilot ASEL license, you are legal to fly any ASEL aircraft that does not require a type rating or other endorsement with passengers or in solo flight.  If you do not fly at all, after 90 days you are no longer able to carry passengers.  To get this privilege back, you must make three landings solo to meet the recency of experience requirements.  If at 23 months and no flights since the practical test, you realize you want to take your spouse flying, all you need to do is get current on landings SOLO.  At that point, you can take yourself and passengers flying till the flight review expires.  However, common sense should prevail and the pilot needs to get refresher training with a CFI on board.
    The only time a pilot needs to see a flight instructor after their certificate is for the flight review.
    With that said, what the FAA minimums require and what the insurance minimums require are completely separate things.  Insurance requirements may require the pilot to get recency of experience landings with an instructor.  Certainly, if the pilot hasn’t flown at that flight school in a certain amount of time (90 days) another checkout would be required.  Unfortunately, insurace requirements are not standardized across the industry.

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  2. John A Lindholm on Jan 13, 2011

    You can do your 3 to/ldgs solo….  or even with a passenger(s) as long as the “right seater” is legal to act as PIC while you do your to/ldgs as logging PIC manipulating the controls. 
    Since my life in a jet transport often gets me out of “tail-dragger” currency, I’ve often made my three stop & goes from the back seat when out flying with my friends in their Super Cubs….. perfectly legal.  They don’t have to be CFIs… just legal to act as PIC for the flight while I get my currency.

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  3. Brian on Jan 15, 2011

    61.57 Recency Flight Experience: Pilot in Command
    (a) General experience. 
     (1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers or of an aircraft certificated for more than one pilot flight crewmember unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days, and—
    When you’re reading regulations, you should always question the purpose of what you’re reading. Understanding the purpose, especially in the case of regulatory material, presents often missed general meanings. A different way to think about it, if you will.
    In the case you’ve provided, the purpose is to prevent pilots from carrying passengers or operating as second in command without having recent flight experience. The question you’ve asked is, and forgive me for slightly rewording it, “can I act as PIC if I don’t meet the requirements of 61.57?”
    The answer is, yes, you may act as PIC without an instructor on board. However, you may not act as PIC with passengers on board, or as second in command of a two pilot aircraft, unless you meet the requirements of 61.57. 

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  4. Wesley Beard on Jan 15, 2011

    I think we’ve misunderstood the regulation of 61.57.  It doesn’t say anything about requirements for a second in command.  It states to act as pilot in command of a single pilot airplane with passengers or a multi pilot airplane you must have the recency of experience.
    In plain English, if the airplane is single pilot you cannot fly with passengers unless you have the landings.  If the airplane is multi pilot the pilot in command must already have those landings.  There is an exception for the multi pilot crew to use the minimum crew necessary to acquire the experience.
    The second in command is governed by 61.55 and he must have the category and class on the certificate only.  He must have become familiar with the aircraft systems in the last twelve months.

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  5. Brian on Jan 16, 2011

    Sure looks like I did. Thank you for the correction. 

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  6. Bob on Jan 17, 2011

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say “if the pilot is outside the recency of experience requirements they” may fly solo, with a current CFI, or with an ATP “to obtain those landings”
    What about 61.57 (a)(2)?
    (2) For the purpose of meeting the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft under day VFR or day IFR, provided no persons or property are carried on board the aircraft, other than those necessary for the conduct of the flight.
    Does this preclude flying with another non-CFI/ATP pilot to gain recent flight experience?

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  7. Wesley Beard on Jan 17, 2011

    It’s interesting ATP privileges are brought up.  The reg that covers this privilege is 61.167 and in part states the ATP can instruct other pilots in air transportation service and only as provided for in this section.
    This really means an ATP can only provide instruction under the air transportation service training program they work for either under Part 121 or Part 135.  It’s doesn’t have any bearing on this question though.
    With that said, 61.57 requires the “mimimum” crew necessary to obtain the recency of experience requirements.  To figure out what the minimum crew necessary for any flight please refer to the type certificate data sheet.  It could say one pilot, two pilots or two pilots and flight engineer.  FAA TCDS Webpage
    There are three ways to meet the recency of experience requirement for either single or multi pilot airplanes

    Minimum flight crew
    Another current and valid private pilot (or above) can act as pilot in command
    A current and valid CFI can give flight instruction 

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