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4 Answers

Logging PIC time

Asked by: 3092 views FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor, Private Pilot


1. Can a foreign private pilot log PIC time (without foreign-based FAA license) when flying with an FAA licensed isntructor on an airplane on which they are both rated? Can such pilot act as safety pilot while an FAA licenced pilot is flying under the hood?

2. When a private pilot is getting trained on a single-engine high performance or complex aircraft, can this times be logged as PIC?

Thank you,


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4 Answers

  1. Bill Trussell on Jan 30, 2012

    The logging of flight time in this case is based on whether the pilot in question has been issued a pilot certificate granted under FAR part 61.  If this is not the case then the rules contained in this part have no jurisdiction for that pilot.  Such a person would have to resort to the rules for the certificate issued by the “foregin” country.  Until such time as a certificate is issued to the pilot in question by the FAA, by whatever provision of the rules, then all time would be logged as dual.
    The question of a safety pilot and their qualifications to serve in that capacity are also answered by this jurisdiction issue.  The FAA sets certain qalifications for the person serving as a safety pilot, including that such a person needs to hold at least a private pilot certificate issued under the provisions of FAA part 61.
    See below:
     61.3   Requirement for certificates, ratings, and authorizations. top
    (a) Pilot certificate. No person may serve as a required pilot flight crewmember of a civil aircraft of the United States, unless that person—
    (1) Has a pilot certificate or special purpose pilot authorization issued under this part in that person’s physical possession
    Link to the applicable rules :

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  2. John D. Collins on Jan 30, 2012



    I believe you must hold a US pilot license to log PIC when you are with an instructor.  Obtaining a US private pilot licence on the basis of your foreign licence issued by a contracting State to the Convention on International Civil Aviation is normally a simple matter, there are no tests involved, just fill out the form and go to a local FSDO, then walk out with your temporary US private pilot licence. Details of obtaining the US PPL on the basis of a foreign pilot licence is detailed in FAR 61.75. The main requirements are: you need to hold a valid medical certificate from the US or your country, be English proficient, not have any restrictions on your home country licence, and must carry these documents with you in addition to your US PPL.


    To act as the safety pilot, you must hold at least a US PPL with ratings for the category and class of aircraft (for example: Airplane – Single engine land) and a current medical.


    Once you have a US PPL, logging PIC is permitted anytime you are the sole manipulator of the controls.  Acting as PIC in a high performance or complex aircraft requires the one time endorsements, so when you are with the instructor, they are “acting” as PIC for the flight if you don’t have the endorsement(s), but if you are the sole manipulator of the controls, you log PIC.

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  3. Matthew Waugh on Feb 02, 2012

    Just to harp on a continuing pet peeve of mine. You can log whatever you want, you log time as space commander if it helps you. You may not be able to use the time for a rating or to show currency or a myriad of things, which in the case of not having an FAA certificate you don’t care anyway – because log it or not you don’t have an FAA certificate to keep or make current.
    You can’t be a safety pilot for a flight under FAA regulations – safety pilot is a required crew member and without an FAA certificate you cannot be a crew member.
    You can log PIC time when you are manipulating the controls of an aircraft that you are rated in. So if you are a single engine Private pilot you can log PIC when manipulating the controls of a single engine complex or high performance aircraft.

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  4. BC on Feb 03, 2012

    All above are correct. PIC in regards to FAA regs is sole manipulator if qualified in the plane, even with an instructor, or as SIC in a jet.
    PIC in most foreign countries usually refers to “aircraft commander” or “captain” time. Basically the person responsible for the flight or plane.
    I log PIC according to FAA regs. I also added an “AC CMDR” column in my logbook to also log time as a 4-stripe captain or Cessna solo or PIC time. Such time would be under both “PIC” and “AC CMDR” columns. Time as a type-rated jet co-pilot would be under SIC when the skipper is flying and under PIC when it’s my leg. But not under “AC CMDR” since I’m not the captain, and I’m not the first person the feds will come to when things go wrong (but i’ll be the second person they come to see 🙂  If I’m the captain, I’ll log PIC and AC CMDR all the time, even if the FO is flying. That’s because I’m responsible for his screw-ups as well as my own. I guess thats why skippers make the big bucks. NOT. It’s been downhill for the last 20 years. Don’t become an airline pilot. Oops. Different topic.
    Anyway, having a way to differentiate between FAA PIC time and AC Commander time (even though they may both be logger at the same time) will make it easier to fill out applications for foreign airlines (since they define PIC time as AC Commander/captain time).
    A gray area might be when qualified in the plane and receiving instruction. Generally, the answer depends on who is responsible for ATC violations and other screw ups. Generally, I would log it as PIC and AC CMDR time if you have a FAA license. If you’re a foreign pilot without FAA credentials, log it according to your countries regs. 
    A logbook is basically an accounting method. You can log what you want and how you want. You only need to be able to extract the information you, the feds or you application requires. Having both FAA PIC and AC CMDR columns will let you quickly see how much time you have as “being in command”, or just the “helmsman”
    Capt BC

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