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I am a private pilot ASEL with an instrument rating. I am not a CFI/CFII. I understand that I can act as a safety pilot in VMC. What about IMC? Is it legal for us to fly in IMC to get actual cloud time? If so, do I need to assume PIC responsibility? Is this something that I should avoid?





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4 Answers

  1. Ron Klutts on Feb 20, 2012

    There’s no need for a safety pilot in IMC conditions, however the flight will need to be conducted on an IFR flight plan with clearence. So the pilot flying must be current and legally able to file and accept an IFR cleareance. If the clouds are scattered and your in and out of the clouds you will need to look for traffic when in visual conditions. 

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  2. Mike Mosier on Feb 20, 2012

    I should have written my question better. I’m referring to flying with a non-instrument rated pilot as his safety pilot. Do we need to stay out of the clouds and only let him fly under the hood in simulated conditions?

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  3. Ron Klutts on Feb 21, 2012

    I would want to be sure the pilot flying is comfortable to fly in IMC condidtions. As the only instrument rated pilot on board it’s entirely on his shoulders. It’s good experience for the private pilot acting as safety pilot to be in IMC. As long as the IR pilot is legal to file an IFR plan and is comfortable in the weather conditions that prevail, there is no reason to avoid the clouds. While still withing the 6 month currency it’s a good way to stay current and get some actual IMC.

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  4. Bill Trussell on Feb 21, 2012

    Under the conditions described you would no longer be acting as a safety pilot but as PIC for the flight in IMC.  You would need to meet all the conditions for flying in IMC, including currency, equipment, and clearance.  Assuming you meet all these conditions and you are comfortable with someone else being sole maniputator of the controls during IMC, then fine.  While a very loose interpretation of the rules for operations in IMC might allow this type of operation, one should consider that this may not be the best idea as a PIC.  If real IMC is desired, a flight with an appropriately rated CFI is probably the best idea.

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