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Can a non-night current instructor fly with a non-current private pilot (or higher certificate) at night to get night currency (each one doing their 3 full stop landings)? My thinking is "no" because no one is legally able to act as PIC with a passenger (even if it is an instructor). Each would need to do their night currency alone or with a night current airworthy pilot. Is my thinking correct?

5 Answers



  1. Matthew Waugh on Nov 29, 2012

    In fact the answer is yes.

    http://flighttraining.aopa.org/magazine/2008/April/200804_Departments_Legal_Briefing.html

    The trick is there is, according to the FAA, no passenger in that situation.

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  2. Kyler on Nov 30, 2012

    That article was eye opening. Is there anything official from the FAA on the matter? She did mention in parentheses half way through the article that the instructor must be current. So if the instructor is day current, student and instructor can go get night current together. What if the student is day current, and the flight instructor is not day current? Can they do a night flight together as long as the student is receiving instruction?

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  3. Wes Beard on Dec 01, 2012

    The currency for instructor that she listed is meant to imply a current flight review and medical notice it also says “except 61.57…” or night takeoff and landing currency. It does not imply the instructor needs to be day current.

    The Kortokrax interpretation is the official FAA answer on the subject and it makes clear that this interpretation applies only to flights that are for instruction only.

    http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2006/Kortokraxinterp.pdf

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  4. Mark Kolber on Dec 13, 2012

    And the Chief Counsel went event further than the Kortokrax opinion, even applying the “CFI need not be passenger current on an instructional flight” rule to training of student pilots:

    http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2007/Olshock%20inter1.pdf

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  5. Mark Kolber on Dec 13, 2012

    The Chief Counsel went even further in the later Olshock opinion, holding that the “CFI need not be passenger current on an instructional flight” rule even applies in the case of student pilots:
    http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2007/Olshock%20inter1.pdf

    But, to be clear, it should be re-emphasized that this only applies to =instructional= flights, not to two pilots just going up to share expenses, one of which just happens to be a CFI.

    The question posits a flight in which neither are current and the goal is for both to regain currency. So the question remains whether that can be considered an instructional flight. I think there are ways in which it can legitimately be done, but one needs to consider that in case of a mishap (which is how things like this tend to get checked into), the FAA will probably look closely to see whether this was really an flight for instructional purposes.

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