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Specifically 14 CFR 61.57 (a) (2) states:

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.

But the exception allowing a person to act as pilot in command without currency DOES NOT exist for night VFR nor night IFR. Therefore, can a person act as pilot in command at night while regaining currency? Can you even fly solo when you have lost your currency?

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  • $\begingroup$ For those not familiar with it offhand, what are "the requirements of paragraph (a)(1)"? Please post or link to the specific reg. Thanks, and welcome to Av.SE. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Sep 8, 2023 at 5:02

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61.57(a)(2) only applies to regaining currency if you are flying a plane that requires more than one pilot crewmember. It allows a non-current pilot to act as PIC when it would otherwise be illegal in order to make it easier for a non-current pilot to regain currency. It has no relevance to a solo pilot in a plane certificated for a single pilot, since 61.57(a)(1) does not forbid a non-current pilot from acting as PIC in a plane certificated for a single pilot as long as they are not carrying passengers.

61.57(a)(1) forbids you from acting as PIC if you are carrying passengers or if the plane requires a multi-member crew:

"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—"

emphasis mine.

61.57(a)(2) allows you to operate during the day with additional required crewmembers, as long as you aren't carrying passengers or property. This makes it easier to regain currency once you have lost it if you are flying a plane that requires multiple pilot crewmembers.

61.57(b)(1) is different in that it only forbids you from acting as PIC at night if you are carrying passengers. It contains the same language as 61.57(a)(1): "[...]no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers[...]" (emphasis mine), but it does not have the bit about aircraft certificated for more than one pilot crewmember. Since it doesn't have this restriction, it doesn't need a similar exception.

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  • $\begingroup$ OK, this popped back up to the top and I reread it again... I am loath to get into another protracted discussion, but I don't see the truth in your opening statement: "61.57(a)(2) only applies to regaining currency if you are flying a plane that requires more than one pilot crewmember." Can you remind me how you arrived at this conclusion? (2) follows (1), which makes it clear that "general experience" under (a) applies to carrying passengers, OR acting as PIC in a plane requiring more than one pilot. $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2023 at 17:49
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall Even if 61.57(a)(2) did not exist, it would be legal for a non-current pilot flying a single-pilot aircraft to act as PIC (solo) and regain lost day currency. But it would be illegal for a non-current pilot flying a multi-pilot aircraft to act as PIC of a multi-pilot crew. 61.57(a)(2) allows such a pilot to act as PIC. It doesn't require anything- the language used is permissive ("may", not "must"). It isn't helpful for a pilot who can just solo the aircraft since it comes with extra restrictions. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Oct 9, 2023 at 20:42
  • $\begingroup$ OK, we are back to where I punted before... But, I still don't agree with your conclusion that (2) applies to multi pilot only: "it would be legal for a non-current pilot flying a single-pilot aircraft to act as PIC (solo) and regain lost day currency." Yes, this I agree with. And that is exactly what (2) says - while pointing out that you cannot carry passengers until you do so. The restriction on not carrying passengers while acting as PIC if you aren't current applies to both single and multi pilot aircraft, does it not? $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2023 at 20:52
  • $\begingroup$ The way I interpret the intent of this section WRT to multi-pilot operations is that you "may" act as PIC if you aren't carrying passengers. However, if you are carrying passengers, you can still regain landing currency as sole manipulator, but there must be another pilot acting as PIC in the aircraft. Single pilot cannot carry passengers while acting as PIC if they aren't current, period. Do you agree with this? $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2023 at 21:05
  • $\begingroup$ You said "But it would be illegal for a non-current pilot flying a multi-pilot aircraft to act as PIC of a multi-pilot crew." No, it would actually be legal "provided no persons or property are carried on board the aircraft, other than those necessary for the conduct of the flight." That is the exact verbatim caveat per section (2). $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2023 at 21:18

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