FAR 61.57 (a) requires that one must make 3 takeoffs and landings within the preceding 90 days in order to carry passengers.

Does a "crash landing" count for the 61.57 currency? By "crash landing" I mean a landing on which an incident/accident occurs under the NTSB definitions.

For example, if I'm in the circuit to gain 61.57 currency, and on my 3rd landing attempt, I crash the aircraft into a tree well short of the runway. Would I then be allowed to go rent another aircraft and carry a passenger?

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    In this case you'll definitely have greater problems than your currency. I'm not sure, that's why I don't write an answers, but in my eyes a crash is some kind of landing - only by definition and without any evaluation. Maybe it can even be used to remain current, but you might don't even have to worry about your currency after this kind of incident. – Falk Jan 20 '14 at 3:35
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    @Falk I agree, I just think it's an interesting hypothetical question. Obviously if that happened to me, currency would be the last thing on my mind. – kyryx Jan 20 '14 at 4:06
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    Perhaps a better example (which doesn't immediately call your piloting ability into question) would be if the landing gear folds on touchdown or something? – falstro Jan 20 '14 at 8:40
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    @roe Really not much difference in the hours following the crash from a legal perspective. (In your case though, you probably wouldn't get the follow-up-reexamination-letter bit so would be simpler over-all.) – Lnafziger Jan 20 '14 at 17:29
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    This is the most awesome question I've ever seen on an aviation Q&A site. Bravo... +1! – TypeIA Apr 8 '14 at 13:13
up vote 12 down vote accepted

As far as I can find, the FAA doesn't define the term landing so it could be argued either way. The "typical" definition of landing is:

1: an act or process of one that lands; especially : a going or bringing to a surface (as land or shore) after a voyage or flight

That definition doesn't say that it has to be "controlled" or that the airplane has to be usable again! Even if you decide that it wasn't a "successful landing", you could always get your third landing later if you are still allowed to fly, and then carry the passengers.


So this brings us to the second part of your question: Are you allowed to fly after an accident?

Since you had an accident (as defined by 49 CFR 830) you must immediately notify the NTSB of the accident. Once you do that, you have 10 days to file the required report.

At this point, you still have a valid pilot license and can legally fly another airplane.

Chances are however, that you will be receiving a certified letter from the local FSDO requiring a reexamination in order to keep your license because your competence has been called into question. If you don't call them to make an appointment, they will start the process to suspend your certificate. During this time, you can also continue to fly because you still have a valid license.

The FAA can also use their emergency authority to immediately suspend your license if they feel that it is warranted. This can be appealed to the NTSB board if you feel that it isn't justified, and they have up to five days to respond. At this point you are not allowed to fly pending the response from the board.


This, and a lot more information can be found on AOPA's FAA Enforcement Webpage.

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