I was looking at the description of this role i.e. someone who provides cruise flight relief flying. As conceivably, someone could be bonded for multiple years because of the type rating being covered by the airline, it is possible they could 'fly' for multiple years and yet never actually do a real takeoff or landing?

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    $\begingroup$ I believe that a pilot has to do a certain number of take-offs and landings to keep their license current. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 12, 2015 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ Can you explain and link to some information about what a "cruise pilot" is? I'd never heard that term until I saw this question. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ DJClayworth: I happen to know that is the answer but you deserve the credit. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Commented Jun 13, 2015 at 23:34
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    $\begingroup$ This question might be better if a jurisdiction were included. In the U.S., for example, there is no such thing as a 'cruise pilot.' Relief pilots on long haul flights have the same requirements as the rest of the crew here (i.e. a minimum of one qualified Captain is always on duty.) In the U.S., there is no such thing as a pilot in flight deck of an airliner at all unless they have an ATPL. Licensure requirements vary dramatically by jurisdiction, though. Additionally, the required takeoffs and landings for currency (as DJClayworth mentioned) will also likely vary by jurisdiction. $\endgroup$
    – reirab
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 20:55
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    $\begingroup$ Not a definite answer, but a friend of mine flew 747's as a 2nd officer for a major airline for a number of years. He had multiple take offs and landings in a sim, but 0 actual in a front seat. $\endgroup$
    – Greg
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 6:59

2 Answers 2


The short answer is: yes

Personal Licensing regulation outlined in Annex 1, 2.1.4 "Circumstances in which class and type ratings are required" states that: A Contracting State having issued a pilot licence shall not permit the holder of such licence to act either as pilot-in-command or as co-pilot of an aeroplane, an airship, a helicopter or a powered-lift unless the holder has received authorization as follows:

a) the appropriate class rating specified in; or

b) a type rating when required in accordance with the provisions of When a type rating is issued limiting the privileges to act as co- pilot, or limiting the privileges to act as pilot only during the cruise phase of the flight, such limitation shall be endorsed on the rating.

ICAO - Annex 1 - Personnnel Licensing

Though vague about takeoff, landings, or other stages of flight, this published regulation is clear that

  • Cruise pilots acting only during cruise phases of flight is allowed, providing they have the appropriate class or type rating
  • The limitation of their role, such as cruise flight only, is endorsed on the respective rating.

Your question didn't ask about what state/country you were asking about

  • The FAA lists no differences from the above regulation in GEN 1.7
  • Though it may differ between EASA states, it seems that EASA states also comply with the ICAO regulation in this matter. For example, see the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) differences to Annex 1: GEN 1.7

Every airline pilot is required to maintain currency. In a 2nd officers case most of this will probably be in a full motion simulator.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Aviation.SE. To me this does not seem to directly address the question, could you add a little more extensive reasoning? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 16:35

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