Can a private pilot fly commercial-type aircraft?

Lets say that a private pilot owns a large commercial-type aircraft like the B777. Can he fly such a plane for himself as a private plane?

• The fact that you own the aircraft is not significant for your ability to fly it. You may as well rent it or borrow it. – mins Dec 4 '15 at 18:24

Your certificate level determines the type of operations you can conduct*, not the type of airplanes you can fly. The types of airplanes you can fly are determined by your category, class and type ratings.

If you have a Private Pilot certificate with an instrument rating (not sure if this is required, but you'll want it either way) and an airplane multi-engine land category and class and a B777 type rating, then yes, that person can operate the aircraft privately.

He will also need an SIC and he will only be able to collect the pro-rata share of operating expenses from people he carries. He will also want to be careful in who he lets on his plane to avoid operations that are regulated under 14 CFR 119.

An example of such a pilot is John Travolta, who has a private pilot certificate with the following ratings:

PRIVATE PILOT
AIRPLANE SINGLE ENGINE LAND
AIRPLANE MULTIENGINE LAND
INSTRUMENT AIRPLANE

Type Ratings:
P/B-707 P/B-720 P/CE-500    P/CL-600    P/EA-500S
P/G-1159    P/HS-125    P/LR-JET

Limits:
ENGLISH PROFICIENT.
AUTHORIZED EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT: SO-G2.
B-707 SIC PRIVILEGES ONLY.
CE-500 (VFR ONLY).


* Private pilots may only collect pro-rata operating expenses, Commercial pilots may be paid to act as PIC and ATPs may act as PIC in 14 CFR 121 operations.

• What you posted shows a SIC only limitation. Is travolta not certified to be PIC in his 707? – Greg Taylor Dec 4 '15 at 20:33
• @GregTaylor for the 707 type, yes, but his others are not similarly restricted. The VFR only CE-500 is odd, but perhaps he's just using that for cross-town commutes. – casey Dec 4 '15 at 20:35