Let's assume that I fly every weekend with a friend which is not a pilot. Can I log that time as PIC and count the takeoffs and landings toward the currency requirement as stated below:

Sec. 61.57: 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 -- The person acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls; and The required takeoffs and landings were performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating is required), and, if the aircraft to be flown is an airplane with a tailwheel, the takeoffs and landings must have been made to a full stop in an airplane with a tailwheel.

Does sole manipulator of the flight controls means solo and by yourself (alone) in the airplane such as Cessna-172 or does it mean you can have a non-pilot passengers?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The term solo is used when they want you to be the only one in the aircraft. $\endgroup$
    – Lnafziger
    Dec 12, 2015 at 2:12

2 Answers 2


Yes you can count that time as PIC and towards this currency requirement.

The regulation requires that you are the only one who moved the flight controls during takeoff and landing. This means you could fly with anyone else in the cockpit (including a flight instructor, another pilot, or non-pilot friends) but you alone must be the person who performs those takeoffs and landings in order to remain qualified.

This eliminates a few scenarios from counting towards the currency requirement, including:

  • You flew with another pilot, counted yourself as PIC (because you were more qualified or by prior arrangement) but didn’t actually do the work yourself
  • You flew with an instructor, and they helped you with the landings
  • $\begingroup$ On the other hand it should include the case when you are pilot flying, but not PIC, right? Because that's how you restore currency if you somehow lost it: by flying with another pilot that acts as PIC while you are PF. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Dec 12, 2015 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @JanHudec -- yes, as you were the only one who did PF duties. $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2015 at 17:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Jan Hudec - If you lose currency for day VFR, you simply have to log 3 takeoff / landings while solo to regain currency. You do not need another pilot, you simply can't carry a passenger until you get your currency back. If you didn't have your currency, you could go to the airport with a friend, get in the plane by yourself, do your 3 landings, pick up your friend and go fly. $\endgroup$ Dec 12, 2015 at 19:41

The other answers are correct. The regulations do not require you to be solo in order to log PIC time or the landings for the currency. The only problem would arise would be if you are already outside of the 90 day currency window. At that point you would be required to complete the takeoffs and landings solo (meaning you are the sole occupant of the aircraft) or with a flight instructor occupying the other seat. A flight instructor is not considered a "passenger" when they are acting in the capacity of a flight instructor. Once those three takeoffs and landings are complete AND logged you may then carry passengers again.


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