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I have a job that requires me to travel on a small company plane with a company "commercial"pilot. I only have my PPL. If I am certified in the type of aircraft may the pilot allow me to fly "solely manipulate the controls" of the aircraft, while he clearly remains the PIC and responsible for the flight? If I am rated in the aircraft could I log those hours?

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  • $\begingroup$ This is not a Transportation Operation, and operates under CFR 14 Part 91 regulations. $\endgroup$ – Grant Dec 22 '15 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ there is another issue, which is whether or not the insurance company will permit you to manipulate the controls. Many policies have only "named pilots," and there is a special rider that needs to be added to allow other pilots to fly it, with certain aeronautical experience, training, and time in type. $\endgroup$ – rbp Mar 4 '16 at 23:56
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Yes, you can log PIC in an aircraft category and class that you are certified to fly. You can log that time during which you are the sole manipulator of the controls. This is the case even if another crew member (the commercial pilot) is the acting PIC.

See 14 CFR 61.51 (e) for this and other situations allowing logging of PIC.

Following is the relevant section of 61.51 (e):

(e) Logging pilot-in-command flight time. (1) A sport, recreational, private, commercial, or airline transport pilot may log pilot in command flight time for flights-

(i) When the pilot is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated, or has sport pilot privileges for that category and class of aircraft, if the aircraft class rating is appropriate;

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    $\begingroup$ While I totally agree with the posted answer (yes, the PPL can log PIC while sole manipulator), Im not sure I agree that the actual PIC can't log the entire flight. He IS the PIC. There is FAR 61, but there is also FAR 1 -- which is essetially "signed for the aircraft" as the definition of PIC. Thus an airline captain logs every leg as PIC, even those legs the first officer was the sole manipulator. The FO can log his legs as PIC per Part 61, but the captain is the PIC per Part 1. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Dec 22 '15 at 23:17
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    $\begingroup$ Remember that logging PIC and acting as PIC are different. Just because someone is PIC doesn't mean they can log it. Airline pilots can log PIC because the aircraft they fly are certified for multiple pilots. If they were flying a 172 in a Part 121 operation, only one could log PIC. $\endgroup$ – NathanG Dec 23 '15 at 0:53
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    $\begingroup$ @RalphJ Acting as PIC and logging PIC are distinct concepts. $\endgroup$ – casey Dec 23 '15 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ "However, two pilots may not simultaneously log PIC when one pilot is sole manipulator of the controls and the other is acting as pilot-in-command if the regulations governing the flight do not require more than one pilot." faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/sdl/local_more/… $\endgroup$ – rbp Mar 5 '16 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ @RalphJ The last comment by rbp is key: "if the regulations governing the flight do not require more than one pilot". The only situations where more than one person may log PIC time are the situations which require more than one pilot. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Mar 5 '16 at 4:39
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Please note that being PIC and logging PIC are different things.

FAR 1.1 defines the Pilot in Command as the person who,

(1) Has final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the flight;

(2) Has been designated as pilot in command before or during the flight; and

(3) Holds the appropriate category, class, and type rating, if appropriate, for the conduct of the flight.

Basically, at any given time, there can only be one acting PIC on a flight, no matter how many pilots are on board the aircraft.

According to 14 CFR 61.51 (e):

(e) Logging pilot-in-command flight time. (1) A sport, recreational, private, commercial, or airline transport pilot may log pilot in command flight time for flights-

(i) When the pilot is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated, or has sport pilot privileges for that category and class of aircraft, if the aircraft class rating is appropriate;

(ii) When the pilot is the sole occupant in the aircraft;

(iii) When the pilot, except for a holder of a sport or recreational pilot certificate, acts as pilot in command of an aircraft for which more than one pilot is required under the type certification of the aircraft or the regulations under which the flight is conducted; or

(iv) When the pilot performs the duties of pilot in command while under the supervision of a qualified pilot in command provided,

...

The end result is that more than one pilot can log PIC time when there can only be one PIC on a given flight.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yes, there are times when more than one pilot can log PIC, but not in the situation described by the OP... $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Mar 5 '16 at 4:32

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