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It's been over 90 days since I've been flying, but I have a biennial flight review coming up pretty soon and would like to prep for it.

The regulations regarding this seem to be extremely vague, but is it legal for me to fly around, do my landings, log PIC time, and such with another licensed, current pilot in the plane with me?

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As long as you are not the legal pilot in command you can do what you want. This means the other pilot has to be willing to act as the legal pilot in command on this flight.

61.57(a) General experience.

(1) 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—

(i) The person acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls;

The regulation is clearly required of the legal pilot in command. If your current passenger is willing to act and take responsibility for your flying as the legal pilot in command then it is allowable.

Unfortunately, the other pilot is taking all the responsibility and gets none of the credit as they, under an airplane certificated for single pilot operations, cannot log any PIC time while you are getting current.

From LOGGING PILOT IN COMMAND TIME (FAA):

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.


If the other pilot is a CFI and it is a training flight then no one has to be landing current as there are no passengers. See the Kortokrax interpretation.

Relevant excerpt:

We agree that, for purposes of section 61.57(b), an authorized instructor providing instruction in an aircraft is not considered a passenger with respect to the person receiving instruction, even where the person receiving the instruction is acting as PIC. (The instructor must be current, qualified to instruct, and hold a category, class and type rating in the aircraft, if a class and type rating is required.) The instructor is not a passenger because he is present specifically to train the person receiving instruction. Neither is the person receiving instruction a passenger with respect to the instructor. This training may take place, even though neither pilot has met the 61.57(b) requirements.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that this is true. It might be worth getting a FSDO interpretation, but it goes against everything I've understood about acting/logging PIC. $\endgroup$ – egid Apr 20 '16 at 5:22
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    $\begingroup$ @egid Remember that to the FAA, acting as PIC and logging PIC are completely different things. $\endgroup$ – NathanG Apr 21 '16 at 12:08
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    $\begingroup$ @egid What do you disagree with? This is actually pretty clear. $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Aug 22 '16 at 5:29
  • $\begingroup$ I do not agree with this answer. The regs clearly say no one else, and no property either, during the flights where the pilot wants to regain currency. $\endgroup$ – Juan Jimenez Nov 20 '18 at 11:56
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    $\begingroup$ @JuanJimenez The regulations say that the pilot in command must be current if there are any passengers. Under the proposed scenario, the pilot in command is current. So, that means it's okay. $\endgroup$ – Tanner Swett Nov 20 '18 at 13:20
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I don't think it's that ambiguous. The kicker in your requirementsis the "log PIC time" part...

CFR 61.57

(a) General experience.

(1) 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—

(i) The person acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls;

And this section:

(2) For the purpose of meeting the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft under day VFR or day IFR, provided no persons or property are carried on board the aircraft, other than those necessary for the conduct of the flight.

So I interpret that as no passengers. If the other pilot is a CFI and giving instruction, then that would count but if they are just going for a ride, no its not "legal". The take offs and landings have to be done either solo, not as PIC, or under instruction.

The other person may be a pilot, but unless they are performing pilot duties they are a passenger like any non pilot rated passenger. By the way, the PIC does not have to sit on the left, you can still occupy the left seat as long as your pilot friend accepts PIC responsibilities as you complete your currency then you can resume being PIC.

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    $\begingroup$ Not sure if I agree with this interpretation. The way I conclude, from your highlighted statements, is (1) the person trying to get current has to be the sole manipulator of the controls, AND (2) the other pilot (who is current) acting as PIC. $\endgroup$ – kevin Apr 20 '16 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Don't you need to be certified in some way to fly from the right hand seat? If I'm correct that means the average pilot cannot act as PIC from the right (unless there is some odd loophole that says the PIC doesn't have to actually be able to fly the thing). $\endgroup$ – Ben Apr 20 '16 at 9:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Ben -- that's worthy of asking a new question $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Apr 20 '16 at 11:38
  • $\begingroup$ @kevin that is correct. The PIC doesn't have to be the one manipulating the controls. See aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Learn-to-Fly/… $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Apr 20 '16 at 11:47
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    $\begingroup$ @Ben No, there is no regulation that says you need special training to fly right seat. You can sit wherever you like as long as you can safely manipulate the controls. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Apr 20 '16 at 11:49
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FWIW, I believe that wbeard52's answer is correct: 61.57 says the acting PIC must be current to carry passengers; it doesn't say that the person at the controls must be current.

If you consider AOPA to be an authoritative source, their February 2011 Legal Briefing column discussed exactly this question:

Q: I’m out of currency to take passengers in my Cessna 172. When I go flying to do my three bounces, I would prefer to have someone with me for an extra set of eyes and ears. Does it have to be a CFI or can it be a private pilot, as long as he or she is current?

A: [...] if the private pilot is current and is willing and qualified to act as PIC of the aircraft, that pilot may be on board the aircraft as PIC and you could be the sole manipulator of the controls in getting your three bounces. I would make sure that both of you understand your roles in the aircraft before taking off, to avoid any misunderstandings.

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