I asked this as a comment in this question, but I thought it was worth asking properly to preserve it for future Aviation.SE generations.

Is there any sort of permission required to fly from the right seat of an aircraft? If I've done all of my training on the left side of a C172 is there anything stopping me from deciding one day to stick a passenger in there and fly with my right hand?

I acknowledge that for experienced pilots there shouldn't really be a safety risk in doing this, but many light aircraft displays/instrumentation are designed for the pilot being in the left seat.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Which country or regulations are you asking about? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:14
  • $\begingroup$ Ideally Australia but would be interested in confirmation from other countries $\endgroup$
    – Ben
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 10:54
  • $\begingroup$ In the US there is not, but I'm trying to find the regulations that say so. I flew right seat a few weeks ago. Its a little awkward from a controls and sight picture standpoint, but not unreasonable. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Commented Apr 21, 2016 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


As Ron mentions in the comments here in the US it is not illegal by any specific regulations however...

Most GA aircraft (the smaller ones at least) only have a single set of instruments that reside in front of the left seat as you mention in the question. Lets say hypothetically you were flying right seat and something went wrong. Due to the angle of view you were not able to read an instrument and this lead to an accident. Lets say you lose your primary CDI/Glide Slope while flying an ILS approach and you need to use one on the far side of the cockpit. For some reason you are alone and in the right seat. If an accident did occur as a result of this you may be able to be held to

§91.13 Careless or reckless operation.

(a) Aircraft operations for the purpose of air navigation. No person may operate an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.

Since the left seat was open and available for you. But other than that there is no regulation preventing such operation.

Ron posted an excellent article in the comments below that has at least one quote worth mentioning

Aircraft insurance policies and flying club rules often specify that all flying is to be done from the left seat unless the pilot holds a current flight instructor certificate or has specific authorization.

While this is not an FAA regulation insurance companies or the rental/flight club you get your plane from may stipulate left seat only flying.


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