I got a question from PPL oral checker, but I was not able to answer. The question:

If a pilot is practicing an instrument approach in VMC, can you be a safety pilot?

  • $\begingroup$ I proof read your question, please check it. $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 1:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I've added the FAA regulations tag, since you've accepted an answer based on 91.109. If you're asking questions about regulations, please always tell us which country or regulator you're interested in. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 12:00

1 Answer 1


As long as the "Safety Pilot" possesses the qualifications and under the conditions listed below (from FAR 91.109):

(c) No person may operate a civil aircraft in simulated instrument flight unless—

  1. The other control seat is occupied by a safety pilot who possesses at least a private pilot certificate with category and class ratings appropriate to the aircraft being flown.

  2. The safety pilot has adequate vision forward and to each side of the aircraft, or a competent observer in the aircraft adequately supplements the vision of the safety pilot; and

  3. Except in the case of lighter-than-air aircraft, that aircraft is equipped with fully functioning dual controls. However, simulated instrument flight may be conducted in a single-engine airplane, equipped with a single, functioning, throwover control wheel, in place of fixed, dual controls of the elevator and ailerons, when—

    i. The safety pilot has determined that the flight can be conducted safely; and

    ii. The person manipulating the controls has at least a private pilot certificate with appropriate category and class ratings.

  • $\begingroup$ You might want to add that the safety pilot must have a valid medical—either at a minimum a 3rd Class or BasicMed. If the safety pilot is acting as PIC, as they must if using BasicMed, then they also must possess the appropriate endorsements for the aircraft. e.g. tailwheel, high performance, complex. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 18:23
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry: thanks for the suggestion. I'll think about adding some more info. But the op is only asking if a private pilot can act as a safety pilot. If the pilot not under the hood is only BasicMed and is acting/designated as the PIC then he/she is not a "required crewmember." This would answer a question not asked (but important nevertheless) and require much more explanation. Perhaps you could ask a question that relates to this specific application of BasicMed and requirements for a safety pilot. It's a whole different conversation. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 20:10
  • $\begingroup$ I think this post covers it correctly and in detail. aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/42989/… $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Commented Feb 2, 2022 at 2:04

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