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If I am current on one model of a Cessna 172, am I also legally meeting the currency requirements for a different version of the same aircraft model? For example, if I have many hours in a Cessna 172M, but have lately been flying a Cessna 172S, would I also be able to take passengers in the 172M?

This could be the case for a flying club that has many different versions of the same aircraft model. Perhaps on a nice day of flying the aircraft that you have been flying more recently has already been booked. You would still like to perform the flight with a different aircraft also offered by the club. However, it has been more than 3 months since you have last flown that specific aircraft.

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    $\begingroup$ Which country's regulations are you asking about? $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Apr 13 '18 at 21:11
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    $\begingroup$ You've accepted the answer about FAA regulations, so I've added that tag to your question. When you ask a question about regulations, please always tell us which country or regulator you're asking about. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Apr 14 '18 at 12:11
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If you're referring to the United States, then yes, you would be current.

(Emphasis mine)

(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

(ii) 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.

A Cessna 172 is not an aircraft that you need to be type-rated for and thus, so long as you have met the requirements for number of take off and landings within the required 90 days, then you are considered "Current". You could even take this a step further: You could fly Cessna 172's and get into a Piper Cherokee and be considered "Current".

Remember, Currency is not Proficiency.

Currency is explained here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/14/61.57

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@RyanGriffith is correct on the legal standpoint however its worth elaborating on your other point a bit

This could be the case for a flying club that has many different versions of the same aircraft model. Perhaps on a nice day of flying the aircraft that you have been flying more recently has already been booked. You would still like to perform the flight with a different aircraft also offered by the club. However, it has been more than 3 months since you have last flown that specific aircraft.

Most flying clubs, FBO's and anywhere else you may rent an aircraft from can impose other currency requirements and in many cases their insurance may require it. So while you may be legal to fly an aircraft that does not mean you always can, and in some cases if you do it may not mean the insurance will cover it should something go wrong. For example the flight school I fly out of has both fuel injected and carbureted 172's if you are checked out in the fuel injected one you are allowed to fly the carb'ed one but not the other way around. They also have similar requirements for their Cherokee's where you can fly anything with less HP than what you have been checked out in, for example I am checked out in their archer so I can fly that as well as their 161 warrior.

So in the specific case you mention for a flight club you should further confirm what their operating rules are.

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    $\begingroup$ Great addition to the answer! $\endgroup$ – ironpilot Apr 13 '18 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ The club I learned to fly in imposed currency by type if you had less than 200 hours. And the C-172 currency (M thru P models) did not include the lone C-172F. It had the Continental 0-300 engine, a non-standard (pre 6-pack) panel with ASI in MPH, not Knots. It required a separate check ride and currency. $\endgroup$ – Gerry Apr 14 '18 at 21:45

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