Just wondering, as I'm working on my PPL during a hot summer, if it's legal (but probably more importantly, a good idea) to wear flip flops to fly a plane? I'm training in a 172, if that's an important factor.

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    $\begingroup$ No regulation I'm aware of, but flip-flops are probably not the best. If there is an underpanel fuel (Primer) or oil leak (pressure guage) then that's going to hit bare skin and could irritate, or worse, burn the bare skin. If you need to get out in a hurry, you don't want something dangling that could get caught. Or fall off as you step out onto hot pavement. Or dangling around as you climb a ladder to refuel the plane. $\endgroup$
    – CrossRoads
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 15:30
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    $\begingroup$ I would worry about the flip flops falling off inadvertently and possibly interfering with something or being hard to retrieve, but, for what it's worth, in hot weather, I often flew 172s and 182s barefoot back in the 1980s. $\endgroup$
    – Terry
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 17:42

2 Answers 2


There is no policy on the books that I can find in regards to this. Loosely if flip-flops make it hard for you to operate the rudder it would fall under the catch all:

§ 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.

However I was at an FAA WINGS lecture not all to long ago on preparing for accidents. My local FSDO's advice was to "dress for the crash" i.e. if you plan to fly over snowy terrain consider wearing boots etc. With this in mind flip-flops are more than likely not a great choice. The need to walk considerable distances over terrain is not unheard of after an accident.

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    $\begingroup$ That's a super sad story, but you're right, definitely something to be learned there. $\endgroup$
    – Lars Case
    Commented Jun 10, 2018 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ Even for driving a car, you can be cited (typically after an accident) for "negligent driving" for driving with flip-flops or barefoot. "Negligent driving" is a legal way of saying "you should have known better." $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 13:28
  • $\begingroup$ Remarkably then, easily removable flipflops - or even bare feet! - could be called for over water, I guess! $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 17:44

Flying in tropical areas (outside the US), I have frequently observed the locals going barefoot. There is no dress code in 14 CFR 61, 91.

Large boots can be problematic. I tend to wear sneakers, even when flying for work. I get better feel of the rudder pedals, and boots and dress shoes are hard for me to find, as I have very large feet, and they tend to have even larger "foot prints" because of the design of the footgear.

I can tell you that more than one student who showed up in pumps had problems with rudder and brake operation. Usually it only took one flight to convince them to bring slides or some other shoe.


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