I’m a commercial single pilot. I’m current right now but haven’t done 3 t/o & ldgs in preceding 90days. In 2 weeks, I’m planning on a trip and we will have a hour flight with a local instructor. Should I get 3 t/o & ldgs done before the trip? Please give me an advice on logging

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ When you say "we will have a hour flight with a local instructor", who is part of the "we?" $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Dec 18, 2022 at 22:00
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking if it's allowed to have a passenger in the back seat while you get one (or more) takeoffs & landings under the supervision of the instructor? The exact scenario you're asking about isn't clear. $\endgroup$
    – Ralph J
    Dec 18, 2022 at 22:36

2 Answers 2


In the U.S., the required three takeoffs and landings are required to act as the legal pilot in command with passengers on board.

If you are not current, you cannot take passengers with you to get current. There are options.

  • Fly solo and get current so that you can take passengers
  • Fly with an instructor only and get current. Neither the pilot nor the instructor needs to have takeoff and landing currency in this situation.
  • Fly with an instructor with passengers in the back. The instructor must agree to be the legal pilot in command and have the required takeoff and landings.

§ 61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.

(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

(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.

  • $\begingroup$ The FAA legal department reasoning for the second bullet point is that there is no passenger on board the airplane. Both the pilot (being trained) and the CFI are required crew members. faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/… I also agree that if the CFI is the legal pilot in command, he will need to have a valid medical certificate. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Dec 19, 2022 at 15:17

The answer depends on who “we” is.

Landing currency only applies to carrying passengers; required crew members (such as you and your instructor) do not count as passengers. This means it would be legal to have a lesson when neither student nor instructor is current, though that’s probably a bad idea.

If you want to carry an actual passenger, then whoever is acting as PIC must be current. It is highly likely that the instructor will be, but I would confirm with them ahead of time since it’s unusual for the instructor to act as PIC on lessons with a rated pilot. Also confirm that they’re okay with a passenger, since that is also unusual and raises an obvious question of whether this is a legitimate lesson or an illegal charter flight.

Oddly, which of you acts as PIC has no effect on logging under FAA rules since an instructor can always log PIC and a rated student can log PIC whether acting as PIC or being the Sole Manipulator of Controls.

  • $\begingroup$ “…it would be legal to have a lesson when neither student nor instructor is current, though that’s probably a bad idea.” No worse of an idea than both flying solo to get current. $\endgroup$ Dec 21, 2022 at 16:04
  • $\begingroup$ @757toga The FAA does not fully agree with the NTSB; according to an ASI, they believe there is a presumption that the CFI is acting as PIC for an instructional flight, which other regs have defined as training toward a rating. That’s why there’s a reg now explicitly letting CFIs always log PIC; if they were always acting as PIC, that wouldn’t be needed. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Dec 21, 2022 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ from my understanding, CFI's can log PIC was written into the regs to help attract and retain CFI talent. Without it, the CFIs could not log PIC time and future employers would question their low PIC times. The FAA instituted that rule so aspiring professional pilots could instruct for a bit and use that time to go on to the next job. Without that rule, there wouldn't be as many CFIs to train the next generation. In some regards, it may have brought the quality of instruction down a bit. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Dec 22, 2022 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ I also know of the reasoning the FAA uses to violate not PIC pilots / instructors. The thought process is whoever has the most experience as well as the legal pilot in command will be violated. The pilot with more experience should inform the other pilots of the potential danger in what they are doing. Hence, the CFI being violated for a hard landing performed by their less experience private or commercial pilot student. It also goes with two pilot crews where the more experienced pilot is not the captain. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Dec 22, 2022 at 2:54

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