Been doing discovery flights with a friend who is a CFI. Am I legally allowed to log PIC time without being enrolled at a flight school? Want to know before logging /flying.

  • $\begingroup$ PS enrolling in a flight school in May just getting some experience. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


In the U.S. you can log PIC time if you have a Student Pilot Certificate and a medical certificate, and your instructor has made all of the appropriate endorsements allowing you to "solo."

Being enrolled in a "Flight School" is not a requirement for solo/PIC flight. But you must be undergoing training for a pilot certificate or rating. See (4) (iii) below:

Here is the relevant U.S. Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR): 14 CFR 61.51(e)(4)

(4) A student pilot may log pilot-in-command time only when the student pilot -

(i) Is the sole occupant of the aircraft or is performing the duties of pilot of command of an airship requiring more than one pilot flight crewmember;

(ii) Has a solo flight endorsement as required under § 61.87 of this part; and

(iii) Is undergoing training for a pilot certificate or rating.

(emphasis is mine)

If your CFI friend is giving you flight instruction during these "discovery flights" the time can be logged as flight training (i.e., dual instruction/flight training received) before you obtain a Student Pilot Certificate or medical certificate. See these two references: reference 1 and reference 2


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