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If I live in Anytown and need to make a trip over to Bigcity for non-flight-training-related purposes, I have a student pilot certificate, it's just me going, and I have a solo endorsement from my instructor, is this legal? In other words, are solo flights made by student pilots for a primary purpose other than flight training legal?

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    $\begingroup$ When you are a student pretty much any flight is flight training. $\endgroup$ May 19, 2023 at 1:40

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That would be considered a cross-country solo flight.

The flight will have to be conducted within the limitations set forth in §61.89.

You must possess the following endorsements to make the flight:

  • A valid solo endorsement in the proposed make and model of aircraft (§61.87).

  • A night flight endorsement (if applicable) (§61.87).

  • A specific endorsement for each proposed cross country flight (§61.93(c)(d)), or, if the cross country flight meets the terms of §61.93(b), specific endorsement to make repeated cross country flights to and from their home airport to a specific airport within 25 nm of their home airport.

  • If the airport lies within class B airspace, a specific endorsement to operate in that specific bravo airspace (§61.95 (a), (b)).

  • If you are seeking a Sport or Recreational Pilot Certificates, and you want to fly into a towered airport for a destination, you will need an endorsement to operate from that specific airport in that specific Class B, C, or D airspace (§61.94).

I’m not sure what the term “transportation” means in the title, but about the only thing you can transport on that flight is your little pink body, and that cannot be done so for reasons of in furtherance of a business - see the rules in §61.89(a)(1 thru 4).

Aside from that, if you meet all those requirements and your instructor signs off on it, you can certainly make the flight!

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. The whole point of the question is .. "need to make a trip.." for "non-flight-training purposes". Hence for (say) a wedding or meeting or shopping. $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    May 19, 2023 at 22:44
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It depends on the circumstances. Parts 61.89 and 61.93 describe the limitations. In particular, a student pilot cannot fly in furtherance of a business. So flying yourself to a business meeting is no good but flying yourself to a wedding is probably fine.

It should go without saying that all the other requirements still apply. In particular, you need to have an appropriate endorsement. Solo endorsements are given for specific airport pairs or routes, and are not permission to go wherever you want whenever you want.

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  • $\begingroup$ It seems hard to believe that wedding is legal but meeting not. Say I'm a human "on the ground". It's equally dangerous to me if he's going to a wedding or a meeting. You see? $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    May 19, 2023 at 22:43
  • $\begingroup$ @Fattie It doesn't matter if you think it makes sense. Doing anything in furtherance of a business as a student pilot is explicitly forbidden in §61.89(a)(4). $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 19, 2023 at 22:55
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Chris, you may misunderstand me 180. Of course, he should not be allowed to go to a business meeting. Similarly, he should not be allowed to go to a wedding. $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    May 20, 2023 at 1:44
  • $\begingroup$ @Fattie It's just as dangerous to you, a person on the ground, whether they are going for a wedding or are doing it for flight training. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    May 20, 2023 at 3:10
  • $\begingroup$ The purpose of the law seems to be that you can fly as a learner/novice, only when, you're doing nothing other than literally learning, practicing, with no other goals, aims, distractions, pressures, issues. Assuming that is the point or purpose of the law, I'd assume that bot "personal business" (weddings) and "business business" (meetings) are outlawed. $\endgroup$
    – Fattie
    May 20, 2023 at 15:20

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