When is a passenger not a passenger?

X-Forces

Big Black Guy
One of those FAA gray areas where I wonder how others interpret it. Now mind you I already know the answer (at least the answer as far as our FSDO is concerned), but I am just wondering if other people would see it the same way, and the Scottsdale FSDO way.

So, here we go.


We all know FAR 61.57 regarding Recent Flight Experience.

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.
(2) For the purpose of meeting the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft under day VFR or day IFR, provided no persons or property are carried on board the aircraft, other than those necessary for the conduct of the flight.
(3) The takeoffs and landings required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section may be accomplished in a flight simulator or flight training device that is--
(i) Approved by the Administrator for landings; and
(ii) Used in accordance with an approved course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter.


Simple enough, you can't PIC an aircraft carrying a passenger unless you are current, right.

Well, what if there are two of you in the aircraft and both of you can legally log PIC for whatever reason (Safety pilot, Student/Instructor, etc).

Does the second pilot count as a passenger?

If you say no does that mean you can just fly forever with being 90 day/ 3 TO/L current?


What do you think?
 

Bandit_Driver

Gold Member
if it is a CFII is in the right seat then he/she would have to be giving instruction or acting as PIC and IMO you couldn't log PIC until current.

If the other pilot (non CFI) was current in the aircraft he/she would have to log PIC for the flight with you as the PAX.

my .02 worth
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
I have a letter of interpretation in my drawer at work about this.

an instructor is not a passenger, and as such the pilot does not need to be night current to carry them. The student, is also not a passenger and the instructor does not need to be current to instruct him.

They cannot both log the landings (obviously) to get current.

Edit to add:
AOPA article
Who's the passenger on this flight?

Going through my primary training, I understood that my flight instructor was the pilot in command of the flight, which made him a required crewmember. I understood that I was a student pilot, but not a required flight crewmember. But, was I a passenger? Or was I something else? I didn't really have a need to know at the time, so I never made the time to try to figure it out. I still haven't. But a recent FAA legal interpretation seems to bring me closer to answering that question from so long ago, and I must admit that the answer is not what I would have thought.
The scenario presented to the FAA asks the question in the context of night currency. FAR 61.57(b) states,
...No person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers during the period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise, unless within the preceding 90 days that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop during the period beginning one hour after sunset and ending one hour before sunrise, and--
That person acted as sole manipulator of the flight controls; and
The required takeoffs and landings were performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating is required).
The currency requirement of this regulation is linked to carrying passengers. So, if I wanted to carry passengers on a night flight, I would have to make sure that I had logged three full-stop landings at night during the past 90 days. I don't fly a lot at night, so I was almost always "out of night currency" when an opportunity came up to fly somewhere at night with other people on board. On those occasions, one night prior to the planned night flight with passengers, I would get in the airplane at night, by myself, and get current. I could have brought a flight instructor with me, but then I wouldn't have been able to log the flight as pilot in command, right? After all, wouldn't the flight instructor be a passenger? What else would the flight instructor be since I don't fly airplanes that require more than one crewmember? Well, the answer is not necessarily so simple.
Basically, this is my question: If I had a flight instructor on board the aircraft during my night flight to gain night currency, and if the flight instructor--like me--was not night current, would the flight be in violation of the regulation? At first, I would think to say "Yes, that's a violation because neither one of the pilots is night current to be able to carry another person on board the aircraft." But, the FAA says, "No, it would not be a violation because neither pilot is a passenger." Here's what the FAA says:
We agree that, for purposes of section 61.57(b), an authorized instructor providing instruction in an aircraft is not considered a passenger with respect to the person receiving instruction, even where the person receiving the instruction is acting as PIC. (The instructor must be current, qualified to instruct, and hold a category, class, and type rating in the aircraft, if a class and type rating is required.) The instructor is not a passenger because he is present specifically to train the person receiving instruction. Neither is the person receiving instruction a passenger with respect to the instructor. This training may take place, even though neither pilot has met the 61.57(b) requirements.
So, not only is it legal to take a night flight when you and your flight instructor are not night current, but both may also log it as PIC. But be careful--only a pilot who is the sole manipulator of the controls for three full-stop landings at night would be able to log the landings for purposes of night currency under FAR 61.57(b). That's something to consider when you need to get night current.
Kathy Yodice is an attorney with Yodice Associates in Washington, D.C., which provides legal counsel to AOPA and administers AOPA's legal services plan. She is an instrument-rated private pilot.
 

WildcatPilot

Well-Known Member
What about two non-current private pilots who don't have 90 day pax currency? I ran into this at work with another guy. We ended up just doing our 3 takeoffs and landings solo, but came to the conclusion that it would actually have been safer with the other (non-current) pilot in the right seat. Is this one of those times where what's legal isn't necessarily safe and vice versa?
 

Sidious

Well-Known Member
Is this one of those times where what's legal isn't necessarily safe and vice versa?

It looks like it based on the article and what was said above. If its a single pilot aircraft and both of you can't log PIC like an instructor/student or Safety Pilot then your SOL; one of you would be a passenger.

Interesting...
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
(The instructor must be current, qualified to instruct, and hold a category, class, and type rating in the aircraft, if a class and type rating is required.)

Doesn't it say right there the instructor must be current?
 

Sidious

Well-Known Member
(The instructor must be current, qualified to instruct, and hold a category, class, and type rating in the aircraft, if a class and type rating is required.)

Doesn't it say right there the instructor must be current?

I'm thinking Flight Review and CFI current. He would be current just not with PAX and since the student doesn't count as a passenger then he IS current.
 

X-Forces

Big Black Guy
So, not only is it legal to take a night flight when you and your flight instructor are not night current, but both may also log it as PIC
This is the way the Scottsdale, AZ FSDO calls it.

It is also part of our SOP at the school. As far as they are concerned as long as the occupants are rated pilots, or students, you can fly as long as you want without your 3/90 currency.


Who'd have guessed.
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
This is the way the Scottsdale, AZ FSDO calls it.

It is also part of our SOP at the school. As far as they are concerned as long as the occupants are rated pilots, or students, you can fly as long as you want without your 3/90 currency.


Who'd have guessed.
That's still a slippery slope that could be interpreted in more ways than one. Besides, who would even want to fly unless somebody on board has had the minimal 3 TOs and Ldgs within the last 90 days? Just get the three bounces done and in the logbook so that it's not ever called into question.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
That's still a slippery slope that could be interpreted in more ways than one.
Hard to say that when FAA Legal has issued official interpretations (which bdhill1979 referred to) that, at least with respect to landing currency in an instructional setting, neither CFI nor student/pilot need be current:

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...tations/data/interps/2006/Kortokraxinterp.doc

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org...etations/data/interps/2007/Olshock inter1.pdf

Sidious said:
I'm thinking Flight Review and CFI current.
It (practically speaking) really only means current in terms of the CFI certificate not having expired. CFIs don't have to have =pilot= currency unless they are acting as required flight crew (and the landing currency issue during instruction seems to be an exception to even that).
 

woutlaw

Well-Known Member
I'm almost never night current to carry pax. If I am, it's almost purely by accident.

Out of curiosity I took a look at the ol' logbook. Last night landing was Jan. 8, which was 200 hours and 50 day landings ago. Before that, I think I had two in, like October.

Since a student isn't a passenger I don't sweat it.

Now instrument currency, that I do keep up with. :)
 
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