Safety Pilot for IFR Student? Legal?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by VWGhiaBob, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. VWGhiaBob

    VWGhiaBob Line Up and Wait

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    I'm IFR and current with medical. A CFII has asked me to serve as a safety pilot for his student who wants to shoot practice approaches under the hood.

    I am not a CFI nor a CFII. Would this be legal? Besides the legality aspect, I'm not sure I'm comfortable riding in a plane with a VFR pilot with a hood on.

    But is it legal? How could it be?
     
  2. bluesky74656

    bluesky74656 Line Up and Wait

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    Assuming the student is an Instrument student and has a Private certificate already, it is absolutely legal as long as you remain VFR. Even if the student isn’t rated, you could do it as long as you were the agreed upon PIC.

    When I was an instrument student I grabbed a friend of mine and knocked out a couple long cross countries under the hood just to build some hours. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.
     
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  3. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    Not only is it legal, it was encouraged by my flight school to save money. They even paired me up with a safety pilot, and we’ve been friends ever since.
     
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  4. Tommar98

    Tommar98 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’m a little surprised as an IFR rating pilot you are not familiar with safety pilot requirements. 91.109:

    (c) No person may operate a civil aircraft in simulated instrument flight unless—
    (1) The other control seat is occupied by a safety pilot who possesses at least:
    (i) A private pilot certificate with category and class ratings appropriate to the aircraft being flown;

    I’ve flown as safety pilot and have had another IFR student do the same for me. It’s excellent learning tool for safety pilot and student.


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  5. Somedudeintn

    Somedudeintn Cleared for Takeoff

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    I’m not surprised. Many students go through their training and spend all the time with a CFI instead of a safety Pilot. This is certainly not a bad idea.

    Knowing safety pilot requirements isn’t important unless you will be acting as or using a safety pilot.

    That being said I like using a safety pilot and being a safety pilot!
     
  6. Tommar98

    Tommar98 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just to add one more thing. You might be thinking in terms of a CFII in right seat providing instruction. You’re not doing that as a safety pilot. You’re there just to watch for other aircraft and make sure pilot doesn’t wander into clouds and maintains VFR.


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  7. pdonahue

    pdonahue Pre-Flight

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    Then you shouldn't do it even if it's legal (which it certainly is).
     
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  8. kath

    kath Line Up and Wait

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    Yup, totally legal if you're rated in category/class, and medicalled.

    Establish a set of rules and brief 'em with the other pilot before takeoff:
    -- Decide who is going to serve as PIC for the flight, and "swap credentials" so you each know what the other is allowed or not allowed to do
    -- Discuss that the flight will stay VFR
    -- Decide who is going to do what on the radio. The way I've usually done it, the hooded pilot talks to Approach/Tower, and the safety pilot talks to CTAF. But you can do it any way you like.
    -- Rehearse a my-airplane/your-airplane exchange of controls
    -- Make sure everyone's comfortable yielding the controls to you immediately if you (as the one with eyes) see anything amiss out the window
    -- Make it clear that you're just a safety pilot, not an instructor. Your job is to watch for traffic, and for things like entering someone's airspace, getting too close to terrain or a cloud, etc., and *not* to make sure they're centering a needle or doing approaches correctly.

    It can be fun!

    Edit: But never serve as a safety pilot for a spouse. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  9. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 Cleared for Takeoff

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    No requirement to stay VFR either. If the safety pilot is Instrument rated and proficient, it is legal to file and fly IFR with the instrument student in the left seat. Granted you should be comfortable monitoring from the right seat, wouldn't recommend it for low time pilots.

    It is very common for instrument students to share time with safety pilots as a way to build hours and save costs for both pilots.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  10. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    This has to be a troll post. Has to be.
     
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  11. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Nah. He didn't ask how to log the flight.
     
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  12. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm just stunned that someone who is IFR is completely unfamiliar with the concept of a safety pilot, and is scared to fly with someone with a view limiting device. I figured there is no way possible this is a serious post. NFW.
     
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  13. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    Your duties as safety pilot are primarily see and avoid.
     
  14. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I stopped being stunned by these examples of lack of knowledge a long time ago, unfortunately.
     
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  15. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    You only have to score 70% on the written. That leaves a lot of room for gaps in knowledge. I'm sure we all have them.
     
  16. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I don’t have them...I don’t know of anything I don’t know. ;)
     
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  17. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yeah, at some point they are no longer referred to as gaps, but as chasms. :D
     
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  18. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    But then only one pilot can log the time (assuming this is being done in the typical GA single pilot airplane). Its a bit of a weird quirk in the regulations if you ask me but once you are flying IFR, a safety pilot is no longer a required member of the crew and therefore only one of the 2 pilots can log the time.

    Meh, the Op didnt seem wholly unfamiliar with the concept of a safety pilot, just the concept of a safety pilot for a non-instrument rated pilot. While he might need a safety pilot every now and again, he's already instrument rated and it didn't sound like he had the same fear acting as a safety pilot for an instrument rated pilot but there are plenty of people who fly only with an instructor in getting their instrument rating so the idea of using a safety pilot as a VFR-only pilot prior to having your instrument rating would be foreign to them. There are even some "lucky" folks out there who are able to maintain their IFR currency with approaches in actual IMC conditions so they dont have regular need of a safety pilot either.

    Plus to some degree it would depend on when the person got their instrument rating. 61.195 was revised in 2009 and in its prior iteration, it didnt really place any limitation on amount/level of instrument training a CFI could provide, a source of some confusion that is still circulates today. If they got their instrument rating prior to 2009, maybe they used a CFI and a CFI/I... I note this since the OP stated he's neither a CFI or CFII which would seem to indicate some belief that a CFI could be safety pilot offering "instrument training."

    Lastly, the line between what is "instructing" and what is "friendly advice" can be somewhat blurred too. Its kind of like all the videos on youtube that say "I'm not an instructor and this video is not instructional, you should work with an instructor" yet we all know that to a certain degree, they are in fact instructional; even many posts/discussions/debates on this board border on instruction. Most people would find it difficult not to critique the other pilot, especially when its known that they are working towards that rating... I mean if the student has a full scale deflection and is still trying to recapture, as the safety pilot you are supposed to just sit there and let them do what they want as long as the safety of the flight isn't jeopardized but we all know that's not what they should have done... Or maybe they keep dropping below the glideslope on the ILS, do you not say anything and let them think they did great?

    Most people want to help others to succeed and even those who have no interest in the success of others tend to have a superiority complex and either situation lends itself to the safety pilot saying "you'd done messed up."

    Prior to getting my CFII, I would critique the flight post-flight and offer my thoughts/suggestions (much like a DPE often does... waiting until after the exam to critique and instruct). The only thing that really changed when I got my CFII was my ability to critique in the air during the procedure and tell them to correct as well as demo the procedure and walk them through it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  19. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Flying IFR doesn't preclude needing a view limiting device. Can be CAVOK and be IFR. The rules under which the flight is flown does not limit logging. PF still logs as sole manipulator, PNF still logs as acting PIC since the PF is under the hood. Now if IMC - like legit in the clouds visibility 0 - and the PF is NOT wearing a view limiting device - then I agree with you, only one pilot logs it since the 'safety pilot' isn't required as a safety pilot at that point, and there is no provision for the PNF to log the time. But even if in and out of the clouds and the PF keeps the hood on while in them, the safety pilot keeps on logging PIC.

    If I am correct, the OP got his IR since he joined the board, which was after 2009. I do agree that a safety pilot doesn't just sit there and look for planes, and as a safety pilot I will chime in when they aren't where they are supposed to be.
     
  20. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I agree with @EdFred. This is not accurate. The regs require a safety pilot whenever we "operate a civil aircraft in simulated instrument flight." Nothing quirky about it. Pretty straightforward language. Any time the Pilot Flying is using a device which limits his or her view outside the cockpit ("simulated instrument flight") so the PF cannot fulfill their see-and-avoid requirements. Doesn't matter if the flight is under IFR or VFR.

    Just about every "but what if...?" I've seen is nothing but an effort to create an issue where none exists.

    Same for searching for distinctions between "flight training" or "flight instruction" under the FAR and what we generically refer to as "instruction" outside the FAR. Even without YouTube, what is generically referred to "instruction" has always taken place. I insisted a non-CFI friend teach me how to fly his RV6A before I would agree to do his flight review in it. Aircraft salesmen giving demonstration flights to potential customers who have never flown that type before are without doubt educating the customer on the operation of the aircraft, yet the FAA recognizes it as a private pilot activity.

    There are plenty of things in the FAR which are a bit vague or poorly written. No need to create issues which are not there.
     
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  21. Bill Jennings

    Bill Jennings Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My CFII had another student at the same level of training, he put the two of us together to train. As you said, it saved money, and we were much harder on each other than our CFII. We're still friends and still partners in the Mooney.
     
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  22. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    An instrument trainee with a safety pilot is the closest thing we have to instrument solo. A great way to practice what has been learned.
     
  23. RussR

    RussR Cleared for Takeoff

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    We discussed safety pilot rules, logging, medical requirements and more on episode 184 of the Stuck Mic AvCast, for anybody who wants some more information:

    http://stuckmicavcast.com/safety/smac184-good-safety-pilot/

    (I know, I see the words "Safety Pilot" in a thread and immediately post this link. I should just write a script to do it automatically! But it was one of my favorite episodes, primarily because the same questions come up a lot.)
     
  24. VWGhiaBob

    VWGhiaBob Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks all for the guidance...I learned something...and especially appreciate the guidance from kath and others.

    To Tommar98...who was surprised I didn’t have 91.109 fresh in mind, one of the beauties of this site is as pilots we all know we don’t remember everything or know everything. Even folks like me who passed IFR on the first try and scored nearly perfect on the test have something to learn. Since I got my IFR at 63 almost 2 years ago, I can’t think of a flight where I didn’t learn something, or recall some regulation that was buried deep in my training and in the back of my mind. I’m not “surprised” at all that this one detail of my training was missed. But thanks to my colleagues here, I was corrected quickly.

    Now I’ll move on to the next “lesson learned”. I won’t be surprised if it holds some detail that ALSO either wasn’t covered in my training or I forgot. That’s what makes this fun...the learning never stops.

    Most recently, I have become quite the expert in advanced and complex ADS-B systems for glass cockpits, all in my journey to figure out how to comply with my Cirrus. That’s what sooooo cool about this hobby...the learning and releasing never stop!

    Thanks again to one and all!
     
  25. VWGhiaBob

    VWGhiaBob Line Up and Wait

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    Addendum from the "dumb", ignorant, "troll poster" OP: Yes, I recently passed IFR with a top score on my test and a comment from the DPE that I was one of the best prepared applicant's he had seen. He even contacted my CFII who was thrilled, because it helps his credibility.

    It's interesting when someone like me puts out a legitimate question and some folks pounce and others are helpful. I have thick skin, and the benefits of learning outweigh the insults.

    Obviously based on the exchange above, this is not an open and shut case.

    And here's something more important I discovered on this journey: Many insurance policies will not cover this scenario. My broker says the issue is that if there's an accident, my policy and many others cover me only for a tiny portion of the hull value. Medical expenses and liability are not covered. So for folks like me with a sizeable estate, there's the additional question of whether or not we're putting our families and savings at risk and are we OK with that risk.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  26. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I read the original post by @midwestpa24 as implying IFR/IMC but you do raise a valid point that I had not previously considered with regards to the possibility of a non-rated instrument student being able to fly under the hood and log PIC time for being the sole-manipulator of the controls while the second instrument rated pilot is able to log PIC time as safety pilot and as being a required member of the crew and it all being perfectly fine so long as the first pilot remains under the hood but would this not then be able to apply to actual instrument conditions not under the hood?

    Pilot A is the non-instrument rated safety pilot. He's the sole manipulator of the controls and is flying IFR/IMC not under the hood.
    Pilot B is the instrument rated safety pilot. He's not manipulating the controls but he is a required crew member and acting PIC in order to fly IFR/IMC.

    I'll grant that if Pilot A is instrument rated, then Pilot B is no longer required, unless Pilot A is not current...

    I'm reminded of this thread/conversation:
    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/can-i-file-and-fly-ifr-without-the-rating.106301/

    Which is really just boils down to the whole "acting" vs "logging" PIC debate.

    The first part of my post, which is what @EdFred responded to, was addressing @midwestpa24 's comment that the operation doesn't need to be VFR which I had read to mean IFR/IMC. The rest of my post was addressing @EdFred 's disbelief that someone could obtain their instrument rating without knowing the rules regarding a safety-pilot, specifically the rules around a safety-pilot for a non-instrument rated pilot working towards their rating. I dont think I was creating issue with things in the FAR so much as I was pointing out why the vagueness of the FAR's can create such scenarios that can make you have to think "is this really allowed?"

    I'd point out other areas in the FAR's where such issues exist and the FAA has taken contradicting positions on some of them but then I'd be making issue of the FAR vagueness rather than point to the vagueness as where the question came from.

    I'd also note that I used "quirk" meaning a peculiarity or idiosyncrasy in the way the FAR's are applied, which I believe is still true.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  27. VWGhiaBob

    VWGhiaBob Line Up and Wait

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    Thanks for this...will listen today!
     
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  28. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In this particular scenario, only one pilot - Pilot A - would log PIC time. Being required crew does not automagically grant the ability to log PIC.
     
  29. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is why its important to discuss and establish who is going to ACT as PIC on the flight.

    You probably have 2 options as it relates to the insurance*:
    A) You go up as the safety pilot and ACT as PIC in which case you need to exercise your authority as Pilot in Command and take control if you feel the safety of flight is in jeopardy for any reason. Should something happen (airspace violation, crash, etc) the FAA will hold you responsible. As far as insurance goes, your insurance would be primary and it would be difficult if not impossible to absolutely and conclusively prove who was at the controls at the time of the incident.

    B) You go up as the safety pilot and serve as SIC. The other pilot is ultimately responsible for compliance with all regulations and traffic avoidance despite being under the hood. The FAA would hold them responsible for any incident and as far as insurance goes, their insurance would be primary. The problem with this scenario is that in the event of a mid-air or CFIT, their insurance may try to come after you for damages for your failure to see-and-avoid other aircraft and/or terrain, an abrogation of duty. Your insurance is likely to offer you very little protection in this scenario.

    The issue of course becomes more complicated if you or the other pilot owns the plane and/or you dont meet the open-pilot requirements of that plane's insurance.

    Obviously, regardless of the details of whether you are acting as PIC or SIC, you are putting yourself at risk any time you climb into the cockpit so that risk should be weighed and measured accordingly and if you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel unsafe, then you should act to correct that (CRM and all that... You can override the designated PIC if required).


    *Note: I'm not familiar with your policy or the details contained therein nor am I an attorney or insurance adjudicator versed in insurance/liability law. The above are observations on how it would likely play out but you should refer to your own insurance policy for more details.
     
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  30. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yes.

    I guess if you think the requirement for a safety pilot is quirky, then it's quirky for you.
     
  31. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One always needs to read the insurance policy and see how one fits into it (implicit in the last item in my signature block).
     
  32. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    My insurance policy says:

    THE PILOT FLYING THE AIRCRAFT: The aircraft must be operated in flight only by a person shown below, who
    must have a current and proper (1) medical certificate and (2) pilot certificate with necessary ratings
    as required by the FAA for each flight. There is no coverage under the policy if the pilot does not meet
    these requirements.​

    A safety pilot is not flying the aircraft.
     
  33. apr911

    apr911 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not the safety pilot requirement itself but the “when” a safety pilot is considered required crew.

    The fact you can be an instrument student flying in IMC on an IFR flight plan with an IR rated pilot as safety pilot and as soon as you remove the hood, one of you is no longer required is quirky...
     
  34. IK04

    IK04 Cleared for Takeoff

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    In the very brief time I worked for Embry-Riddle as a CFII, they employed the "Gemini" program. Remember that?

    It required there always be three people in the airplane, two students and an instructor. That way, one student was under the hood and one was not, but observing. The instructor sat in the right seat and was the safety pilot.

    https://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/inst_reports2.cfm?article=4984
     
  35. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Verified with an insurance company that somebody who does not meet the requirements of the open pilot or is not named on the insurance can act as safety pilot PIC as long as the insured is the one on the controls. That's what the underwriters care about - who has their hands on the plane.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  36. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Welcome to the world of Regulation Construction where if you can see past the second turn of your colon you are overqualified to write regulations.
     
  37. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    Only one of them is ever required in that scenario.
     
  38. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Say what? A non-IFR pilot hitting a tower below minimums while the safety pilot/PIC is scanning for traffic won't cause the underwriter to subrogate the PIC?
     
  39. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

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    Done it a lot from both seats. I like it and it is a great way to meet other pilots and foster camaraderie. I do not bother with the PIC game played so the safety can log time because I am not interested in being the legal PIC unless I am the PF also. The 2-1/2 most important things, and they were likely already mentioned.

    1. Your primary task is VFR see-and-avoid. Do not get sucked into looking at the panel, keep your eyes outside.
    2. You are the safety PILOT. If you ever think safety is compromised then remember the PILOT part of that and take the controls. Immediately and without hesitation. Agree on the transfer protocol and try it once or twice unannounced.
    2-1/2. You are NOT the instructor. Not your job to critique or fix or alert the pilot unless specific parameters for doing so have been agreed upon beforehand. If he is 400 feet off altitude, 30d off heading, about to go full deflection on the ILS, etc., not your problem unless he has asked you to alert him to deviations of a certain magnitude. Provided, of course, you feel that safety of flight is not compromised.
     
  40. Tommar98

    Tommar98 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Based on what? Safety pilot is not in control of aircraft. They’d be barking up the wrong tree. Also what’s a non IFR pilot doing flying in below minimum weather for? He’s have bigger issues to deal with.


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