The definitive PIC thread.

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by EdFred, Feb 24, 2016.

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  1. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There is some definite confusion of what PIC (Pilot In Command) is, who is PIC, when one logs PIC, why the PIC can’t log PIC in some situations, and why someone who can’t act as PIC can log PIC. So let’s see if we can break it down and try to grasp that elusive concept of Acting PIC vs logging PIC.

    PIC by the simplest definition is just that - the pilot in command. 14CFR1.1 defines it as such:
    Pilot in command means the person who:
    (1) Has final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the flight;
    (2) Has been designated as pilot in command before or during the flight; and
    (3) Holds the appropriate category, class, and type rating, if appropriate, for the conduct of the flight.​

    Simple enough, correct?
    So what is the confusion on PIC?

    The confusion comes in the form of 14CFR61.51(e): Logging pilot-in-command time.

    The tendency is for people to think that acting as pilot in command is the same as logging pilot in command time. It isn’t – and that’s where the problem and confusion comes in. These are two separate concepts, but we have two separate definitions for the same term. We have a lot of these sorts of terms in the English language and when it’s a single word we call them homonyms. Like the word “bear.” Is it a noun? Is it a verb? Well the answer is yes to both questions depending on the context. No one is going to think that when I say, “a tree bears fruit,” that the tree has bears in it. Pears maybe, but probably not bears. We have the same thing with PIC. Are we talking logging PIC, or are we talking acting PIC? If we can clear that up, everything becomes much simpler.

    This is aviation and we have acronyms for everything, so maybe we should just add two more to try and eliminate the confusion. So for the rest of this writing I will use the following terms to maybe help clarify things:

    APIC – Acting Pilot in Command
    LPIC – Logging Pilot in Command​

    Now that we’ve broken them into two separate terms, distinguishing the difference should be easier.

    When can I be APIC?

    When you meet the qualifications to do so, of course. I’m going to write this under assumption that we are talking about private and student pilots in airplanes under part 91, and not the extra allowances that come with being an ATP, flying Part 121, 125, 135, or the limitations of being a sport or recreational pilot, or in gliders, balloons, or airships.

    When you can be APIC is simple enough and this can be found in 14CFR61.56 and 61.57

    If you are flying alone and VFR:
    You need a current medical
    You need to be rated in the aircraft (or signed off for solo flight in training for that rating)
    You need to be within your flight review period
    You need any endorsements required for that aircraft (high altitude, complex, high performance)​
    If you take passengers you need all the above plus:
    Daytime:
    3 takeoffs and landings within 90 days – day or night
    Nighttime:
    3 takeoffs and landings within 90 days at night to a full stop
    In a tailwheel:
    3 takeoffs and landings within 90 days in a tailwheel to a full stop​

    If you fly IFR:
    You need the 4 listed above under VFR and to be IFR current.
    That’s it, meet those requirements and for the purposes of the FAA you can be APIC. There’s nothing in there about sitting in the left seat or right seat, whether you have to wear a green shirt, a leather belt, or an ANR headset. That’s all there is to being APIC under Part 91.

    But my insurance says...That's between you and your insurance company, not you and the FAA.

    So when I’m APIC I can always be LPIC? Not always. And that’s what leads to confusion.

    When can I LPIC?

    That’s all covered in 14CFR61.51(e)(1) and its very, very simple.
    You can LPIC when:
    You are the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which you are rated.
    When you are alone in the aircraft
    When you are the APIC (and meet all the requirements I previously mentioned) and more than one pilot is required (most commonly as a safety pilot)​

    That’s it. No endorsements required, no medical required (unless you are a safety pilot – and that’s another discussion), no takeoffs and landings within 90 days, no green shirt, leather belt, or ANR headset. Doesn’t matter if you are IFR, VFR, nighttime, daytime, etc…

    There’s even a flowchart to help let you know when you can LPIC:
    http://www.sidnaw.org/LoggingPIC.pdf

    You said there are times I can be APIC but I can’t LPIC. How so?

    Imagine this scenario:
    You meet all the requirements of being APIC and you take your pilot buddy up in your Archer. Your buddy does not have a current medical but he is rated Airplane Single Engine Land. He flies the plane, does all the take offs landings, everything. You never touch the controls. You are APIC, but you were not the sole manipulator of the controls, you were not alone in the aircraft, and more than one pilot was not required. You can’t LPIC in this scenario.​

    The same thing would apply if you have a tailwheel, and your buddy doesn’t have a tailwheel endorsement, or a Comanche and your buddy doesn’t have a complex or high performance endorsement, or if flying IFR and your buddy isn’t IFR rated or current. You can be APIC but you can’t LPIC. Think of a Venn diagram with one circle as LPIC and the other APIC, there are times where you act but cant log, log but can’t act, and times when you can act and log.



    [​IMG]

    Does that clear things up?

    Yes, Nick I know that if you are on a checkride you aren't rated in the plane yet, you aren't alone, and you can log PIC.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I need a nap! :)
     
  3. Jim Rosenow

    Jim Rosenow Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    So now discuss instructors....unless we declare otherwise in advance, is my CFII, jet-jockey wife PIC by default when we're flying together in our airplanes? For sake of argument, let's assume I'm not logging it as dual instruction, and it's not for an advanced rating. Discuss.... :)

    OH, wait...and I'm properly rated and current, of course.
     
  4. Sluggo63

    Sluggo63 Line Up and Wait

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    I disagree. In your scenario, if I am APIC, and i am the one who is solely responsible for the safe conduct of the flight, I am logging that as PIC. The other guy can log what he wants, but if I "signed for the plane," I'm the PIC and should log it as such.
     
  5. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I can't find anything in 61 or 91 about who the default PIC is.

    Disagree all you want, log what you want, but it doesn't mean you are correct in the eyes of the FAA. There are numerous clarifications on this by them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  6. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Under the assumption that we are talking about private pilots in airplanes under part 91, and not the extra allowances that come with being an CFI, ATP, flying Part 121, 125, 135, or the limitations of being a sport or recreational pilot, or in gliders, balloons, or airships.

    I let my 12 year old nephew fly the airplane and I never touch the stick (I give a little help on the rudder for takeoff / landing). Now what?
     
  7. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Problem is, a lot of these logging questions are asked by pilots that are trying to make a career of flying, and the 'correct' answer will many times will get your resume thrown in the trash. I'm only concerned with the FAA answer insofar as I can prove currency. Otherwise my logbook conforms with the industry norms.
     
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  8. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    Log, or don't log, anything you want. It's legal, either way. Other than what you purport to be accurate, by FAA's definitions, for currency or an additional rating, you may (or may not) log as you please.
     
  9. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Damn the regulations, full speed ahead.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2016
  10. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I believe there is, but I haven't seen the letter, that says something to the effect of at least one person can log PIC time, in this case the APIC would log it.

    Just like what's between you and your insurance company, that's between you and your employers.
     
  11. kayoh190

    kayoh190 En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I agree.
     
  12. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Log what you need ,fly what you want.
     
  13. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

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    If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one around, is it loggable?
     
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  14. Coloradokevin

    Coloradokevin Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Oh… I see what you did there. Trees can be logged! :)

    These questions of logbook entries always give me headaches. Sometimes the question has an easy answer, other times the waters are murky. I only fly for fun at this stage in my life, but I still want to do things the right way.
     
  15. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    Is there a banner for "First Non-Mod Sticky under Xenforo" ?
     
  16. Mason

    Mason Pattern Altitude

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    log a rhythm.
     
  17. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Line Up and Wait

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    And therefore flights can happen where no one logs PIC? If I fly with my student pilot son, and he is sole manipulator, he cannot log PIC because he is a student pilot, and I cannot log because I was not sole manipulator, or alone, or more than one pilot is not required. Why do I have to pay for gas if the flight never happened?
     
  18. Sundancer

    Sundancer En-Route

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    I don't know this, and will gracefully accept correction, but I suspect an examiner or FAA rep isn't going to examine every log entry you are using to qualify for whatever rating you're aspiring to. No "Aha! You improperly logged .5 of PIC, when Section 6 of Obscure and Pointless Reg 123.4 (as interpreted by our FSDO, but not the others) forbids dong so!"

    I think (could be wrong) that most pilots will have likely passed the minimum thresholds just because of the vagaries of life, airplane scheduling, interruptions in training, etc.

    I think the oral and check ride are the weighty matters. If it turns out you have 249.5 PIC, by the book, instead of 250, no one is going to care.
     
  19. jaymark6655

    jaymark6655 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It is as long as someone doesn't catch you, then its a huge fine.
    I like the APIC and LPIC, think that would help in future post to keep those separate.
     
  20. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Previously covered. But as the regulation is written without any clarification/interpretation, yes, there are flights where no one could log anything. Hence the letter.

    Why do I have to pay for school taxes when I don't have any kids?
     
  21. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The fact of the matter is that you can pretty much fabricate anything you want in your logbook and get away with it. So, when it comes to reporting the hours required for the next rating (or for insurance (or for currency (or for...))) it's up to the pilot to either play by the rules - or not.
     
  22. Fearless Tower

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    I would submit that it isn't so much about 'logging according to industry norms' that sends some resumes to the circular file as it is simply the quantity and quality of time.

    A pilot with 10 hours of Safety Pilot time logged as PIC out of 1000 hours of total PIC time is going to be looked at a lot differently than another pilot who has 300 hours of SP time out of 500 hours of total PIC.

    If half of your time is sitting in the right seat while someone else is flying the airplane with a hood on, it isn't going to make you very competitive regardless of how you log it.
     
  23. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Except for the two guys that both logged oodles of PIC XC time for the same flights, and the DPE caught it.
    However I've heard some claim here that the industry would rather have the 300hr APIC safety pilot guy rather than the guy who is actually doing the flying. Go figure that one out. Sitting there looking out the window is more preferable than actually flying.
     
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  24. Sundancer

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    I was thinking about the basically honest PIC, but one not interested in the more arcane and nonsensical corners of the FAA rules; one who may have loged an hour or two as PIC that didn't meet the letter of the rule. But, yeah, definitley not a real cheat. . .

    Not that I care, and please don't bother to look it up, but I recall some dust-up when I was flying for CAP, where the Feds barred logging PIC time, even when alone in the airplane! I think it was related to flying as a radio relay aircraft. The details have faded, especially since it was universally ignored. .
     
  25. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    EdFred did indeed make the exception for ATP, but I suppose two people can log PIC in certain situations.

    The whole thing is legit, but it is odd. I'm betting the Feds got backed into the corner on this, and if they could do a clean slate rewrite, it would read very differently.
     
  26. Iceman21

    Iceman21 Pre-Flight

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    Wait wait wait, by this logic there are times that I as a CFI to an appropriately rated pilot (ie, commercial student), that I cannot log the flight as PIC since I did not touch the controls and am not acting as PIC. Is that what the OP is saying?
     
  27. dtuuri

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    What do you think they invented logbooks for in the first place? To record the time you spent wiggling the controls? Or the time you were responsible for the flight? If the former, why didn't they call it "Manipulation time"? If the latter, why didn't they call it "Pilot in command time". Oh, yeah they did call it that. Maybe that's the way it ought to be, do you think?

    dtuuri
     
  28. Gucci Pilot

    Gucci Pilot Pattern Altitude

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    Under the Logging PIC portion in the FARS:

    (3) A certificated flight instructor may log pilot in command flight time for all flight time while serving as the authorized instructor in an operation if the instructor is rated to act as pilot in command of that aircraft
     
  29. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Didn't read the part where I said I was only addressing private and student pilots did you?

    Also note the huge note on the flow chart.
     
  30. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    Obviously you're not referring to me, as I have clearly addressed that in my post. I assume you you mean someone else.
     
  31. Salty

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    So, dual training for an endorsement like tailwheel is still loggable by the student because he "is the sole manipulator of the controls for an aircraft in which is is rated", even though he doesn't yet have the endorsement?
     
  32. drotto

    drotto Cleared for Takeoff

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    I do not think so. You must be fully qualified and endorsed to fly the plane before you can log PIC. So when you are training for the rating you are not allowed to fly the plane without the instructor, therefore it is not PIC time.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  33. Salty

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    The way I read the OP as quoted, you cannot act as PIC, but you can log PIC.
     
  34. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Heh. Good question. I haven't seen a tailwheel student yet who is the "sole manipulator of the controls"!
     
  35. Salty

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    also a good point, but only complicates it further. lol
     
  36. Palmpilot

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    Yes, because an endorsement is not a rating. 14 CFR 1.1 defines a rating as appearing on a certificate (like a pilot certificate, for example). Endorsements appear in your logbook, which is not a certificate.

    "Rating means a statement that, as a part of a certificate, sets forth special conditions, privileges, or limitations."
     
  37. AggieMike88

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    I like pie bookmark
     
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  38. MauleSkinner

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    I haven't seen a pilot of a two-pilot jet who's "sole manipulator of the flight controls".
     
  39. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Correct if the student holds something higher than a student pilot certificate.

    Logging != Acting
    As long as you are rated you can log.

    Correct.
     
  40. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    In the post that follows is the link to Ed’s flow chart. It is accurate for, I dare say, all of part 91 logging scenarios. A lot of those scenarios have been discussed in this thread. This thread is locked.
     
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