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Logging Time: Safety Pilot

A safety pilot is required by FAR 91.109(b) when the other pilot is "under the hood."

The safety pilot:

  • Must be at least a private pilot. (FAR 91.109[b][1])
  • Must hold the category and class ratings (airplane, single-engine land) for the aircraft flown. (FAR 91.109[b][1])
  • Must have a current medical. As a required flight crewmember, the safety pilot must have a current medical certificate. (FAR 61.3[c])
  • Must occupy the other control seat (normally, although not required, the right or "copilot's" seat). (FAR 91.109[b][1])
  • Safety pilot.
  • Pilot-in-command time may be logged if acting as PIC.
    • The two pilots must agree that the safety pilot is the acting PIC.
    • PIC time may be logged only while the other pilot is "under-the-hood."
    • PIC time may be logged because FAR 61.51(e)(1)(iii) allows certificated pilots to log PIC when acting as PIC of an aircraft on which more than one pilot is required by the regulations (91.109[b]) under which the flight is conducted. A safety pilot is required for "hood work."
  • Second-in-command time may be logged if not acting as PIC.
    • Usually the case if the safety pilot cannot act as PIC. An example might be when the safety pilot is not endorsed for the particular airplane (such as in a high-performance aircraft).
    • SIC time may be logged because FAR 61.51(f)(2) allows a pilot to log all flight time during which he acts as second in command of an aircraft under which more than one pilot is required by the regulations (91.109[b]) under which the flight is conducted.

Other considerations

  • Summary of logging PIC. Both pilots may log PIC time if the safety pilot is the acting pilot in command. FAR 61.51(e) allows both the sole manipulator of the controls and the acting PIC to log PIC time.
  • Acting as PIC. The safety pilot should not take the role as acting PIC lightly. What if the aircraft is involved in an accident, incident, or violates a FAR?
  • High-performance aircraft. AOPA has a letter of interpretation that states when the safety pilot is not the acting PIC, a high-performance "sign-off" is not required. However, some FAA divisions may interpret the regulations differently. Prudence suggests that the safety pilot be endorsed for high-performance aircraft and thoroughly familiar and current in the aircraft.
  • Recording flight. AOPA suggests that both pilots include in their logbook the name of the other pilot. This may assist you if the FAA ever questions the logged time.

A single-yoke aircraft may not be used unless:

  • The single-engine airplane is equipped with a single throwover control wheel. (FAR 91.109[b][3])
  • The safety pilot determines the flight can be conducted safely. (FAR 91.109[b][3][i])
  • The person manipulating the controls is at least a private pilot who holds the category and class ratings of the aircraft being flown. (FAR 91.109[b][3][ii])

Updated Friday, September 08, 2006 9:42:21 AM