Q: I’m out of currency to take passengers in my Cessna 172. When I go flying to do my three bounces, I would prefer to have someone with me for an extra set of eyes and ears. Does it have to be a CFI or can it be a private pilot, as long as he or she is current?
A: FAR 61.57(a), General experience, states that no person may act as pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days as the sole manipulator of the controls and in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type certificate is required). If the other person is not a CFI or if flight instruction is not being actively given, then any other person in the aircraft would be considered a passenger and therefore, the PIC must have met the currency requirements of FAR 61.57 in order to carry that person aboard the aircraft. In your circumstance, then, if a private pilot was on board your aircraft, you would not be able to act as PIC carrying him or her as a passenger. However, if the private pilot is current and is willing and qualified to act as PIC of the aircraft, that pilot may be on board the aircraft as PIC and you could be the sole manipulator of the controls in getting your three bounces. I would make sure that both of you understand your roles in the aircraft before taking off, to avoid any misunderstandings.
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