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Archive for the 'Regulations' Category

Logging Cessna Conquest Time

Saturday, April 15th, 2023

I was talking to someone who just got his multi-rating and was excited that he got to fly a Cessna Conquest. He didn’t think he could log the time because it is a pressurized plane capable of flying over 25,000′ and he doesn’t have a high-altitude endorsement. He can’t ACT as PIC but he can […]

Cross County Definition

Monday, January 9th, 2023

For some reason there have recently been several posts on pilot blogs about cross-country logging for ratings. I have no idea why since the regs are very straightforward about what is and is not considered cross-country. § 61.1 Applicability and definitions. Cross-country time means – (i) Except as provided in paragraphs (ii) through (vi) of […]

This is why you always land with an hour of fuel.

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Runway closure The single-engine 1979 Cessna Skyhawk came to rest on the embankment in grass beside the runway, across from Thread Lane next to Buckley Road. According to the flight-tracking website flightaware.com, the plane had just returned from a 2-1/2-hour circle trip to Bakersfield when the rough landing happened at around 1:30 p.m. Don’t know […]

Pilot Medicals

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

At the July EAA meeting a newly minted AME stopped by and talked to us about pilot medicals. There seems to be a lot of confusion about medicals and BasicMed so I put together this post. You can find the regulation for Class I, II, and III medicals in § 61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and […]

Flight Review

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Even though reviewing the flight rules of Part 91 is required of pilots, it is my experience that most pilots don’t know the details of the regs—which is not necessarily bad depending on the reg. Most pilots I know fly VFR and make sure they have at least 1 hour of fuel when they land. […]


Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

As I discussed in this post, although there is one definition of night in the FARs (Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning civil twilight, as published by the American Air Almanac, converted to local time.) there are lots of rules that we generally consider as […]

Certificates, Ratings, and Endorsements

Tuesday, December 29th, 2020

I have referred to CFI Part 61 and 91 hundreds of times in the last 20 years and my understanding would have been greatly enhanced if I had a better grasp of the differences between certificates, ratings, and endorsements. Everyone knows that your pilot’s license isn’t really a license but is actually a certificate. And […]

CFI qualifications for instrument training

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

Hi John, got a question, thought the FAR man would be best to ask. Training instrument to a student pilot the 3 hrs. required 61.109, can a CFI do that, not CFII? I have found multiple discussions on that, looks like they all say yes, just not the 15 hrs. required in 61.65(d). What do […]

Who can sign off on using an ATD for training?

Thursday, December 12th, 2019

TL;DR Training: You need a CFII to sign off on Basic Aviation Training Device (BATD) hours that are used for the Instrument Rating or Commercial Certificate. You can use up to 10 hours in a BATD or 20 hours in a Advanced Aviation Training Device (AATD) CFI can sign off on up to 2.5 hours […]

Basic Med Can Be Used To Take Practical Tests

Saturday, August 10th, 2019

I was chatting with a person who went for the commercial checkride and the examiner wouldn’t start the checkride because the name on the 3rd Class Medical Certificate used a middle initial while the FAA records in IACRA had the full middle name. Most pilots that I know get their Basic Med and 3rd Class […]

Technically Advanced Aircraft

Friday, May 10th, 2019

I just re-read §61.129 Aeronautical experience. (j) Technically advanced airplane. Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, a technically advanced airplane must be equipped with an electronically advanced avionics system that includes the following installed components: (1) An electronic Primary Flight Display (PFD) that includes, at a minimum, an airspeed indicator, turn coordinator, attitude indicator, heading […]

Utility Category

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

All aircraft have restrictions on the types of maneuvers that they are certificated for. My Cherokee has a Normal Category of operations with corresponding Weight and Balance limitations, and a Utility Category where limited aerobatics are allowed. With the rewrite of Part 23, the FAA proposes to eliminate commuter, utility, and acrobatic airplane categories from […]

Safety Pilot may log time as SIC or PIC

Sunday, April 7th, 2019

There are two legal interpretations that allow you to log SIC or PIC time when acting as a safety pilot. The first, Beaty (2013), addressed logging cross-country time for the safety pilot, but explicitly says that the safety pilot can log the time as PIC if they are acting as PIC. In your first scenario, […]

Commercial Pilot Opportunities

Monday, November 5th, 2018

You will often see lists of things that you can do with your commercial pilot certificate either as a job or to build time for the airlines. You can work for a Part 135 operation or in a corporate flight department operating under Part 91 but there are other things you can do as well. […]

Weather Conditions for Takeoff

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

There are two FARs that govern takeoff. The first is §91.155 and quite clearly states that no one may take off under VFR (except at Class G airports) if the ceiling is less than 1,000′. You could ask for a Special VFR, but you might have to wait for IFR traffic to land and take […]

CFI is acting as PIC

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

In a footnote to Administrator v Strobel, the NTSB states: Our precedent makes clear that, “[r]egardless of who is manipulating the controls of the aircraft during an instructional flight, or what degree of proficiency the student has attained, the flight instructor is always deemed to be the pilot-in-command.” Administrator v. Hamre, 3 NTSB 28, 31 […]

Required Documents in the Airplane

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

We are all taught the ARROW acronym—Airworthiness Certificate, Registration, Radio License, Operating Limitations, Weight and Balance. I previously wrote about this topic and thought that it deserved a revisit. There are three occasions when you may be asked for these documents. When being ramp checked, when the aircraft goes in for an annual inspection, or […]

FAA Order JO 7110.65W Air Traffic Control.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

I ran across this order when researching the previous post. If you want to know what ATC is going to have you do, this order will give you a heads-up. This order prescribes air traffic control procedures and phraseology for use by personnel providing air traffic control services. Controllers are required to be familiar with […]

Required Equipment

Friday, February 10th, 2017

14 CFR §91.205 Instrument and equipment requirements is fairly wordy, so to remember the equipment needed for day VFR pilots use A TOMATO FLAMES. For night flight and IFR you don’t really need any acronyms (though some people like GRABCARD for Instrument flight) since the additional items are fairly obvious. Day VFR Anti-collision lamps (certificated […]

Contact and Visual Approaches

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

When studying for the IFR Knowledge Test I ran across a couple of questions on contact and visual approaches. According to the AIM, Pilots operating in accordance with an IFR flight plan, provided they are clear of clouds and have at least 1 mile flight visibility and can reasonably expect to continue to the destination […]

Required Documents—Airman

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

In order to act as Pilot in Command of an aircraft a pilot must have three things in their possession: Medical, Photo ID, and Pilot’s Certificate. Per §61.51 student pilots must carry their logbook on solo cross-country flights and sport pilots must carry logbooks (or other evidence of endorsements) on all flights. §61.3 Requirement for […]

Night Currency for CFI

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

If, in the previous 90 days, a person has not completed three takeoffs and landings in the period from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise then they may not carry passengers. If you haven’t been up in the dark for a while, you may want to take a CFI with you. The […]

FAA Glossaries

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

I neglected to post about my app for iDevices that is now available on the Apple App Store. This app is a collection of Glossaries found in FAA publications for pilots. It includes terms and acronyms from seven FAA books including: Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, Airplane Flying Handbook, Instrument Flying Handbook, and Aviation Weather. It […]

Right of Way

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

14 CFR § 91.113 Right-of-way rules: Except water operations. (a) Inapplicability. This section does not apply to the operation of an aircraft on water. (b) General. When weather conditions permit, regardless of whether an operation is conducted under instrument flight rules or visual flight rules, vigilance shall be maintained by each person operating an aircraft […]

AC 91-78 Use of Class 1 or Class 2 Electronic Flight Bag (EFB)

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

The FAA has issued an advisory circular that provides aircraft owners, operators, and pilots operating aircraft under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, with information for removal of paper aeronautical charts and other documentation from the cockpit through the use of either portable or installed cockpit displays (electronic flight […]

IFR flight plan in non-IFR aircraft.

Monday, October 10th, 2011

A recent Opinion by the FAA Office of the Chief Counsel, changes my understanding of when you can file an IFR flight plan. I had been under the impression that both the plane and a pilot had to be IFR rated to file and fly under IFR, but his opinion states, Your fIrst question asks […]

Passenger Briefing

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

You’re supposed to say the first part of this to all passengers, especially examiners. The last part just makes sense to me. As PIC I am responsible for the safety of the passengers and the safe operation of the aircraft. Please keep your seatbelt tightly fastened at all times during the flight. The harness slides […]

Fly the Runway Heading

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

From the Pilot Controller Glossary and Instrument Procedures Handbook: Runway Heading The magnetic direction that corresponds with the runway centerline extended, not the painted runway numbers on the runway. Pilots cleared to “fly or maintain runway heading” are expected to fly or maintain the published heading that corresponds with the extended centerline of the departure […]

Sharing Expenses

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

The FAA takes a very strict stance in interpreting how and when pilots can be reimbursed for a flight. § 61.113 Private pilot privileges and limitations: Pilot in command. (c) A private pilot may not pay less than the pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight with passengers, provided the expenses involve […]

Aircraft Registration

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

There is a new requirement (2010) for aircraft to be re-registered every three years. The FAA will mail registration documents to the address they have on file for you—unless they’ve mailed something and it’s been returned. The FAA will cancel the N-numbers of aircraft that are not re-registered or renewed. The re-registration fee for the […]

IFR Fuel Requirements and Alternates

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

The requirements for IFR flight are contained in several FARs. I’ve pulled them together here with a summary at the end. Bolding is mine and I’ve mostly ignored helicopters. This post covers the pre-planning aspects: fuel, alternates, and filing a flight plan. FAR § 91.167 Fuel requirements for flight in IFR conditions. (a) No person […]

FAA Medicals—Duration

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

The FAA recently changed the duration of medicals for persons under 40 years of age. The duration of first-class medicals for pilots under 40 years is now 1 year instead of 6 months. The duration of third-class medicals is now 5 years instead of 3 years. The duration of second-class medicals did not change. It […]

FAA Medicals—When are they required?

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Certificates 14 CFR §61.23 Medical certificates: Requirement and duration. (a) Operations requiring a medical certificate. Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, a person— (1) Must hold a first-class medical certificate when exercising the privileges of an airline transport pilot certificate; (2) Must hold at least a second-class medical certificate when […]

Fuel for VFR and IFR Flight

Monday, September 8th, 2008

14 CFR §91.151 Fuel requirements for flight in VFR conditions. (a) No person may begin a flight in an airplane under VFR conditions unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough fuel to fly to the first point of intended landing and, assuming normal cruising speed— (1) During the day, to fly after […]

Required Documents—In the Aircraft

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Students are taught the mnemonic ARROW—Airworthiness Certificate, Registration, Radio License, Operating Limitations, Weight and Balance for remembering the required documents. This article discusses the regulations behind the mnemonic and expands a bit on what is meant. Airworthiness Certificate and Registration These are fairly straightforward. Every aircraft has an airworthiness certificate issued by the manufacturer and […]

Accident Reporting Requirements—NTSB §830

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

Revision: 2010-01-10 The NTSB has revised the list of incidents that are subject to a report. The other requirements have remained the same. Details are here. Two changes affect Part 91 airplane operators. Reports must be made if a failure of the Electronic Flight Instruments occurs or and if a portion of a propeller is […]

Responsibility of PIC

Friday, April 4th, 2008

These regulations come up several times in the written tests and are worth memorizing. § 91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command. (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft. (b) In an in-flight emergency requiring immediate […]

Responsibility of the PIC

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

This comes up often enough on knowledge tests and in prep books for the oral portion of practical tests that it should be memorized. § 91.3 Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command. (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation […]

Logging PIC Time—Cross Country

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Cross country time is defined in § 61.1 for the purpose of obtaining ratings. It doesn’t say anything specifically as to how cross country time should be logged for purposes of filling out insurance questionnaires or job applications. Relevant parts of the definition are included below. Note that in general cross-country time means a flight […]

Civil “Local” NOTAMs will become NOTAM “D”s effective January 28, 2008

Friday, December 28th, 2007

NOTAMs Notice N JO 7930.85 amends FAAO 7930.2K NOTAM MANUAL effective January 28, 2008 www.FAA.gov Nov 29, 2007: NOTAMs Notice N JO 7930.85 amends FAAO 7930.2K NOTAM MANUAL effective January 28, 2008. Nov 27 This notice provides policy and procedural guidance and interim operating procedures to Federal Aviation Order (FAAO) 7930.2 Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs). […]

VOR Check

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

If a VOR is to be used for navigation under IFR flight rules—regardless of weather conditions—it must be operationally checked within the preceding 30 days. The check can be done with any of the following six methods: 1. VOR test signal at a certificated repair station. ±4° bearing error. 2. FAA VOR test facility (VOT). […]

Climb and descent rates

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

ATC Climb or Descent Clearance – IFR and VFR AIM 4-4-10 d. When ATC has not used the term “AT PILOT’S DISCRETION” nor imposed any climb or descent restrictions, pilots should initiate climb or descent promptly on acknowledgement of the clearance. Descend or climb at an optimum rate consistent with the operating characteristics of the […]


Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Once you have your pilot certificate it never expires but there are things you need to do to exercise all of the privileges associated with your certificate. I thought I’d put all of the currency rules in one place and annotate them. Biennial Flight Review §61.56 A pilot needs a Flight Review every 24 months. […]

Day and Night for Pilots

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

As pilots we often talk about night flying and daytime flying meaning when it is dark or light, but for logging time and for currency there are specific definitions that we must pay attention to. FAR 1.1 General Definitions Night means the time between the end of evening civil twilight and the beginning of morning […]

Logging PIC Time

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Logging of PIC time is important for currency, insurance, and for experience necessary for obtaining ratings. The rules are not necessarily the same in all instances. FAR 61.51 covers what must be included in logbooks and gives guidance on how to log experience. To interpret the regulation correctly it is important to first understand the […]

Aircraft and Airman Categories and Classes

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

A student pilot normally learns to fly in an airplane that has one propeller and fixed-wheel landing gear. The student is usually pursuing a “Single-Engine Land Rating”. Once the required tests are passed the airman is issued a pilot certificate that has a single-engine land rating. The certificate never expires and allows the pilot to […]

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