Safety pilot question, letting pilot go into IMC

Josh

Well-Known Member
Let's hear your take on the regs on this.

Pilot wants me to be safety pilot for him. Private, working on his IFR. Me, I'm IFR rated and current private.

Our home field usually is fog in the morning, then clears later in the morning. Typical coastal CA summer weather. So with his CFII along, he has been going out IFR, and then working on whatever.

So, legally, if I go along, and he and I are the only ones in the plane. If we need to get on top, do I have to fly through the fog before we cancel? Or can he do it?

I'd be inclined to say since I'm the only one rated for it, I'd have to do any IMC flying. Right? And as safety pilot, would be my job to keep him clear of any weather that brough him out of VFR.

Is this correct, or is there a way a non-IFR rated pilot can legally do, an approach for example, and touch IMC without a CFII there?

Seems to me it would be a bad on my ticket if I allowed it to happen by not doing the safety part of the safety pilot job.

So if we go 2.0 hours TT out for a flight. And touch IMC for .1 on the way out, and .1 on the way back, he would log: 1.8 for the time he is in control for what he is rated (VFR flying), and I'd fly the .2 of IMC time and log that, and I'd also be able to log whatever other time (say the 1.8 or a little less if the hood is off for a landing) as safety pilot of course.

Clear as mud? Any comments?

Josh
 

Buzo

Well-Known Member
If you file IFR your friend can fly the airplane through the clouds and log it as Actual. There are questions whether it is safe or recommended, but that is for you to decide.

The only rule is one person must be rated and current in order to file. It doesn't matter who is flying the airplane.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
Good one, and here's my take (for what it's worth...)

As long as you had an IFR clearance, and ONE of you is IFR rated, current, and fulfills all the standard safety pilot reqs, I *personally* wouldn't see a problem with him flying the plane. You should also monitored the instruments to make sure he doesn't go inverted or anything.

SHOULD this be done, probably not. I also wouldn't let him log the actual IFR time either. The eyebrows might shoot up from the DE if he sees actual without a CFII. As a general rule, I try to stay away from flights with a safety pilot if I'm going into known IMC.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
PIC - 'Sole manipulator of the controls in an aircraft for which he is rated'

Technically he could log it as PIC as long as he alone manipulates the controls. Since he is flying in actual IMC, he *could* log it as PIC and actual.

However is he really 'PIC'? If something goes wrong in the soup is he gonna fly it or are you? And when the DE sees the 'actual' without the 'dual' he won't be happy. Logging the 0.2 (or whatever) is not worth it, but the experience is so have fun!
 

JDMcFly

New Member
Another one of these 'mucky' questions. Where things are in the grey area..

Just don't do it, and save your self the headache.
 

aloft

New Member
For what it's worth, there's no such thing as a safety pilot in IMC; the second you accept an IFR clearance, you become PIC and your buddy becomes a highly qualified passenger. Then it becomes a question of how comfortable are YOU with flying IFR from the right seat? You might also check with your flying club or FBO, they might have a problem with you flying IFR from the right seat, or a non-instrument-rated pilot flying left seat in IMC without a CFII sitting next to him.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
How about the CFI (not CFII) who takes his student up through an overcast to VFR on top for maneuvers; student flies. What do you log it as? Actual and dual?

What if the student already has his license? What then? Acutal, PIC, and dual?
 

Josh

Well-Known Member
Heh, my next question was going to be what Ed asked. What if I was a CFI (but not a CFII yet) as I will be soon here I hope.

And this would be in his personal plane, not a rental, so I guess it would be up to him as far as my flying from the right.

What I'm trying to find I guess, is I know the regs don't allow a non-IFR pilot to go into weather not VFR. So is he breaking the regs going into the soup?
That's the first question, and I would think he is.
But, if I get the clearance, and let him fly, is he breaking rules? Or am I?

I really ask because there are some pretty anal homeowners in the area around the airport. Some who have come in and said something like "this guy in a small white plane with blue stripes like you have out there was like 200' over my house, and I want to complain". I have seen this happen twice recently, and talked to the CFI who had those students out. Only time they were over the area in question was on the way to or from the practice area, and plenty high. Just don't want some stupid person to come in and report something. And if it is my clearance, go after me.

Matt, I understand safety pilot is not required once in IMC, but I would be required in order to keep it on an IFR filed flight plan. So the question is, do I have to be the sole manipulator of the controls on an IFR plan I guess.

Can ya give the reg references in your reply as well.

See, what I'd like to be able to do, on a day it isn't quite clear of fog yet. Say to him, ok, we can go out, but I have to fly the IMC stuff, because this is what the regs say, for the 30seconds or so it takes to climb through. Or, you can do it because xyz. That way if he is questioned on his log book, he can go back to the regs to support it. Maybe this is a good FSDO question.
 

Buzo

Well-Known Member
Why would a DE question actual time with a DE. If you put your safety pilots name down in your logbook that is all that is required. There is no difference between you letting your rated friend fly in the clouds or in the clear. You have to be the acting PIC since you are the rated pilot, but he can manipulate the controls. It would be like saying he couldn't manipulate the controls on an IFR flight plan since he isn't rated.

It isn't a question about regs, anyone can fly an airplane as long as there is a fully qualified pilot in a control position. He can log it since the regs allow anyone who is rated to log PIC time. The conditions of the weather don't change that rule.

As for a CFI going in Actuals with a rated pilot, you would log it as Dual, PIC, and Actual. If it were a student pilot, you would log it as Dual and Actual.
 

junkstream

Well-Known Member
Just don't do it. It's obvious that you have some reservations about it anyway. If this guy is serious about getting his rating, he can hire a CFII like everyone else. I know you're trying to help, but it's not a good idea.

Not to be harsh, but as a Private Pilot with an Instrument rating, you have no business taking this guy into IMC. Have you flown an airplane in hard IMC from the right seat and dealt with paralax? When's the last time you practiced unusual attitude recoveries from the right seat in IMC? How about vacuum system failures and partial pannel approaches from the right seat? Are you going to be giving this guy tips and advice (i.e. "instruction") while in IMC. Are you qualified to be doing that?

Think about this from a CRM perspective. You're taking someone who is essentially a "student" into an extrtemely challenging, high workload environment and you're not even sure who is the PIC. Who will assume command of the plane when the vacuum pump takes a •! and this guy puts it into a spiral? You're not even sure who the PIC is.

That sounds dramatic, but you HAVE to assume a worst case scenario and be prepared for it. Are YOU ready to secure the controls from a frozen student for a partial panel unusual attitude recovery from the right seat? Probably not.

I've flown as a CFI, MEI, CFII, and as an airline pilot and I can tell you that the most challenging flying I have done was as a CFII in C172 in IMC (and that's MOST of the instruction that I did) Most of the time I didn't touch the controls. It's a LOT of work to keep the guy in the left seat out of trouble.

I'm sure you're a good, competent pilot. When you have your CFI or CFII, you'll be ready for this. Not now. The fact that you question it as much as you do should be a big red flag. It's not worth the risk for a couple of hours.

Good luck!
 

sixpack

New Member
Josh:

You intuition is correct. You MUST operate the plane in IMC, and only you can log PIC during the IFR flight plan.

If you are not a CFII, and you let your friend pilot the aircraft in IMC conditions, then I believe you are both in violation of the FARs.

As I interpret the FARs, only a CFII (and ATP under certain conditions) can give instruction in IMC conditions. So if the person operating the plane is not qualified to operate the plane under the current conditions, and you are not qualified to give instruction to that person, I don't see any room in the FARs for such a flight.

Keep in mind, that a CFII is different than a instructor with an instument rating. He/she has demonstrated to the FAA that he/she is able to monitor and correct situations in IMC conditions. It's easy to watch over somebody when they're flying, but knowing when to take the controls, and doing it properly is harder than you might think.

As JDMcFly said, "Just don't do it"
 

aloft

New Member
Letting your buddy fly the airplane after you've accepted an IFR clearance is perfectly legal, but what junkstream and others are getting at is that it may not be particularly prudent--or safe. Were I in your shoes, I'm not sure I would do it.
 

JHines

New Member
It is not illegal for non-IFR rated pilot to fly (maniuplate controls) in IMC. FAR 61.3(e)(1) only requires IR to act as PIC in IMC or IFR. Note the aeronautical experience requirements in 61.65(d)(2) = 40 hours actual or simulated instrument time, with 15 of that instruction from a CFII per (d)(2)(i). That leaves 25 hrs. that can be "safety pilot" time - this reg would make no sense if it were illegal for IR candidate to manipulate controls.

On a related note, I had no pilot buddies when I got my IR, so I had to fly 40 hours with a CFI (which I don't regret a bit). How did the rest of y'all get your IR hours?
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
[ QUOTE ]
How did the rest of y'all get your IR hours?

[/ QUOTE ]

I was like you; flew it all with a CFII in an airplane, no sims.
 

Pilot Hopeful

Well-Known Member
A quick note on logging PIC instrument time prior to receiving instrument rating…

With a recently-certified, instrument-rated private pilot as my safety pilot, I completed a number of cross country flights under the hood to build instrument experience. On a couple of occasions, he filed IFR for us and we were able to build some actual experience as well. On the day of my checkride, the designated examiner indicated that this experience would not count toward my total time, since — according to him — I could not log actual instrument experience unless I was accompanied by a CFII.

This created a little bit of a stir at the airport, since I had a qualified safety pilot on board, which allowed us to enter actual conditions. Nevertheless, I was obligated to abide by the DE’s standards (which are presumably the FAA’s ruling in such situations). In the end, I only had to make one additional cross country flight to recover the “lost” time.

Still, that one flight with the instrument rated pilot in actual conditions remains one of my most favorite flights to this day: I watched him shoot an ILS to just above minimums at an in-state international airport…behind two turboprops and followed by a regional jet. Pretty Cool!

I guess the moral is this: build all the SIMULATED experience you want with a qualified pilot, but build ACTUAL experience with a certified instructor. Better yet, check with your local FSDO or Designated Examiner for their opinion. Then you will know for sure and will not build unusable time.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
[ QUOTE ]
On a related note, I had no pilot buddies when I got my IR, so I had to fly 40 hours with a CFI (which I don't regret a bit). How did the rest of y'all get your IR hours?

[/ QUOTE ]

I'm lucky enough to have a CFII with several people in the same boat. We trade off safety pilot duty in VMC conditions. There have been several times that I have lamented that I can't wait to get my ticket so I don't have to worry about these $&@# cloud clearances.
 

sixpack

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
It is not illegal for non-IFR rated pilot to fly (maniuplate controls) in IMC. FAR 61.3(e)(1) only requires IR to act as PIC in IMC or IFR. Note the aeronautical experience requirements in 61.65(d)(2) = 40 hours actual or simulated instrument time, with 15 of that instruction from a CFII per (d)(2)(i). That leaves 25 hrs. that can be "safety pilot" time - this reg would make no sense if it were illegal for IR candidate to manipulate controls.

[/ QUOTE ]

First: If IFR pilot is acting as PIC in IMC, what is the person manipulating the controls acting as? If he's not PIC, and not SIC, and it is not dual given, that how can you log it?

Second: The 25 hours can be safety pilot in VMC (but not IMC). Hence, it DOES make sense because one could practice with a friend in VMC conditions (25 of the 40 hours required).
 

JHines

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
First: If IFR pilot is acting as PIC in IMC, what is the person manipulating the controls acting as? If he's not PIC, and not SIC, and it is not dual given, that how can you log it?

Second: The 25 hours can be safety pilot in VMC (but not IMC). Hence, it DOES make sense because one could practice with a friend in VMC conditions (25 of the 40 hours required).

[/ QUOTE ]

First, the control manipulator can't act PIC under IMC with no IR, but he can clearly log PIC. This is supported by the regs, FAR 61.51(e)(1)(i) and clear FAA interpretations. The rules for logging time and acting as PIC are independent. The safety pilot can also log PIC under 61.51 (e)(i)(iii) if he acts as PIC under simulated IMC, because FAR 91.109(b) makes him a required crewmember. On the other hand, strangely, it appears the (non-CFI or ATP) safety pilot can't log any time in IMC or under IFR, even though he's acting PIC, because "more than one pilot" is not "required".


At any rate, in this scenario the control manipulator is the one working towards the rating so he's the one who needs to log the PIC time under 61.51(a)(1).

Second, the regs make no distinction between IMC and VMC instrument flight time for the aeronautical experience requirements. A pilot wearing a view-limiting device to simulate instrument conditions requires a second pilot, FAR 91.109(b), and a pilot in IMC or under IFR requires an IR rated pilot to act as legal PIC.

This is a good reference by someone who's reserched the subject pretty thoroughly (see examples 5 and 9 in particular):
link to ProPilot FAQ

All that being said, I sure as hell wouldn't want to fly as safely pilot in IMC for someone not IR, and possibly have to shoot an approach from the right seat..I'll leave that to the highly-paid CFIs
 

Buzo

Well-Known Member
Here is a post from Doc's FAR Forum which has an FAA interpretation.

You log no flight time in this scenario, since you cannot meet any of the FAR 61.51 provisions for doing so.

Dave may log the time as PIC time since he holds an ASEL rating (I assume from your question that this is true), as sole manipulator of the controls, even absent an instrument rating. He may do so under FAR 61.51(e)(1)(i). Although he may LOG the time as PIC time, he cannot ACT as PIC under IFR -- so you must be the PIC of the flight.

The time may be logged (by Dave) as instrument time, under FAR 61.51(g). It would be logged as occurring in actual instrument conditions -- since no hood was used "simulated instrument" is not appropriate.

See the legal opinion and FAQ below>

I hope this helps!

Regards,

Doc

Excerpted from an FAA Legal opinion, dated 9/13/89, signed by Donald Byrne

“TAB/AERO Question #2
FAR 61.51 says a pilot may log PIC time any time he is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which he is rated. Suppose IFR conditions prevail when a pilot is taking instrument instruction. Don't the regulations expressly forbid anyone to fly as pilot in command under instrument conditions without an instrument rating?

TAB/AERO Response
An instrument student who has a private or better certificate and is rated in the airplane, may indeed log as PIC the time he is sole manipulator of the controls regardless of the meteorological conditions. However, if the flight is under actual instrument conditions the student must be accompanied by a pilot, who may be a flight instructor, holding an instrument rating and who is rated in the aircraft. They further clarify as follows: "As far as making any decisions necessary for safe flight, the flight instructor when he is on board for the purpose of giving instruction - is always the pilot in command and may log the time as such. However, FAR Part 61.51(c)(2)(i) permits a pilot with a private or better certificate to also log as PIC time any, "during which he is sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which he is rated."

FAA Response
An instrument student who holds at least a private pilot certificate and who is rated for the aircraft flown may log as pilot in command flight time under Section 61.51 (c)(2)(i), the time spent as sole manipulator of the controls regardless of the meteorological conditions of the flight. In situations where actual IFR meteorological conditions exist, as in the case presented in the above example, the safety pilot or flight instructor, as the case may be, must be pilot in command, as that term is defined under 1.1 of the FAR.”


From the AFS-640 FAQs:
“QUESTION: The situation: A private pilot is training for the instrument rating. Both he and the instructor are current in the airplane and both have current medicals. Who will log the PIC time? I know that the CFI will, based on § 61.51(e)(3). The main question is, will the private pilot who is training for the instrument rating ALSO log PIC time, based on § 61.51(e)(1)(i)?

ANSWER: Ref. § 61.51(e)(1)(i); Yes , provided the private pilot “. . . Is the sole manipulator of the controls of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated . . .” then that private pilot may also log the time as PIC time.
QUESTION: Same situation: Next, does the phrase, “for which the pilot is rated” in § 61.51(e)(1)(i) mean the private pilot IS or IS NOT rated in the airplane when training for the instrument rating. If he is then he should also be able to log PIC. If he is not, then he would not be able to log PIC, and would log only “dual” instruction.

ANSWER: Ref. § 61.51(e)(1)(i); The phrase “. . . of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated . . .” means the aircraft, not the conditions of flight. So, the private pilot would log the time when he/she “. . . Is the sole manipulator of the controls . . .” as PIC time and training received time.
QUESTION: Would this also apply to adding additional class ratings, such as multiengine and seaplanes?

ANSWER: Ref. § 61.51(e)(1)(i); Again, the phrase “. . . of an aircraft for which the pilot is rated . . .” means the aircraft for which the pilot is rated. Airplane multiengine land or airplane single-engine sea are a specific category and class of airplane rating. For example, if the private pilot was receiving instrument training in a multiengine airplane with a flight instructor (e.g., CFII & ME ratings), then the private pilot would have to hold an Airplane Multiengine Land rating on his/her private pilot certificate in order to log PIC time in that airplane multiengine land. If the private pilot in this example held only single-engine land rating, he/she could only log “training received” time and could NOT log PIC.
{Q&A-368}”
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
The basic rules are pretty clear (if not simple):

1. Only an IFR rated and current pilot can =act= as PIC on an IFR clearance.

2. Any private or higher pilot with a SEL aircraft rating can =log= PIC as the sole manipulator of the controls of an ASEL, even in IMC on an IFR flight plan.

3. The person who is manipulating the controls in IMC can also log actual.

4. There is absolutely nothing illegal about the pilot who is =acting= as PIC letting someone else fly.

So, in your scenario, your friend, who is going to act as your safety pilot once you get above in the clear and cancel IFR certainly may fly the airplane.

But that's only legally. As a couple of people pointed out, there may be insurance issues and FBO rules about it. And, unless the "safety pilot" is comfortable flying in IMC from the right seat, it's not a very safe idea.
 
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