Should I log flight time as a passenger?

Joe
  • Should I log flight time as a passenger? Joe

    With only a private pilot license, if not the pilot in command, should I log my flight time?

    If so, what are the limits of this? i.e. is that as true in the backseat as it is in the front seat? Must I have that type rating?

  • No, you should not*.

    In my opinion, you should limit your logbook to records of your own flight experience. This would include any time spent training, as PIC, or as required crew.

    The time you can log as PIC is that which you spend as the sole manipulator of the controls, the sole occupant, or as the pilot in command when the required crew is >1. Here's an article from an FAA FSDO describing the logging of PIC time in more detail. Rod Machado has some good coverage of this as well.

    If you're just hanging out in the airplane, it doesn't matter if you're in the front seat or the back seat. If you're receiving instruction, you should get an entry and a logbook endorsement from the instructor you're flying with. Most General Aviation aircraft don't require a type rating, so I'm unsure what the context of your final question is.

     

    * It's worth noting that you can technically put whatever you want in your logbook, though it's not a great idea; when it comes time to fill out an FAA 8710 form for later ratings, it can get confusing. In my opinion, you still shouldn't log any time, but if you're just wanting to record flights that you took with friends, that's fine. As an instructor who's had to slog through some weird logbooks, I'd really, really encourage you to track that elsewhere, though. Your logbook is exactly that - it's your logbook, for the logging of your flight time, and a record of your flight experience and training.

  • Adding to what egid said, you can only log flight time as a crew member if you're filling a role as a required crew member.

    There was an enforcement action many years ago against a pilot who was flying right seat in a small cargo plane because his employer's rules required two people in the cockpit. He figured that since his employer required him to be there, it made him a required crew member and so he logged the time.

    However, the FAA regs did not require him to be there, so in their view, he was not a required crew member and they took action against him for falsifying his logs.

  • Yes, log it.

    Your logbook is your record of your flight experience. Use a line in your logbook to remember a flight with a friend or a warbird flight you took at an air show. If I'm a passenger in the right seat of a small aircraft and I'm paying attention I am probably learning something. If I'm currently working towards my instrument rating and I'm sitting in the backseat of a friend's instrument rating lesson then I'm almost certainly learning things that I wouldn't get while actually flying the plane. Record those experiences for yourself.

    However, the numbers columns for that entry are going to be empty. No landings, no flight time, none of that. You wouldn't want to accidentally use those flights for currency or ratings. AOPA has a good article interpreting the FARs rules on logging time.

    But you can use an empty column for passenger numbers or just use your comments section.

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