I spoke with representatives from Flight Safety International, The FAA and an aviation law attorney and guess what? None of them were immediately clear on the answer.
Let’s take a quick look at the FAR’s to see what is causing this confusion. There are 3 CFR’s that pertain to this subject; 61.55, 61.57 and 61.58.
First let’s the regulation causing the confusion; 61.55: Second-in-command qualifications.
It reads as follows:
(a) A person may serve as a second-in-command of an aircraft type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or in operations requiring a second-in-command pilot flight crewmember only if that person holds:
(1) At least a private pilot certificate with the appropriate category and class rating; and
(2) An instrument rating or privilege that applies to the aircraft being flown if the flight is under IFR; and
(3) At least a pilot type rating for the aircraft being flown unless the flight will be conducted as domestic flight operations within the United States airspace.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may serve as a second-in-command of an aircraft type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or in operations requiring a second-in-command unless that person has within the previous 12 calendar months:
(1) Become familiar with the following information for the specific type aircraft for which second-in-command privileges are requested—
(i) Operational procedures applicable to the powerplant, equipment, and systems.
(ii) Performance specifications and limitations.
(iii) Normal, abnormal, and emergency operating procedures.
(iv) Flight manual.
(v) Placards and markings.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, performed and logged pilot time in the type of aircraft or in a flight simulator that represents the type of aircraft for which second-in-command privileges are requested, which includes—
(i) Three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop as the sole manipulator of the flight controls.
(ii) Engine-out procedures and maneuvering with an engine out while executing the duties of pilot in command; and
(iii) Crew resource management training.
But if you are PIC Qualified Aren’t you SIC Qualified?
Let’s review what it takes to act as PIC:
CFR 61.58 Pilot-in-command proficiency check: Operation of an aircraft that requires more than one pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered, the FAR which give you authority to act as PIC. It reads as follows:
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, to serve as pilot in command of an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered, a person must—
(1) Within the preceding 12 calendar months, complete a pilot-in-command proficiency check in an aircraft that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered; and
(2) Within the preceding 24 calendar months, complete a pilot-in-command proficiency check in the particular type of aircraft in which that person will serve as pilot in command, that is type certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember or is turbojet-powered.
This regulation gives you the authority to alternate proficiency checks (recurrents) on two turbojet aircraft and still act as PIC on both. In other words, if you went to recurrent on the Excel within the last 24 months and went to recurrent or obtained a new type in a Beechjet within the last 12 months, you can legally act as PIC on both. That is so long as you meet the requirements of:
CFR 61.57: Recent flight experience: Pilot in command.
(a) General experience.
(1) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft carrying passengers or of an aircraft certificated for more than one pilot flight crewmember unless that person has made at least three takeoffs and three landings within the preceding 90 days, and
(i) The person acted as the sole manipulator of the flight controls; and
(ii) The required takeoffs and landings were performed in an aircraft of the same category, class, and type (if a type rating is required), and, if the aircraft to be flown is an airplane with a tailwheel, the takeoffs and landings must have been made to a full stop in an airplane with a tailwheel.
So, not withstanding the requirements of 61.58 listed above, you still must make 3 takeoffs and landings every 90 days in the particular type of turbojet if you are to act as PIC.
Perhaps from reviewing the regulations you were able to see where the confusion comes from. 61.58 gives you the authority to act as Pilot In Command for up to 24 months but 61.57 says you must have made 3 takeoffs and landings within the previous 90 days in the same type. Then comes 61.55 that says you to act as a SIC you must meet a whole list of requirements every 12 months.
Here is what the experts said:
The Orlando based aviation law attorney I spoke with explained that CFR 61.55 is a relatively new addition to the CFR and was created to make the FAR’s come more in line with pilot currency requirements in the European JAR’s. This so your American certificate would be accepted world wide. As you may know SIC type ratings are required for flights outside of our domestic airspace and that is what this regulation was meant to specifically address by giving someone who is not PIC type rated in a particular jet the authority to fly internationally as an SIC.
On the other hand, it was the attorney’s opinion that: “Certainly it is only common sense that authority to act as a PIC in a particular type jet would denote the authority to also act as SIC in that same jet.” He further stated he was not aware of any case law on this subject meaning in his opinion, a case regarding this issue has never gone to trial.
I received an email from the FAA representative I spoke with which read as follows:
“I have attached guidance from the Regulations and FSIMS 8900.10 with respect to CFR Part 61, and 135.
In summation: To act as an SIC in an aircraft requiring more than one pilot or in operations requiring a second-in-command, you need to hold at least a Private Pilot ASEL or AMEL as applicable with an Instrument – Airplane rating. No SIC type rating is required unless it flown outside the domestic United States Airspace. An SIC type would then be required. That being said, no person may serve as a second-in-command of an aircraft requiring more than one or operations requiring unless within the previous 12 calendar months that person has received and logged ground and flight training in that particular type of aircraft. The training could have occurred 30 days before, the month of or the month after to be considered in the month its due. The latter would be considered the grace month or grace period. This applies to part 61 pilots.”
My Take On It:
It would appear form the above, the limiting regulation regarding the authority to act as Second-in-Command is 61.57; Recent flight experience: Pilot in command. Because of this regulation you may not use your authority you have to act as a PIC to give you authority to act as SIC, if you have not made 3 takeoffs and landings in the same type jet within the preceding 90 days if that jet requires a type rating.
So in our example, a pilot who went to recurrent on an Excel 20 months ago but has recently been typed in a Beechjet, would only remain authorized to act as PIC or SIC in the Excel until:
- 24 months since his last Excel proficiency check
- 12 months since his Beechjet proficiency check
- 90 days since making 3 takeoffs and landings as per 61.57 in the Excel.
Bottom Line, How You Can Act As SIC (Domestically) In An Excel?
- You may act as SIC if you are typed rated in the Excel and meet the time limitations in a, b, & c, listed above
- If you do not meet the 3 takeoffs and landing requirements you can:
- Complete an approved night landing currency course from an approved 142 school such as Flight Safety International.(I spoke with Flight Safety Orlando and Simuflight Dallas and both were offering the course for around $1,800.)
- Or Perform 3 takeoffs and landings in an Excel provided no persons or property are carried on board except for a qualified crewmember occupying the other pilot’s seat as per 61.57.
- Accomplish the requirements of 61.55 Second-in-command qualifications with a logbook endorsement or record of training every 12 months.
- This can be done through an approved course at a 142 school such as Flight Safety International or:
By receiving training from a qualified management official as outlined in 61.55.
- If you do not meet the 3 takeoffs and landing requirements you can:
There you have it. I think I was able to get to the bottom of this but not without numerous discussions with my panel of experts. Accordingly, you may want to consult your own experts before deciding if you are in fact legal to act as SIC.