CFI Legal Interpretations 101

As a CFI, you are a recognized authority in the aviation community. Superior knowledge and familiarity with the regulations is essential for conducting the job of flight educator. For regs. I highly recommend the ASA digital version ($10 for life and you can search digitally, memo etc).

Beyond the regs. are the FAA Legal Interpretations which every CFI should be familiar. What is “known icing,” when can you log XYZ time, what counts as an instrument approach? Dig deep, the answer is here somewhere…

BTW, every CFI is also a “business” and subject to legal accountability. CFI insurance is a good (business) investment. Recent legal test cases have been found in favor of the educator (but don’t count on it).

If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the most common below, try searching the FAA’s Legal Interpretations website.

Or, for Part 117 guidance, check here.

Interpretation Letters

Rizner (1991)

  • What are the minimum qualifications required to act as safety pilot?

Hicks (1993)

  • Double-dipping PIC time: sole manipulator and safety pilot

Harrington (1997)

  • “building up of flight time may be compensatory in nature if the pilot does not have to pay the costs of operating the aircraft”

Kortokrax (2006)

  • Are students or instructors considered passengers for recency of experience requirement purposes?

Glaser (2008)

  • Do PAR and ASR approaches “count” for instrument training and currency?

Sisk (2008)

  • Does the long cross-country required for the instrument rating require any leg to be at least 50 nm?
  • Does a flight with multiple points of landing require any single leg to be over 50 nm to be considered cross-country?

Bell (2009)

  • What is meant by “known icing”?

Gebhart (2009)

  • Logging PIC and cross-country time as a safety pilot

Glenn (2009)

  • Logging cross-country time as safety pilot
  • Logging SIC time as a safety pilot

Herman (2009)

  • Logging time while sole manipulator and appropriately rated, but lacking endorsements

Hilliard (2009)

  • Splitting cross-country time with another pilot where both pilots take turns as PIC

Mangiamele (2009)

  • Requirements for flying as a charitable fundraiser
  • Reimbursement for operating costs for business travel via private aircraft

Speranza (2009)

  • Logging PIC while sole manipulator on IFR flight plan, but not instrument rated

Van Zanen (2009)

  • Can I choose how I define a flight in order to optimize cross-country time?

Coleal (2010)

  • Is preventive maintenance that Part 91 pilots are permitted to do limited to the 31 items on the list in Appendix A to Part 43?

Hartzell (2010)

  • Can commercial instrument training requirements be met by prior instrument rating training?

Lamb-2 (2010)

  • Having a third party, such as your employer, pay your pro-rata share

Theriault (2010)

  • Can you fly an aircraft not rated for IFR on an IFR flight plan in VMC?
  • Can commercial instrument training requirements be met by prior instrument rating training?
  • Can the night cross-country from private pilot training be used to satisfy the requirement for night cross-country flight for a Commercial Pilot Certificate?

Haberkorn (2011)

  • Finding passengers via social media
  • Clarifying “common purpose”

Walker (2011)

  • Logging PIC and actual IMC while sole manipulator in IMC, but not instrument rated
  • Logging time as an instrument rated PIC while not sole manipulator
  • Safety piloting in actual IMC

Pratte (2012)

  • Is the list of acceptable instrument approach types for instrument training in Glaser (2008) exhaustive?

Roberts (2012)

  • Is a safety pilot required to pay pro-rata share while logging PIC?

Trussell (2012)

  • What can a safety pilot log if the pilot flying elects to remain acting PIC?
  • What obligation does a safety pilot have to share expenses?

Hancock (2013)

  • Does loaning an airplane to a pilot amount to compensation?
  • Does the owner of an airplane bear any responsibility if a person borrowing the airplane violates FARs?

Kuhn (2014)

  • How can a pilot working on a commercial certificate log time “performing the duties of pilot in command” with a CFI on board?
  • How can a CFI log time while riding along with a commercial student “performing the duties of pilot in command”?

Rohlfing (2016)

  • How does the three hours of instrument training from private pilot training apply to instrument rating training?

Fitzpatrick – Spartan College (2018)

  • Spin training provided by a CFI doesn’t require a parachute “regardless of what certificate or rating the applicant is seeking”.

Oord – AOPA (2018)

  • Can commercial instrument training requirements be met by prior instrument rating training?
  • Ties together Theriault (2010), Theriault (2011), and Hartzell (2010)


InFO 15012: Logging Instrument Approach Procedures

  • This InFO clarifies the conditions under which a pilot may log an IAP in his or her logbook
%d bloggers like this: