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90 Day Currency Rule

How is the 90 Day Currency Rule interpreted in other EU countries?

The rule basically says that in order to carry a passenger, you must have made three take off and three landings within the past 90 days.

The UK has recently issued an exemption saying that (for certain UK national licences only) a pilot licenced and current on type will not be considered a passenger, if certain conditions are met.

This is being hotly debated elsewhere, but one thing that I noticed in the debate that I found interesting was this comment

When this was raised with the EASA rulemaking director two years ago, it appeared that the UK was the only member state in which it was customary to consider a second qualified pilot as a “passenger”, thus requiring recency of the PiC.

This was posted by someone who occasionally (too infrequently unfortunately!) posts here. I hope he doesn’t mind me quoting him.

I’m wondering what others’ views on this is. Does your national authority see a qualified and current pilot as a passenger or not, for the purpose of regaining currency under the 90 day rule? I’d always assumed that that is how the Irish see it, but thinking about it, I probably just picked that up from UK forums!

Last Edited by dublinpilot at 15 Feb 17:16
EIWT Weston

The basic rule is the same here in Switzerland.

As far as I know, only a FI can be on board for the purpose of requalifying and then in function as an FI, that is Pilot in Command. He can supervise the out of rule time pilot while he does his landings. No other person can be carried legally.

LSZH, Switzerland

Colm, it’s not a matter of interpretation. The EASA rules don’t have any provision for a second (non-instructor) pilot role onboard a privately operated VFR-flown aircraft (which is certified for minimum one crew), except the one for the medical-related “safety pilot”.

That is why even the UK cannot allow this for EASA licenses.

The whole topic of the 90-day rule is a very big old chestnut in Germany. Why? Because aviation authorities (both the LBA and the regional authorities) have one thing which is terrorizing their minds: that is the thought of two (plain vanilla) PPLs both logging hours on flight (one of them PIC, the other “non-PIC”) and both pilots then using these hours for their renewals. That is why they are so completely against it. And the way EASA FCL is written, they are right, because there is no “role” for the second pilot in the regulations (a co-pilot is something else, a required crewmember).

The subject by the way is even more bizarre in Germany: it is even debated whether the pilot (who is out of passenger currency) is allowed to take an instructor with him on his flight he’s doing to regain currency. At a certain point, even the LBA said that since their is no “training relationship” between a pilot with a valid PPL holder and an instructor, and thus the instructor is merely a passenger (which the PPl holder is not allowed to take with hin. This would force pilots to fly solo only for regaining currency.

The apex of this discussion was in 2010, and even though the LBA has in the end backed up a bit, it was still never totally resolved. The internet is full of controversial essays on this, like this one and this one.

BTW, I guess Urs should have mentioned the CRI as well. Whilst he is not an FI, he is still an instructor.

Last Edited by boscomantico at 15 Feb 18:01
Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Bosmantico: I had a discussion with the LBA at Hamm quite a few months back, this whole chestnut of currency was discussed. The statement I – and a group of around 7 other pilots at the airfield – received from this inspector was that if the passenger was a PPL with a valid rating for the plane to be flown, he could fly with another PPL who was out of currency, that was the view that the LBA in Muenster took. The background to this consideration was that currency was to ensure that passengers weren’t subjected to undue risks whereas PPLs could determine the risk of flying with a pilot who was not in currency.

Interesting was that the LBA inspector said that (eg) a C182 could take off with 4 passengers, if all are PPL holders and the PIC is non current, they didn’t impose the restriction of maximum one passenger…..

what about this interpretation – CFI might be on board and as long as he/she doesn´t have to touch the controls the left hand seat pilot (out of currency) can log this as PIC and became current. I had been given this explanation some years ago,no idea what is it based on


In the US, the 90 day currency rule is a restriction on acting as PIC with passengers. It does not permit passengers if the pilot has lapsed currency and must act as PIC for the flight. It is OK if the pilot has not allowed passenger currency to lapse. If there are two pilots, assuming the PNF acts as PIC and is still current, the PF can regain currency by being the sole manipulator of the controls when accomplishing the currency takeoffs and landings. In this case, the PNF is carrying the PF who is considered a passenger. There is a FAA General Counsel opinion that because a CFI is not considered a passenger, the flight may be accomplished with a CFI that is not themselves current to carry passengers, so both pilots may have had their 90 day currency lapsed.

Sec. 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.

(2) For the purpose of meeting the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a person may act as a pilot in command of an aircraft under day VFR or day IFR, provided no persons or property are carried on board the aircraft, other than those necessary for the conduct of the flight.

Do you have a link to the opinion please NCYankee? I don’t doubt what you say, but the OCC reasoning is often interesting and useful.

BTW, I guess Urs should have mentioned the CRI as well. Whilst he is not an FI, he is still an instructor.

True, as long as he is a CRI for the rating in question. I’ve never come across one which was not an FI as well that is how I forgot it.

LSZH, Switzerland

Ok, in basic terms. The pilot is not current after 90 days. I.e. the flight poses an increased risk that is deemed unacceptable to expose people other than the pilot himself to. That’s supposedly the basis of this law.

How does a “passenger pilot” make the flight safe? He is not PIC, he has no command ability i.e. he cannot take over from the non-current pilot. He cannot impose his will on the pilot in any situation. Also in a one-crew aircraft he is not part of the crew. And he does not hold an instructor rating i.e. he may be a very bad pilot, or at the least is not qualified to instruct, teach or take over. That makes him a passenger by default. And the pilot is deemed unsafe to fly with passengers on board. So he has to find another means to get current.

A CFI is a different story, because he has “command ability” i.e. can be PIC from the right-hand seat. Has been taught and trained to do so and thus increases the level of safety of the flight to a higher level. And if a pilot feels himself too much out of currency, that would be the better way to go. Talk to your local flying club and ask the CFI to accompany you. And I think this happens in quite a few cases.

How does a “passenger pilot” make the flight safe? He is not PIC, he has no command ability i.e. he cannot take over from the non-current pilot. He cannot impose his will on the pilot in any situation. Also in a one-crew aircraft he is not part of the crew.

That is too legalistic a view. Obviously a 2nd pilot can always take over or at least spot unsafe conditions and advise the PIC. Do you think I would let a PIC kill me and sit on the RHS without interfering? I would split the PICs head with the onboard axe before that happens…

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