Logging hours


I’d like to start by thanking the mentors. This forum has been so helpful to get legit and professional advice!

My question is regarding logging your hours. I have previously taken a few lessons (6 hours worth) and logged them in a pilot log book that the instructor would initial. I was advised they do not expire (it’s been about 5 years since my last lessons).

As I start my PPL in the fall here in Des Moines and hopefully advance after that, how are your hours logged and what are the requirements? Can you literally just put 1500 hours in a book and it’s the honor system? Could one buy a personal plane and fly it at leisure and gain these hours? I want to make sure the hours I accumulate are actually going to ‘count’ and be relevant for reaching a regional airline position.

Also an additional question: As pilots train on the single and occasional multi engine piston planes, it seems that when you first get hired on by a regional that you will be suddenly working with far more sophisticated turbine planes. Is the training they provide to certify you on the plane you’ll be flying really all you need? I would think I would feel very unprepared to have mastered a Cessna or Seminole and then suddenly fly a turbine jet professionally for the first time.

Thank you!


Flight time is flight time. Flight time does not expire. Your instructor
will teach you how to log flight time properly in your logbook. You should
also be getting a starter package in the mail from ATP with all of your
books and flight training materials. Included in that package, should be a
book called the FAR/AIM. If not you can buy one online for about $20. In
that book it explains how to log all the different types of flight
experience. That book should be treated like an aviation bible. It also
lists all of the requirements for one to become eligible for a pilot
certificate and rating. Since you asked about the PPL requirements, here’s
a link:

Technically, anyone can buy a logbook and make up flight time. However,
that is against regulations and one will eventually get caught, or cause
harm to oneself and/or others.

I can relate to your last question. The transition from piston airplanes to
turbine is overwhelming at first. But all of the top airlines have
phenomenal training programs to help pilots with all flying backgrounds
learn how to operate the airplane safely. It’s also not uncommon for some
pilots to receive extra training. Usually if extra training is necessary,
the airline is willing to provide it. Even after you pass your check ride
recurrent training continues regularly for the rest of your career.

Best of luck to you this fall.

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Hi Austin,

Yes you are correct, it’s totally the honor system and some people have no doubt attempted to “fudge” their hours. Thing to remember is aviation is an incredibly small community. It’s really not that difficult for an airline screener to pick up the phone, call XYZ airport and verify that Cessna N12345 was tied down there from etc etc. And once someone is busted they will be reported to the FAA and those licenses and ratings they spent $75k earning will look great hanging on their wall but not good for much else.

Personally that was probably the biggest obstacle I faced in flying, transitioning from a piston twin Seminole to the jet. I found it very challenging but the fact is this is the route most new pilots are taking and they’re successful every day.


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This is very helpful, thank you! in regards to how one gets there hours, I know there may be a more preferred method such as training as a CFI…but on the extreme end, if one were to fly for leisure and accumulate the required hours, is that sufficient to get your foot in the door with a regional?


Right now the Regionals are hiring like mad and basically if you’ve got the time you’ll get an interview. BUT, let me say this, earlier you asked about transitioning from a Seminole to the jet and I told you it was tough. Flight instructing is not only a means to build time, it’s a means to build some VERY high quality time. There’s really nothing better to make you sharp than sitting next to some new guy who is seemingly trying to end your life on a daily basis. Flight instructing (particular in a complex twin) not only builds time, it builds experience. Now while you could get an interview and get hired with 1500hrs built tooling around in the pattern in a 172, I cannot conceive how difficult a transition that would be. Case in point when I was a newhire at ExpressJet my sim partner was a pretty high time cargo pilot. Problem was he was flying cargo around the islands in mostly VMC conditions for 10years. Great guy, great attitude but he simply could not shoot an approach (because he hadn’t in years) and ultimately washed out.

It’s not just the quantity of the time, it’s the quality.


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If money is not an object, then in theory yes. That’s one way to build
time. Getting through an interview at a Regional though (or any commercial
pilot job) takes more than a suit and tie and a logbook full of hours.
One’s knowledge needs to be sharp, especially when it comes to instrument
flying. Recruiters also want to see good critical thinking skills. I don’t
want to give you the impression that flying on your own is a bad idea. Some
of the most memorable moments I have are the ones when it was just me and
my friends. All I’m saying is it would be wise not to make that your
primary means of time building. Do something that will challenge you.
You’ll thank yourself for taking the tougher route.

“Quality over quantity” :raised_hands:t3: Well said, Adam

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While flying 1,500 leisure hours will build your time and in this hiring environment will probably qualify you for a regional, I would strongly recommend against this approach. That kind of flying is not going to teach you much and your skills will not develop. A CFI is constantly gaining experience and expanding his knowledge base and the airlines know this. I would recommend that you instruct to build your hours. If you want to fly for leisure, that is great too, but I would build the bulk of my time through instructing.


Thanks so much for this great advice. I’ve read about PIC and SIC and your hours in a multi engine and what the regionals like to see. In your experience, is there a certain amount of time I need to ensure I reach within each of those categories while building hours?

I’d say 18-24 months is the quickest anyone would be able to get 1500 hours. As for the rest of the hours (night, xc, instrument…) its possible to meet those requirements too, but that depends on the type of flying you do to get to 1500. Every CFI I know that did not teach at ATP, did not meet the min ATP requirements. So, they received what’s called a restricted ATP. The restriction will be removed as soon as they meet the min hour requirements for a standard ATP as they fly the line as a regional pilot.

Hey guys,

My friend and I are planning to do our time building together when the time comes. I was wondering how logging those hours work. Is the Pilot Flying the PIC and the Pilot Monitoring the SIC? My friend thought that we could both get PIC time, but I told him that there can’t be PIC so I was wondering if anyone can clear up the confusion. Thanks!



In a single pilot airplane, like a Cessna 172 or a Seminole, you cannot log SIC time as the airplane only requires one pilot. However, if one pilot is wearing a view limiting device and flying on instruments, while the other pilot is acting as a safety pilot and looking outside, they can both log PIC hours. It sounds a bit strange, but it is a tried and true method of logging flight time and has the FAA’s blessing.



Would this still be allowed if one of us is not wearing the view limiting device?


@dicianny I have a challenge for you. Can you tell us which FAR says how a pilot can log PIC? Also for SIC?


Just like your logbook, you’re on the Honor System.


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Challenge accepted. This is what I found for both pilots logging PIC time without wearing a view limiting device… 14 CFR 61.51(e)(iv)(A) "When the pilot performs the duties of pilot in command while under the supervision of a qualified pilot in command provided -

(A) The pilot performing the duties of pilot in command holds a commercial or airline transport pilot certificate and aircraft rating that is appropriate to the category and class of aircraft being flown, if a class rating is appropriate;"

There are other listing there, but this would be the one that I feel answers my question.

For SIC, this is what I found under 14 CFR 61.51(f) "(f)Logging second-in-command flight time. A person may log second-in-command time only for that flight time during which that person:

(1) Is qualified in accordance with the second-in-command requirements of § 61.55 of this part, and occupies a crewmember station in an aircraft that requires more than one pilot by the aircraft’s type certificate; or

(2) Holds the appropriate category, class, and instrument rating (if an instrument rating is required for the flight) for the aircraft being flown, and more than one pilot is required under the type certification of the aircraft or the regulations under which the flight is being conducted."

My interpretation is that the second pilot during a buddy flight cannot log SIC time because the a C152/C172 does not require a second pilot for safe operations of that aircraft. But to that point, a citation can be flown for one pilot and in theory does not require a flight crew. BUT the there are type ratings for a citation so it must be certified for a flight crew, but not required. I’m sure it’ll depend on the flight.

I took a closer look at 14 CFR 61.55 (a)(1) and noticed that it stated "(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"

This qualifies my friend or myself to log SIC time in a buddy flight.

Tory, I hope I met your expectations :joy: This was fun!


@dicianny Close. All looks good except for the last part. What kind of operations are
you two going to be doing?

No. The view limiting device means there is a requirement for two pilots. Without the device there is no need for the safety pilot and thus no need for the second pilot.

@Tory My friend and I were looking at cutting the cost of flight training by time building together. The question came up about who would log PIC time so that’s where the question came up.

@Chris Thanks for clarifying!

Also, on that note, I also soloed today!!! Wasn’t as nervous as most people because I was well prepared!
Just thought I’d share with everyone!

Awesome. Congratulations!

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