View Full Version : FAA Definition of 'Solo'

Scott Will
08-02-2007, 05:35 PM
Getting ready to take my multi checkride tomorrow (PVT add-on). In tidying up my logbook and getting the FAA form ready, what is the FAA definition of Solo?

My interpretation is that it is time logged when flying alone before you have a rating for that aircraft category/class. Such as when you were a student pilot out on solo hops before you took the PP-ASEL checkride.

But why then do all the big fancy logbooks such as Jepp's Professional Pilot Logbook have column for Solo? My first logbook, like many of yours, is the small ASA "Standard Pilot Log". It didn't have a column for solo. My instructor at the time I was a private student said I should log the time as PIC. Which makes sense per this:

If you are a student, recreational, private or commercial pilot, you may log PIC any time you are the only person in the aircraft. [61.51(e)(1)(ii) and 61.51(e)(4)]

This means that even without category and class ratings, you may log PIC time if you are solo. In addition to the obvious (student solo), it also means, for example, that if you are rated ASEL and solo in an AMEL or ASES, you may log the time as PIC.

Or do ya'll log solo time if it's just you in the airplane (and log it as PIC as well)?

08-02-2007, 07:14 PM
My understanding is solo means the sole occupant of the aircraft. I don't remember anything about ratings being involved.

08-02-2007, 07:35 PM
The rules changed about 10 years or so. Prior to the change, you couldn't log PIC time prior to having your ticket, even though you were the sole manipulator of the controls...thus "solo" time. After the change, solo time prior to getting your ticket could be logged as PIC, so the "solo" column in most logbooks became superfluous.

At least that's my take on it!

08-02-2007, 07:47 PM
.........when the pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft.

Scott Will
08-02-2007, 08:10 PM
Thanks guys... its been a while since I needed to fill out an 8710 form. And now they have that online IACRA system. It wouldn't let me leave the solo blank. It had to have a minimum of 10 hours in that column... probably since that's the min for the private ticket.

I've been debating about keeping a solo column. One dilemma I have is - while I perfectly understand the concept of solo being only me... what about a non-pilot passenger who has no clue about flying. Or what if I bring my doggie with me?

Shoot I can't remember the days in the past where I flew solo or not. Generally I list the pax I took but not always.

08-03-2007, 06:11 AM
When I filled out my commercial info in IACRA this year, my DER said solo was "sole occupant" which meant I had to go back and GUESS which hours I was alone.
Seems silly to measure that but......

08-03-2007, 07:48 AM
Solo does mean alone (dogs don't count, clueless people do :-). As long as you meet the minimum requirements for the rating for which you are applying, you are good to go - and obviously the IACRA form processing checks for that. We all strive to be as accurate as possible of course, but anything beyond the minimum requirements is essentially superfluous.
Once you have a PVT ticket (in whatever category A/C you fly), tracking solo hours has no practical value I've ever seen. I don't believe any other rating requires it, and you're legal to carry passengers anyway (assuming currency of course).

08-03-2007, 09:32 AM
Actually, you need to log solo time for your Commercial rating too:

(In 61.129)

(4) 10 hours of solo flight in a single-engine airplane on the areas of operation listed in §61.127(b)(1) of this part, which includes at least—

(i) One cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 nautical miles from the original departure point. However, if this requirement is being met in Hawaii, the longest segment need only have a straight-line distance of at least 150 nautical miles; and

(ii) 5 hours in night VFR conditions with 10 takeoffs and 10 landings (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport with an operating control tower.

08-03-2007, 11:33 AM
I just did this for my instrument ticket...instructor told me it was for pre-PPL time. I don't think it matters that much though, because the examiner didn't seem to care.

08-03-2007, 12:45 PM
Remember a few posts ago when I mentioned the regs changed about 10 years ago? Ok...here's more.


When I solo, can I log the flight time as pilot in command (PIC) time? (top)
Yes, you can. Changes to the federal aviation regulations that took effect on August 4, 1997, clarified this point. A person may log PIC time when they are the sole occupant of the aircraft, and this applies to student pilots as well. FAR 61.51(e)(4) says, "A student pilot may log pilot-in-command time when the student pilot (i) Is the sole occupant of the aircraft; (ii) Has a current solo flight endorsement as required under [FAR] 61.87; and (iii) Is undergoing training for a pilot certificate or rating. So be sure to log all of your applicable solo time as PIC time."