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“Most Responsible” Reference


Spike
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If you please, can anyone cite an “official” reference which states, the most experienced pilot on-board, regardless of who is manipulating the flight controls, can be held responsible/liable for any flight incident, accident or violation?

 

Thank you in advance.

Edited by Spike
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No, because no such policy exists. The pilot in command, designated by the certificate holder, or by agreement between pilots on board in private operations, is legally ultimately responsible for the safe outcome of the flight. The FAA has long held, however, that the nature of a violation of the regulation is determined on a case by case basis, as is enforcement action. There is no policy that the most experienced pilot on board is responsible for the safe outcome of the flight, as that disagrees with regulation.

 

There have been cases in which the FAA has taken enforcement action against pilots of greater certification and experience, when that pilot failed to take action to prevent a mishap, even though that pilot was not acting as pilot in command. Those cases of enforcement action do not create precedent for future enforcement action, or establish policy. The FAA continues to address such issues on a case by case basis.

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There have been cases in which the FAA has taken enforcement action against pilots of greater certification and experience, when that pilot failed to take action to prevent a mishap, even though that pilot was not acting as pilot in command.

 

avBug,

 

Thank you for the reply. With the cases you mentioned, do you have any reference for them so I can search for those particular events? I do remember reading about such cases long ago but can’t seem to locate any past, or present cases on the internet.

 

Thanks again.

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Thank you both….

 

The Pokrass case not so much although interesting how they found Newberger 15% responsible for essentially going to sleep….

 

The Strobel case linked me to a UND study which included Administrator vs. Thomas which is real close.

 

Specifically, with 2 commercial certificated pilots onboard both of which have CFI’s. The designated “PIC” (single pilot operations) has 2000 hours and the other crewmember, who sits behind dual controls, has 10,000 hours. Can the 10,000 hour crewmember be held responsible/liable for the PIC screw-ups?

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This would be an interesting scenario. I wonder how it would pan out if it was a planned event vs a mistake. For example, the 2000hr and the 10,000hr pilot both plan and agree to perform a mission that would later be considered negligent when something bad happens. Compared to say, coming in for landing and the pilot lands and falls off the dolly cart.

 

In the case of law enforcement aviation, its also very common for the PIC to be a 2000hr pilot and the TFO could be the 10,000hr pilot covering a TFO shift. What happens when the 10,000hr TFO is actually on board performing a non-pilot crew member duty? I know when Im flying TFO, Im either have my eyes on the FLIR screen or if its day time, Im leaning out looking at the ground. That would be a tough deal if I was held accountable for a pilot making a mistake when Im not on board in a pilot position.

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The regulations are very clear about what the PIC is responsible for. What may not be so clear in some situations is who the PIC is. In commercial operations, the PIC is designated by the operator, and has nothing to do with the number of hours either pilot may have logged. In non-commercial operations, the PIC must be decided in advance, or else things can get murky in the event of an accident or incident. It always behooves one to make this clear before the flight begins. If the PIC has been clearly decided, then the PIC is responsible, regardless of time logged by either pilot.

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The regulations are very clear about what the PIC is responsible for. What may not be so clear in some situations is who the PIC is. In commercial operations, the PIC is designated by the operator, and has nothing to do with the number of hours either pilot may have logged. In non-commercial operations, the PIC must be decided in advance, or else things can get murky in the event of an accident or incident. It always behooves one to make this clear before the flight begins. If the PIC has been clearly decided, then the PIC is responsible, regardless of time logged by either pilot.

 

A given, as originally stated.

 

What's not as clear is that the FAA has gone after the pilot who is NOT the pilot in command on various occasions, when that pilot held higher certification and experience.

 

I had an experience in which a private pilot attempted to do a formation landing behind me, and before I had shut down on the ramp, an inspector (who had been giving a checkride) parked behind me, got out, and was pounding on the cockpit door. He was quite clear that he intended to go after me, as the pilot with greater experience and certification. In that case, nothing came of it, though he was quite beligerent and animated. Such as not been the case on other occasions.

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This would be an interesting scenario. I wonder how it would pan out if it was a planned event vs a mistake. For example, the 2000hr and the 10,000hr pilot both plan and agree to perform a mission that would later be considered negligent when something bad happens. Compared to say, coming in for landing and the pilot lands and falls off the dolly cart.

 

In the case of law enforcement aviation, its also very common for the PIC to be a 2000hr pilot and the TFO could be the 10,000hr pilot covering a TFO shift. What happens when the 10,000hr TFO is actually on board performing a non-pilot crew member duty? I know when Im flying TFO, Im either have my eyes on the FLIR screen or if its day time, Im leaning out looking at the ground. That would be a tough deal if I was held accountable for a pilot making a mistake when Im not on board in a pilot position.

In your scenario, are the duals installed?

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