Second-In-Command Type Rating

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Second-In-Command Type Rating

Updated February 22, 2007

On August 4, 2005, the FAA released a final rule on the new second-in-command (SIC) pilot type rating to bring the U.S. Federal Aviation Regulations into compliance with international standards on pilot certificates. On September 9, 2005, the FAA reissued the final rule to correct the compliance date. On October 27, 2005, the FAA released an amendment to the final rule to correct errors in the final rules published on August 4.

The new rule had an effective date of September 6, 2005, and the compliance date for the rule is June 6, 2006.

When an SIC Type Rating is Required

The final rule requires pilots who plan to fly outside U.S. airspace and land in foreign countries, and who are acting as second-in-command of an aircraft certificated for operations with a minimum flight crew of at least two pilots, to obtain an SIC pilot type rating.

It is recommended that pilots have the SIC pilot type rating when flying over or into airspace controlled by a foreign civil aviation authority that requires it. This would include not only flights to foreign destinations, but also flights where there is the potential to land in a foreign country (for example, a flight from Newark, NJ to Anchorage, AK that crosses Canadian airspace could result in an emergency landing in Canada).

The final rule does NOT require the SIC pilot type rating for domestic flight operations within United States airspace. NBAA commented on this proposal in December 2004, resulting in the FAA clarifying certain aspects of this rule, specifically limiting the rule to only international operations. "Domestic flight operations within United States airspace’’ mean:

  • Between any points within the 48 contiguous States of the United States or the District of Columbia;
  • Operations solely within the 48 contiguous States of the United States or the District of Columbia;
  • Operations entirely within any State, territory, or possession of the United States; and
  • Flights within the Hawaiian Islands.

How To Get An SIC Type Rating

A pilot may get an SIC type rating by completing SIC familiarization training as described in 61.55(d), or by satisfactorily completing an approved second-in-command training program or a proficiency check under parts 121, 125, or 135 as described in 61.55(e).

In either case, the application and pilot certification procedures for getting an SIC type rating is the same. The only difference is that under a training program conducted under parts 121, 125, or 135, the applicant has the option of presenting documentation to the Aircrew Program Designee for processing in addition to being able to present training documentation to an FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or Examiner.

Note: There is no practical test required for the issuance of the ‘‘SIC Privileges Only’’ pilot type rating.

For complete guidance, please refer to the final rule or 14 CFR 61.55. The summary of the process is as follows:

1) The SIC pilot type rating applicant receives familiarization training under 61.55(b) from a qualified pilot in command or an authorized flight instructor who holds the aircraft type rating on his/her pilot certificate.

2) The trainer signs the applicant's logbook or training record after each lesson in accordance with 61.51(h)(2). In lieu of the trainer, it is permissible for a qualified management official within the organization to sign the applicant’s training records or logbook and make the required endorsement. See 61.55 for the definition of a qualified management official.

3) The trainer or qualified management official makes an endorsement in the applicant's logbook that states ''[Applicant's Name and Pilot Certificate Number] has demonstrated the skill and knowledge required for the safe operation of the [Type of Aircraft], relevant to the duties and responsibilities of a second-in-command.''

4) The applicant completes and signs an Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, FAA Form 8710-1, and presents the application and a paper copy of the training records containing the signature of the trainer or qualified management official to a FSDO or Examiner.

5) The person who provided the ground and flight training to the applicant must sign the "Instructor’s Recommendation" section of FAA Form 8710–1.

6) The applicant must appear in person at FSDO or to an Examiner with his or her logbook/training records and with the completed and signed FAA Form 8710–1.

The FAA Airman Certification Branch has developed application and certification procedures to be used in expediting the process of applying for an SIC type rating. Review a sample application.

Background Information

The Convention on International Civil Aviation (61 Stat. 1180), which was signed at Chicago, Illinois, on December 7, 1944 (the Convention), is an international treaty that establishes certain principles and arrangements to ensure that international civil aviation develops in a safe and orderly manner and operates soundly and economically.

The Member States who signed the Convention, including the United States, agreed to keep their regulations governing civil aviation, to the greatest possible extent, consistent with those established under the Convention (Article 12). The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is the entity established by the Convention to set international regulatory standards.

Concerning pilots and flight crew members, the Member States agreed to mutually recognize each others’ certificates of competency and licenses if the requirements for the certificates or licenses are equal to or above the minimum standards established under the Convention (Article 33). If a Member State finds it impracticable to comply with an ICAO standard or bring its regulations into full accord with an ICAO standard, or adopts regulations different from an ICAO standard, it must notify ICAO of the difference (Article 38).

The United States had filed a difference with ICAO concerning our SIC qualification requirements under 14 CFR 61.55 versus ICAO’s type ratings standards for the SIC pilot flight crewmember position (See ICAO Annex 1, paragraphs 2.1.3.2 and 2.1.4.1.A).

The difference between the FAA’s requirements and the ICAO standards was that the FAA did not issue a pilot type rating for the SIC pilot flight crewmember position. Although the U.S. SIC qualifications require initial and annual recurrent knowledge and flight training and ICAO does not, as a result of not issuing SIC pilot type ratings, some foreign civil aviation authorities (European and Caribbean) had notified the FAA and U.S. flight crews that they intended to enforce the ICAO type rating standards for SIC pilot crewmembers when U.S. flight crews operate in their airspace.

This could have resulted in U.S. flight crews being grounded. To resolve this situation, the FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on November 16, 2004 (69 FR 67258) and proposed to establish SIC type ratings on U.S. airmen certificates.

New Regulation 14 CFR 61.55 (Effective 09-06-05)

61.55 Second-in-command qualifications.

(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 current private pilot certificate with the appropriate category and class rating; and

(2) An instrument rating or privilege that applies to the aircraft being flown if the flight is under IFR; and

(3) The appropriate pilot type rating for the aircraft unless the flight will be conducted as domestic flight operations within United States airspace.

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, no 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 unless that person has within the previous 12 calendar months:

(1) Become familiar with the following information for the specific type aircraft for which second-in-command privileges are requested—

(i) Operational procedures applicable to the powerplant, equipment, and systems.

(ii) Performance specifications and limitations.

(iii) Normal, abnormal, and emergency operating procedures.

(iv) Flight manual.

(v) Placards and markings.

(2) Except as provided in paragraph (g) of this section, performed and logged pilot time in the type of aircraft or in a flight simulator that represents the type of aircraft for which second-in-command privileges are requested, which includes—

(i) Three takeoffs and three landings to a full stop as the sole manipulator of the flight controls;

(ii) Engine-out procedures and maneuvering with an engine out while executing the duties of pilot in command; and

(iii) Crew resource management training.

(c) If a person complies with the requirements in paragraph (b) of this section in the calendar month before or the calendar month after the month in which compliance with this section is required, then that person is considered to have accomplished the training and practice in the month it is due.

(d) A person may receive a second-in-command pilot type rating for an aircraft after satisfactorily completing the second-in-command familiarization training requirements under paragraph (b) of this section in that type of aircraft provided the training was completed within the 12 calendar months before the month of application for the SIC pilot type rating. The person must comply with the following application and pilot certification procedures:

(1) The person who provided the training must sign the applicant's logbook or training record after each lesson in accordance with §61.51(h)(2) of this part. In lieu of the trainer, it is permissible for a qualified management official within the organization to sign the applicant's training records or logbook and make the required endorsement. The qualified management official must hold the position of Chief Pilot, Director of Training, Director of Operations, or another comparable management position within the organization that provided the training and must be in a position to verify the applicant's training records and that the training was given.

(2) The trainer or qualified management official must make an endorsement in the applicant's logbook that states “[Applicant's Name and Pilot Certificate Number] has demonstrated the skill and knowledge required for the safe operation of the [Type of Aircraft], relevant to the duties and responsibilities of a second in command.”

(3) If the applicant's flight experience and/or training records are in an electronic form, the applicant must present a paper copy of those records containing the signature of the trainer or qualified management official to an FAA Flight Standards District Office or Examiner.

(4) The applicant must complete and sign an Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, FAA Form 8710–1, and present the application to an FAA Flight Standards District Office or to an Examiner.

(5) The person who provided the ground and flight training to the applicant must sign the “Instructor's Recommendation” section of the Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, FAA Form 8710–1. In lieu of the trainer, it is permissible for a qualified management official within the organization to sign the applicant's FAA Form 8710–1.

(6) The applicant must appear in person at a FAA Flight Standards District Office or to an Examiner with his or her logbook/training records and with the completed and signed FAA Form 8710–1.

(7) There is no practical test required for the issuance of the “SIC Privileges Only” pilot type rating.

(e) A person may receive a second-in-command pilot type rating for the type of aircraft after satisfactorily completing an approved second-in-command training program, proficiency check, or competency check under subpart K of part 91, part 121, part 125, or part 135, as appropriate, in that type of aircraft provided the training was completed within the 12 calendar months before the month of application for the SIC pilot type rating. The person must comply with the following application and pilot certification procedures:

(1) The person who provided the training must sign the applicant's logbook or training record after each lesson in accordance with §61.51(h)(2) of this part. In lieu of the trainer, it is permissible for a qualified management official within the organization to sign the applicant's training records or logbook and make the required endorsement. The qualified management official must hold the position of Chief Pilot, Director of Training, Director of Operations, or another comparable management position within the organization that provided the training and must be in a position to verify the applicant's training records and that the training was given.

(2) The trainer or qualified management official must make an endorsement in the applicant's logbook that states “[Applicant's Name and Pilot Certificate Number] has demonstrated the skill and knowledge required for the safe operation of the [Type of Aircraft], relevant to the duties and responsibilities of a second in command.”

(3) If the applicant's flight experience and/or training records are in an electronic form, the applicant must provide a paper copy of those records containing the signature of the trainer or qualified management official to an FAA Flight Standards District Office, an Examiner, or an Aircrew Program Designee.

(4) The applicant must complete and sign an Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, FAA Form 8710–1, and present the application to an FAA Flight Standards District Office or to an Examiner or to an authorized Aircrew Program Designee.

(5) The person who provided the ground and flight training to the applicant must sign the “Instructor's Recommendation” section of the Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, FAA Form 8710–1. In lieu of the trainer, it is permissible for a qualified management official within the organization to sign the applicant's FAA Form 8710–1.

(6) The applicant must appear in person at an FAA Flight Standards District Office or to an Examiner or to an authorized Aircrew Program Designee with his or her logbook/training records and with the completed and signed FAA Form 8710–1.

(7) There is no practical test required for the issuance of the “SIC Privileges Only” pilot type rating.

(f) The familiarization training requirements of paragraph (b) of this section do not apply to a person who is:

(1) Designated and qualified as pilot in command under subpart K of part 91, part 121, 125, or 135 of this chapter in that specific type of aircraft;

(2) Designated as the second in command under subpart K of part 91, part 121, 125, or 135 of this chapter in that specific type of aircraft;

(3) Designated as the second in command in that specific type of aircraft for the purpose of receiving flight training required by this section, and no passengers or cargo are carried on the aircraft; or

(4) Designated as a safety pilot for purposes required by §91.109(b) of this chapter.

(g) The holder of a commercial or airline transport pilot certificate with the appropriate category and class rating is not required to meet the requirements of paragraph (b)(2) of this section, provided the pilot:

(1) Is conducting a ferry flight, aircraft flight test, or evaluation flight of an aircraft's equipment; and

(2) Is not carrying any person or property on board the aircraft, other than necessary for conduct of the flight.

(h) For the purpose of meeting the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, a person may serve as second in command in that specific type aircraft, provided:

(1) The flight is conducted under day VFR or day IFR; and

(2) No person or property is carried on board the aircraft, other than necessary for conduct of the flight.

(i) The training under paragraphs (b) and (d) of this section and the training, proficiency check, and competency check under paragraph (e) of this section may be accomplished in a flight simulator that is used in accordance with an approved training course conducted by a training center certificated under part 142 of this chapter or under subpart K of part 91, part 121 or part 135 of this chapter.

(j) When an applicant for an initial second-in-command qualification for a particular type of aircraft receives all the training in a flight simulator, that applicant must satisfactorily complete one takeoff and one landing in an aircraft of the same type for which the qualification is sought. This requirement does not apply to an applicant who completes a proficiency check under part 121 or competency check under subpart K, part 91, part 125, or part 135 for the particular type of aircraft.