Instrument Rating Training question
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During an instrument training flight with an instructor, if you have picked up an IFR clearance and are operating under IFR conditions is the instructor the pilot in command in this training scenario?
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1012 Posts
The FAA strongly discourages doing the Instrument Rating Practical Test under IFR for a number of reasons which I'll skip.  However, if the examiner agrees to do that (most won't), the examiner must agree to be the PIC under 61.47, and the examiner must be listed as PIC on the flight plan, because only the examiner is legal per 61.3(e) to be the PIC under IFR or in IMC.  The applicant can still log PIC time as the sole manipulator of the controls as well as actual instrument time for the time the aircraft is in actual instrument conditions.  The examiner logs nothing, since the examiner doesn't meet any of the clauses in 61.51(e) to log PIC time.
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What about on the Instrument Check Ride?  Can it be done in actual IMC and who is acting as PIC during the instrument check ride?
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1012 Posts
Yes, assuming the trainee is “rated” in that aircraft, i.e., correct category/class ratings on the pilot’s license).  Remember that this "rated" NOT include “endorsements” like complex, just category/class (and type, if that’s required for that aircraft). So if you’re an ASEL pilot with no high performance endorsement doing a Cirrus SR22 checkout along with your IR training, it does count as PIC time.  However, if you’re an ASEL pilot training in a twin working on the instrument at the same time as your ME rating, you are not rated in that aircraft and cannot log it as PIC time.
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So, if the trainee is sole manipulator of the controls, can they log PIC regardless of flight conditions (IMC) or on an IFR flight plan?
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1012 Posts
Prometheus is right that they they can both log PIC time during that flight, but that's an entirely separate issue covered by separate from who is the PIC -- and there can be only one PIC at a time during flight.  In order to be legal, if that flight is in IMC or under IFR, the PIC must have instrument privileges under 61.3(e), and in the OP's scenario, the trainee doesn't have an instrument rating and thus doesn't have instrument privileges.
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However, the instrument trainee is able to log that time which they are the sole manipulator of the controls as PIC time per 61.51(e)(1)(i),  Dual Instruction and instrument actual. The instructor also can log the time as PIC per 61.51(e)(3). In this case the instructor is the "acting" PIC, per 1.1 the FAA defines “PIC” (acting) as the person who:
(1) Has final authority and responsibility for the operation and safety of the flight,
(2) Has been designated as pilot in command before or during the flight, and
(3) Holds the appropriate category, class, and type rating, if appropriate, for the conduct of the flight.