Who’s name goes on the flight plan?

There have been discussions recently on an online forum about whose name goes in the Pilot field on an IFR flight plan. The discussion disclosed that some instrument instructors have even gone as far as to allow their non-instrument rated students to file their own names on a IFR flight filings for “practice” flights flown in the IFR system (in both IMC and VMC).

Whose name and information should be on the form? The answer is the legal Pilot-in-Command. AIM 5-1-8 specifies that on the traditional FAA Domestic Flight plan filing (FAA Form 7233-1), it is the Pilot-in-Command’s name and information that should be filled into block 14 of the form.

The newly adopted ICAO form (FAA Form 7233-4) resolves some of the confusion, changing the box label from “Pilot” to “Pilot-in-Command”.

Using the above example, a non-instrument rated pilot cannot act as Pilot-in-Command of a flight under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) per 61.3(e):

(e) Instrument rating. No person may act as pilot in command of a civil aircraft under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums prescribed for VFR flight unless that person holds:

(1) The appropriate aircraft category, class, type (if required), and instrument rating on that person’s pilot certificate for any airplane, helicopter, or powered-lift being flown;


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