RichM From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 803 posts, RR: 7 Posted (8 years 10 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1998 times:
I am aware that some aircraft require 2 pilots in order to be permitted to fly, whilst others are permitted to fly with only 1 pilot. Why are some aircraft certified for one pilot, and not others? Obviously 1 pilot on his own in a commercial airliner would be a bad idea, for safety reasons alone, but I was just wondering what they use to distinguish between whether or not an aircraft can be flown by one pilot or 2 pilots.
KFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3309 posts, RR: 30
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1975 times:
§91.531 Second in command requirements.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) and (d) of this section, no person may operate the following airplanes without a pilot who is designated as second in command of that airplane:
(1) A large airplane, except that a person may operate an airplane certificated under SFAR 41 without a pilot who is designated as second in command if that airplane is certificated for operation with one pilot.
(2) A turbojet-powered multiengine airplane for which two pilots are required under the type certification requirements for that airplane.
(3) A commuter category airplane, except that a person may operate a commuter category airplane notwithstanding paragraph (a)(1) of this section, that has a passenger seating configuration, excluding pilot seats, of nine or less without a pilot who is designated as second in command if that airplane is type certificated for operations with one pilot.
(b) The Administrator may issue a letter of authorization for the operation of an airplane without compliance with the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section if that airplane is designed for and type certificated with only one pilot station. The authorization contains any conditions that the Administrator finds necessary for safe operation.
(c) No person may designate a pilot to serve as second in command, nor may any pilot serve as second in command, of an airplane required under this section to have two pilots unless that pilot meets the qualifications for second in command prescribed in §61.55 of this chapter.
(d) No person may operate an aircraft under subpart K of this part without a pilot who is designated as second in command of that aircraft in accordance with §91.1049(d). The second in command must meet the experience requirements of §91.1053.
Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 1975 times:
It all depends on the certification of the airplane, pilot, and operator and the type of flight conducted.
Airplanes, based on their complexity and such, are certified for a minimum required crew. Some require an SIC, some require a flight engineer, etc.
Pilots on some airplanes can be single pilot qualified if the airplane's certification allows it. An example of this would be the single pilot Cessna Citation business jets. If the pilot is not qualified, then he/she must have a copilot.
The operator in their operations certificate may have restrictions that a single pilot airplane may not actually be flown single pilot even if the pilot and aircraft allow it.
Also, the type of flight conducted makes a difference. In some 135 and smaller 121 operations, a flight may be flown single pilot if it is a cargo flight but it is required to have 2 pilots if it is the exact same flight/aircraft, but it is a passenger flight.
There are other various exceptions out there for all sorts of things. For example, in certain cases, an autopilot may be used as a substitute for a copilot.
All in all, most small general aviation planes are flown single pilot. Most 121 airline flights are flown with at least two pilots. For bigger general aviation planes (ie: biz jets) and 135 (charter, on-demand, ...) it can get really confusing really quickly and is on a case by case basis.