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Please advise is it legal to change the seat during the flight in a small plane

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Please advise is it legal to change the seat during the flight in a small plane

Old 22nd Nov 2019, 10:27
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Please advise is it legal to change the seat during the flight in a small plane

Is it legal to change the seat in a small plane (e.g PA28 or C172) during the flight?
Front passenger swap seat with the rear passenger. It's within the Center of Gravity Limits.

Thank you for your answer

Last edited by barrywei; 22nd Nov 2019 at 18:16.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 11:13
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Used to swap seats in Twin Coms, 3 up, all the time.
This was during IR training, to enable all the studes to have a go at hacking poor vis approaches. Quite legal and no problem.
Saved time and landing fees !
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 11:48
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Originally Posted by barrywei View Post
Is it legal to change the seat in a small plane (e.g PA28 or C172) during the flight? It's within the Center of Gravity Limits.

Thank you for your answer
I used to fly an Islander on surveillance operations. The customer wanted their operative to move from the back seats to the front if they wanted to take photos out of the DV window.

The thought of a 15 stone law enforcement officer falling onto the control column and pushing the nose down towards the ground did not seem like a good idea so it was a NO from me. If any of my colleagues allowed this to happen then more fool them, a risk not worth taking in a small aircraft.

Even in a heavy jet if my colleague is getting out of their seat I will place my hand on the control column and cover the thrust leavers just in case.

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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 13:11
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May sometimes be stupid, but unlikely to be illegal so long as the aeroplane remains properly controlled by the Captain, and within limits. Just occasionally you do come across an aeroplane where the manuals mandate that the PiC must be in a particular seat, but it's rare.

G
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 19:36
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I think the more pertinent question is, is it safe? There are plenty of actions that may be legal, but are unsafe, or more correctly, not justifiable on a risk basis - your job as PIC is to make that determination given the specific set of conditions you're presented with. A hard and fast yes or no to your question is simply not appropriate.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 20:19
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Who would know outside of the aircraft?
In my Army days, on a long night convoy drive in Germany we would change drivers on the move in our 4 ton trucks.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 23:44
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Originally Posted by EddieHeli View Post
Who would know outside of the aircraft?
In my Army days, on a long night convoy drive in Germany we would change drivers on the move in our 4 ton trucks.
I did it several times in an Antar Tank transport with mojos.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 02:48
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Originally Posted by Sleeve Wing View Post
Used to swap seats in Twin Coms, 3 up, all the time.
This was during IR training, to enable all the studes to have a go at hacking poor vis approaches. Quite legal and no problem.
Saved time and landing fees !
The L3 Academy accident at Lake Harney a couple of years ago was believed have been caused by just this activity I recall
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 08:11
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Can it be done? Is it legal? Is it stupid? Three very different questions with three possibly different answers. I have changed seat from front to back and back to front in a PA28 - when solo.

It was my QXC, I was only 17 (this is many, many years ago). I had flown the route previously and had flung my chart onto the passenger seat, content I knew the way and sitting back to enjoy the scenery. As I approached my first stop on the route ATC asked me to report at a named reporting point of which I was unaware. I reached for the chart but it had vanished. After a search it became clear that it had fallen into the rear of the aircraft. I unstrapped and slid between the seats to retrieve it. Sat momentarily in the rear seat I looked up at the very odd view of one of the world's first and least safe pilotless aircraft. With the chart in hand I resumed my place in the captain's seat which I was clearly unsuited for. Being 17 brings with it a feeling of invincibility which is entirely illusory but which we often get away with. If I had got stuck and crashed it would have been my own fault but would have been an interesting one for the AAIB.

So the answers for this scenario are yes, no and f*** yeah. The answers for the original question may differ slightly but in aviation if there is any doubt, there is no doubt. It might be a story to tell in thirty-odd years time or you might never get to tell the story with an AAIB inspector writing it for you. Is that a chance worth taking?
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 13:26
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Originally Posted by barrywei View Post
Is it legal to change the seat in a small plane (e.g PA28 or C172) during the flight?
....

Thank you for your answer
No. The new seat would have to be signed off by maintenance.

On a practical level, it is SO much harder to do in the air than on the ground, with all the right equipment and tools about in the hangar.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 20:53
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". I have changed seat from front to back and back to front in a PA28 - when solo."
And fortunately the autopilot was able to handle the C of G change.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 21:33
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Heard of a couple of guys who went flying in a Super Cub, and came back having changed seats during the flight. I guess they got bored.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 09:14
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@pilotmike: broad grin! Spot on, and wittily yet smilingly worded!
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 12:22
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There was a time when swapping seats in flight was regarded as a touch amusing, but as this was on a Tiger Moth I wouldn't advise trying it yourself.

One pilot would leave the front cockpit in flight and cling precariously to the wing struts as he fought the slipstream and stood on the walkway.. He could just lean into the empty cockpit enough to fly the aircraft via the control column. Meanwhile the other pilot would exit his seat and treading the wing walkway on the other side, clinging to everything within reach, ease himself into the vacant seat..The "Wingman" could then ease himself into the rear seat with the aircraft fully under control.

I heard that the advisory height for this seat change was above 1500agl...and yes...do wear parachutes!
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 13:41
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It is illegal to move seats as described. ANO 2016 article 70. CAP 393 5th edition March 2019. European law has similar regulation.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 19:24
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Does the Tiger Moth have a walkway accessable from the rear cockpit?
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 09:24
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NCC.GEN.105 Crew responsibilities (NCO.SPEC.115 is similar)
(a)The crew member shall be responsible for the proper execution of his/her duties that are:
(1)related to the safety of the aircraft and its occupants; and
(2)specified in the instructions and procedures in the operations manual.
(b)During critical phases of flight or whenever deemed necessary by the pilot-in-command in the interest of safety, the crew member shall be seated at his/her assigned station and shall not perform any activities other than those required for the safe operation of the aircraft.
(c)During flight, the flight crew member shall keep his/her safety belt fastened while at his/her station.
(d)During flight, at least one qualified flight crew member shall remain at the controls of the aircraft at all times.
From Regulation (EU) No 965/2012.

Reading between the lines, as long as a qualified flight crew member remains at the controls, other persons would be able to swap seats whenever deemed necessary by the PIC, including the PIC. The ANO 2016 article is applicable to non-EASA aircraft and is more limiting. So it looks like it depends on the aircraft at this point. But perhaps I should have dug a bit deeper.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 16:46
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Wow, stupidity has now sunk to a new level.
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Old 25th Nov 2019, 17:30
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Would you care to elaborate on that S-works? In my view, we’ve tried to answer the thread starter’s question, which is if changing seats is legal. I have refrained from commenting on whether it would be a smart thing to do, as I’d rather leave that to the wisdom of whoever will need to implement this option.
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Old 28th Nov 2019, 09:43
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Changing seats in flight was a major reason for the wheels-up incident of the Buffalo Airways Canadair CL214 water bomber in Turkey.
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