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What Documents to Carry on an Aircraft

What documents do pilots need to carry on board the aircraft when flying? It is important for all pilots to know what documents they must legally have on board, but it can be quite confusing trying to understand the legal requirements and where to find the most up-to-date legislation in relation to documentation requirements.

As pilot in command, knowing these requirements will both ensure you meet your legal obligations and give you peace of mind, should you get a ramp check or spot audit from CASA or RAAus. Here is a list of items that need to always be carried on an aircraft when flying in Australia for day VFR flights. These references can be located on CASR 91.105, 91.110 and the RAAus Operations Manual and VFRG.


Licence

For Recreational Pilot Certificate holders, while it is a good idea to have your Certificate on you, it is not a legal requirement. As per the RAAus Ops Section 2.03, Recreational Pilot Certificate holders only have to produce documentation within 72 hours of being requested by RAAus or CASA.
 
Medical Certificate

Recreational Pilot Certificate holders may be required to have a medical certificate. If so, as per the RAAus Operations Manual, the pilot has 72 hours to produce the document if requested by RAAus or CASA.
 
Photographic ID

While CAO 95.55 notes RAAus pilots are exempted to the CASR 91 requirement to carry photo ID, it is a good idea to still carry photo ID when flying. It’s also sensible to keep photo ID on hand for flight planning, maintenance and travel purposes.
 
Flight Manual or Pilot Operating Handbook (POH)

The aircraft Flight Manual or Pilot Operating Handbook must be on board the aircraft at all times.

Minimum Equipment List for the Aircraft Type

If your aircraft type has a minimum equipment list, this equipment must be on-board the aircraft. This list is often contained in the Flight Manual or Pilot Operating Handbook.


Recreational and Light Sport Aircraft

As per CAO 95.32, 95.55 and the RAAus Operations Manual, each aircraft must have a means of ascertaining current registration and valid airworthiness. This would normally mean a registration certificate on board and a type certificate, or for LSA aircraft, a special Certificate of Airworthiness on board the aircraft.

Other Exemptions

CAO 95.55 provides an exemption for RAAus pilots to the CASR 91 requirement for carrying Technical Logs, Maintenance Releases and Authorized Aeronautical Information, however it’s always a good idea to have these documents on hand when flying, for reference and for planning and maintenance purposes.

Do pilots need to have their Logbook with them?

As per CASR 61.345 and RAAus Ops Manual 2.03, a pilot logbook is not required to be carried on board an aircraft. However, for RAAus Pilot Certificate holders the logbook must be presented within 72 hours, if requested from Recreational Aviation Australia.

Documentation Checklist

It is a good idea to have your own documentation checklist which is particular for your licence or certificate type, that you check every time you go flying. The checklist will also vary depending on whether you are flying within 50nm or the training area. It’s not much extra work for the peace of mind that you have everything you need!