You may think an instrument rating is only required when the conditions are IFR, but there are times when it is needed even in VFR weather.
A safety pilot (SP) is a second flight crewmember required by 14 CFR §91.109(c)(1) only when the pilot flying (PF) is flying under simulated instrument conditions. Only the simulated instrument portion of the flight requires two pilots and is therefore the only period for which both pilots could potentially log PIC time. A safety pilot may log PIC time as long as they are acting as pilot-in-command for the simulated instrument portion of the flight. If they are not acting as pilot-in-command they must log their time as SIC.
To exercise the privileges of a pilot certificate pilots must meet the FAA standards for both currency and proficiency. Currency means recent flight experience and proficiency is the level of expertise. FAA private pilot currency requirements are described in 14 CFR §61.57 Recent flight experience: Pilot in command. At least once every 24 calendar months pilots are required to have their knowledge and skills evaluated by an authorized instructor to ensure they are maintaining their proficiency and this is called a flight review - 14 CFR §61.56 Flight Review.
The phrase “clear of the active” at non-towered airports is totally meaningless because all runways are potentially active. Just because you don’t see anyone else using other runways at any given moment doesn’t mean they are not active. You won’t find the phrase “clear of the active” mentioned anywhere in the FAA Pilot/Controller glossary and it is not sanctioned by the FAA.
Two things are necessary for a private pilot to act as Pilot in Command (PIC) of an aircraft even if they are flying alone; a current flight review and a valid medical qualification. To fly with or without passengers, your most recent flight review must have occurred within the past 24 calendar months. This [...]