Need to share the cost?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Skydreamer2015, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. Skydreamer2015

    Skydreamer2015 Pre-Flight

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    If a commercial pilot wanted to provide pilot services for free to fly a plane that is being rented entirely by a friend that wants flown out of town, is that legal? The pilot is still getting the benefit of the flight time, but zero monetary gain. I have been told that even gaining free flight time in exchange for flying an individual is considered compensation in the eyes of the FAA. True? False? Or it's another one of those, it's all in the interpretation?
     
  2. Zeldman

    Zeldman En-Route

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    True. free flight time can be considered compensation.

    Yes, a commercial pilot can fly a plane for compensation, even if it is free flight time.

    Your proposed trip would be your friend is renting the plane and hiring a pilot to fly it for him.
     
  3. mtuomi

    mtuomi Pattern Altitude

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    What's wrong with that, when the pilot is a commercial pilot?
     
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  4. BigBadLou

    BigBadLou En-Route

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    We are about to find out.
    PoA never disappoints. :D
     
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  5. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    What do you mean by "being rented"? Is the rental place a facility you have a history with? Who would the rental company tell the FAA had operational control of the flight?

    dtuuri
     
  6. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Isn't this obvious? The renter would act as PIC. Which might be a problem if he's not instrument rated and he needs a clearance.

    But FBO and insurance rules don't affect legality. It would be perfectly legal for a commercial pilot to act as PIC for free, as long as he's rated in category and class and has necessary endorsements and ratings, and a valid Class 2 medical.

    The FBO might want the renter in the left seat, which might possibly present a problem. Still, it doesn't affect legality.
     
  7. John221us

    John221us En-Route PoA Supporter

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    This sounds like some of the stuff I have heard of (though not in club planes and not for free). I believe it is kind of a gray area. Customer does a "dry lease" on a plane (let's say a PC-12). Customer is not a pilot. The customer also has to find his own pilot, so the guy managing the plane happens to "know someone" he refers to him. Customer pays for fuel. This is, of course, to skirt part 135 ops. My understanding is that if the plane is a rental and it is not a sight seeing flight (i.e. plane lands at the same airport it departed from) then the plane and pilot cannot be provided by the same company/organization or it becomes part 135. It seems like the OP's scenario matches this model. Customer rents plane, customer finds his own pilot (not provided by the school). The only question is the gas, if he is renting it wet. I am not an expert, though. Also, it is unlikely that a school/rental place would rent to a non-pilot. Then the question becomes, what if the plane is rented in the name of the commercial pilot, then the commercial pilot is providing both the plane and the piloting, so does that then become part 135?
     
  8. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yeah. That's got me scratching my head what the problem could be. But I'll take a stab at it. Here goes. The FAA is in cahoots with the Labor Department and it's a violation of the Minimum Wage rules.
     
  9. mtuomi

    mtuomi Pattern Altitude

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    An hour of flight time definitely is worth more than minimum wage :)

    Key word is operational control, I think this would be legit. I don't see the rental place having any operational control in this case, so no 135 rules are being bent.
     
  10. Bobanna

    Bobanna Line Up and Wait

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    Yes, this smacks of on-demand air taxi service. Iff the FBO would rent the plane to the (non-pilot) friend, the hurdles would be overcome. But who is insured to operate the plane, and who is checked-out in the plane? I don't see any way around the details without violating the regulations, or at least, the "spirit" of the regulations. Perhaps best to assume a "don't ask, don't tell" stance (at your own peril).
     
  11. Ryanb

    Ryanb En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Pretty ignorant, but yea it's true.
     
  12. DoubleD

    DoubleD Pre-Flight

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    If the plane and pilot are being supplied by the same person or company, it's Part 135. Think through how it would look in the hearing if something happened or it were reported to the FAA, and then decide.
     
  13. Clip4

    Clip4 Pattern Altitude

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    Nothing as long as the pilot has a Class II medical, the plane has a 100 hr and the pilot is totally independent of the rental process and no way affiliated with the people owning the plane.
     
  14. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Final Approach

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    What a number of people have at least suggested, in there hypothetical situation posted, the past I put in bold is the real question.

    If indeed the non-pilot friend is the one renting the airplane, nothing wrong with the situation, even if the pilot is paid big bucks.

    But "renting the plane" in this context means more than "paying for the plane." As others said, it involves something the FAA calls "operative control." I'm simplifying, but In this context, one thing it means is that, the lessor has given the renter friends has full responsibility for the airplane, including any damage that might issue to it, and the right to select anyone as a pilotwho meets some objective qualifications,, not just from a select group okayed by lessor.

    I've seen situations like that, always involving a relatively complex "dry lease" contract, but never one involving an FBO rental.

    BTW, "share the cost" is in the title of the thread but is pretty much irrelevant to the discussion. The scenario sounds like a trip for the benefit of the friend, not a "common purpose" flight. so even cost sharing would be improper.
     
  15. Bobanna

    Bobanna Line Up and Wait

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    It sounds to me that the "pilot" is the one who would rent the plane and be compensated by the (non-pilot) friend. Would the FBO rent to a non-pilot? If they(even) would, how could there be any insurance coverage renting an airplane to a non-pilot? If the FBO rents to the pilot, and he receives compensation for the flight it is pretty clear that the pilot has assumed full operational control of the flight. 135 regs pertain.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017 at 6:06 PM
  16. Clip4

    Clip4 Pattern Altitude

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    It is not unusual for planes to be rented to companies and the company provides the insurance and the pilot. Common at an FBO? No, but it occurs.
     
  17. Bobanna

    Bobanna Line Up and Wait

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    Sure. But, you are posing a unique situation (with a bunch of documentation, I suspect) as opposed to the OP who suggested exercising his CPL in a walk-up situation at an FBO. I'm not aware of any that could accept that sort of arrangement. No contention; I was responding to the general case originally proposed. Blessings
     
  18. psween

    psween Pre-Flight

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    No idea how it would work now, but the OP's arrangement is how I got my first airplane ride. My mom booked a 150 at a the local FBO (N704UY, crazy how that number sticks with me), then my uncle who was a CFII and ATP rated pilot met us at the airport and took me up. Pretty sure he was just flying, not paying for the ride in any way, and as far as I know the FBO rented to my mom, a non-pilot, or at least she paid 100% of the cost. This would have been in 1989, so I'm sure insurance and liability at FBOs is different, and this was a local sightseeing flight and not out of town, but it's one data point. No idea if it was FAA kosher or not, and nobody seemed to care.

    Patrick
     
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  19. Bobanna

    Bobanna Line Up and Wait

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    Pat:
    Thanks for your fond recollection, but your situation was a bit different than OP's original question which involved transport for hire. Your uncle was the operator of the airplane and obviously checked-out by the FBO, and your mom simply ran the cost on her credit card (or whatever). Nobody was transported anywhere for compensation, and that scheme seems fully legitimate. Your closing line summed-it-up and made me smile. Stay well

    PS: Let me add that I think we are reaching a state of paralysis by analysis; situations like the one described by the OP happen frequently and are generally not discussed in advance or afterwards -- just exercise discretion and if one is breaking rules, know which ones you're breaking along with potential consequences. It's usually easier to apologize than it is to get permission (just sayin').
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017 at 1:56 PM
  20. StinkBug

    StinkBug Cleared for Takeoff

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    This is really no different than a non pilot buying an aircraft and hiring a commercial pilot to fly it for them. You guys are getting all wrapped up in the rental thing, which is not a thing. The person wanting to fly rents the aircraft, that puts the operational control on the renter. Operational control is not the same as PIC by the way. The company renting the aircraft may want to know who is going to fly it or put their own stipulations on it, but that is completely beside the point, as is how much or how little the pilot is being paid. The hired pilot is flying a plane that is supplied by the person hiring them. Totally legal, and also the EXACT scenario given to me by the DPE during the oral portion of my Commercial Pilot checkride.

    What would make the flight not legal is if the pilot owned the plane being used, or if they rented it themselves.