Illegal 135 flights...


New Member
Suppose you know of someone flying repeated charter-type flights without a 135 certficate. It has been done on several occasions. The single-engine airplanes are safe and well-equipped, but the pilot who is performing these flights- an FBO owner- has a questionable reputation with regards to his skill, judgement, safety, etc. In addition, he flat-out advertises "Charter and Cargo" at the FBO when in fact, he can legally do nothing of the sort.

Case in point. Woman calls up. Wants to charter an aircraft to deliver something. Owner gives her quote, and does the flight. Blatantly illegal. No question. This time it is an object. Sometimes it is people.

Now, what do you do? (Assume complete anonymity- nothing can come back on you.)

If yes, how do you go about doing it? Call the departure airport FSDO? Call the destination FSDO and tip them off of his arrival? Call the Aviation Safety hotline?

If no, what are your reasons why?

Thanks for the input!


Well-Known Member
A number of things come to mind here. First, it is unfair competition to those who have taken the steps and trouble to secure a legitimate 135 certificate. Second, I would wonder if his insurance would cover an accident that was later determined to be an 'illegal 135 flight' insured as a part 91 flight. And the competency of the pilot is of course important, but has nothing to do with the legitimacy of his operation. He's offering common carriage, plain and simple. I think I would print out AC 120-12A, Private Carriage Versus Common Carriage of Persons or Property, highlight a few passages, and place it where he will find it.

Aviation is a tough business and seems to have lots of people who try to make a little extra cash by bending the rules. Too bad.


It's easy to vote 'Yes' on a no-name poll via the internet. It's much harder to turn someone in, possibly ending that person's career.

I'd use pscraig's idea or something similar first...

I also don't see how you can ever have complete anonymity...

But it is unfair business and a safety hazard, especially if the person has questionable skills as you put it. So yes, I would turn them in, but I'd also give 'em a chance first.


New Member
"Integrity" is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. If in doubt of what's right, do what's hard.


I would warn them first - either by mail, in person, etc - that way they are deciding what the outcome is - not you.


Well-Known Member
Or you could do nothing. Let them fly illegally, then - one day - God forbid - they crash and kill someone.

That'll learn `em.

I work for a law firm which practices aviatoin law. I'm working on a case right now with exactly those circumstances. Illegal charter op. Single engine. Pilot with questionable judgment. Overloaded plane. One crash. All dead.... EXCEPT the pilot and owner.

They are now - officially - screwed.

They won't be issued a license to fly paper airplanes.

OH - and the families of those killed? NO recourse under their insurance because they were OPERATING ILLEGALLY... so they had no insurance for charter ops.

Bottom line = Report them. Now.

It's the right thing.



Well-Known Member
I'd call the FSDO and say, hey, you may want to look into the way that such and such company operates.

I don't think that anyone who so blatently violates the FARs deserves to fly a paper airplane, much less run an FBO.


Well-Known Member
I've been that type of person that "does the right thing", and its come back to haunt me more than once. So now I have a motto, if it doesn't effect me, I don't get involved! As bad as that may seem, yes there are people at risk and other things, but you never know how this could effect YOU!

I say just stay clear of the situation. It's just my opinion from being thru these situations.

BTW, before someone starts flaming, were not talking about witnessing a murder here, so don't go flaming off at me for not reporting a killing or something dumb like that!

That made no sense, I don't care!

note to self: Stop thinking aloud, people will call looney tunes hospital! Medical will be taken away! OK no seriously stop.
I would warn them first - either by mail, in person, etc - that way they are deciding what the outcome is - not you.

[/ QUOTE ]

Yes, I agree. I have a friend that someone told me was dealing drugs from his house, but I didn't know if he was or not. The same person who told me he was told me the cops were watching him. Since I didn't know if he was or not, I sorta distanced myself from him, and my plan was to drive by late on night and drop a letter off in his mailbox warning him to stop now and straighten his life out if he was cause the cops were watching him. I would never have told him who it was that wrote the letter. Turned out he wasn't and I never had to do that, but yeah, warn him in way that he won't know it is you who did it and then sit back and see what he does.