Pilot for Hire Scenario

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
So I'm working at the FBO last night when we get a phone call: "There are three of us stranded here in Austin and we need a flight to dallas, is there anyone who can fly us to dallas tonight?".

My coworker responded that he would contact the charter company on the field that has two lear 35's, then hung up, but we all knew it would be unlikely that the lears and pilots for them would be available on such short notice. So my coworker turns to me and says "why don't you take them in the flight school's seneca? I'll call them back and you can take them after your shift ends if you want."

To make a long story short, I responded that it would be illegal since I don't have a part 135 operating certificate, and declined the offer. I felt that accepting this offer would be tantamount to "holding out" carriage to anyone who called the FBO.

My question is, under exactly what circumstances would it be legal for me (a commercial pilot who is in no way affiliated or employeed by the owner of the aircraft to be used) to be compensated for flying the people in this scenario. Would it be legal if the passengers arranged to have the plane rented themselves, paid for the aircraft rental and then paid me seperately? Could this be considered private carriage since it is for a select customer? Can this sort of thing be accomplished under part 91?

I am curious about your opinions, thanks for the help.
 

Acadia

Well-Known Member
The first scenario you mentioned is certainly holding out and you made a perfect call.

Money cannot pass to you or through you to pay for the aircraft*. I know that if the party in question had or had access to their own aircraft they could pay you to fly it. It gets a little questionable when they rent an aircraft directly from the company that employs you and then pay you independently for pilot services (though my commercial examiner told me that this could be done legally).

The scary thing to note is that if you screw up and are found to be flying under “Common Carriage” without a 135 certificate you get fined as though you were operating under Part 135. In other words the Feds will look at you, your aircraft, & operation and find all of the things that don’t meet Part 135 standards and you can get fined for each. Big Fines! Like 10k per instance!

*AC (There is an allowance for flying a small number of customers in your own aircraft, see section D … here is the general AC on Holding Out & Common Carriage)

AC 120-12A
 

xdashdriver

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
The first scenario you mentioned is certainly holding out and you made a perfect call.

Money cannot pass to you or through you to pay for the aircraft*. I know that if the party in question had or had access to their own aircraft they could pay you to fly it. It gets a little questionable when they rent an aircraft directly from the company that employs you and then pay you independently for pilot services (though my commercial examiner told me that this could be done legally).

The scary thing to note is that if you screw up and are found to be flying under “Common Carriage” without a 135 certificate you get fined as though you were operating under Part 135. In other words the Feds will look at you, your aircraft, & operation and find all of the things that don’t meet Part 135 standards and you can get fined for each. Big Fines! Like 10k per instance!

*AC (There is an allowance for flying a small number of customers in your own aircraft, see section D … here is the general AC on Holding Out & Common Carriage)

AC 120-12A

[/ QUOTE ]

In most cases where the customer has paid for the pilot and the plane separately and there has been a connection between the pilot and the entity or individual renting the aircraft, the FAA/NTSB have found that it is in violation of Part 135.

There are supposedly many ways to try and avoid the 135 rules, but most of them are futile. You either end up paying thousand of dollars in fines and/or thousands of dollars in legal respresentation. Not worth the risk.

Ray
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
It gets a little questionable when they rent an aircraft directly from the company that employs you and then pay you independently for pilot services (though my commercial examiner told me that this could be done legally).


[/ QUOTE ]

The local FSDO here sees this as still a violation of 135 rules. But, as we all know...different FSDO, different answers.
 

Acadia

Well-Known Member
I agree that in the above situation it would not be ok.

However here is a scenario that I know the FSDO is ok with that is very similar. An aircraft owner or FBO knows a pilot (i.e. knows credentials and has rented to that pilot in the past), but he/she is not an employee of the owner or FBO. A party that the pilot knows approaches the pilot with no aircraft looking to be flown somewhere and the pilot lets them know it might be possible to rent one, but they would have to secure the aircraft with the owner/FBO. As long as no money related to the aircraft rental changes hands between the aircraft owner and the pilot and the pilot is not an employee of the aircraft owner its ok.

This came straight from the Orlando FSDO. I had an argument about this very topic, which my commercial examiner told me was legal (I had said is was not). We got on speakerphone with the FSDO and were told it was A-Ok provided you were not holding out. Now this all falls back on "Holding Out". I am sure if you did this with multiple customers and you were willing to transport anyone who came along this way (even if they only find you by word of mouth) you would be toast.

"Private carriage for hire is carriage for one or several selected customers, generally on a long-term basis. The number of contracts must not be too great, otherwise it implies a willingness to make a contract with anybody."
The gray area is how does one become one of several selected customers?

Don’t get me wrong I’m not about to test all of this out myself. Just spitting back out info from my notes. If my examiner and the FSDO rep have steered me in the wrong direction here I would love to be straightened out.
 

Alchemy

Partner, Ally, Friend
What is considered a "select customer"? Something tells me joe blow who calls the FBO one night looking for a ride does not qualify as a "select customer". In
the scenario Acadia's Examiner tested him on, the key phrase seems to be "a party THAT THE PILOT KNOWS".

Let's say the flight school that provides the aircraft is a completely seperate entity from the FBO that employs me and that they are in no way connected, other than the fact that they're based at the same airport. Let's say I have done all my flight training with said flight school, but have never been employeed by the flight school in any way, shape or form.

So....say the people seeking transport contact my flight school, arrange to have this plane rented, tell the flight school that I will be flying the plane for them, pay the flight school for the aircraft rental, then pay me seperately for my services as a pilot. Is this legal? Don't most flight school's renter's insurance policies prohibit non-pilot's from renting the aircraft unless they're being used for flight instruction?
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
An aircraft owner or FBO knows a pilot (i.e. knows credentials and has rented to that pilot in the past), but he/she is not an employee of the owner or FBO. A party that the pilot knows approaches the pilot with no aircraft looking to be flown somewhere and the pilot lets them know it might be possible to rent one, but they would have to secure the aircraft with the owner/FBO. As long as no money related to the aircraft rental changes hands between the aircraft owner and the pilot and the pilot is not an employee of the aircraft owner its ok.


[/ QUOTE ]

Oh, OK. I see what you are saying, I think I misunderstood what you meant before.


[ QUOTE ]
The gray area is how does one become one of several selected customers?


[/ QUOTE ]

I was always under the impression that an actual contract must be signed between the company and the customers. I know a person who flies people from a couple of different companies this way with the FAA's knowledge....but then he goes and breaks the laws in a different way, by advertising "Charter and Cargo", when in fact he does not hold a 135 certificate. One of these days the FAA will probably make him rip it down.
 

Ophir

Well-Known Member
When I was getting my Commercial I told all my friends I would fly them anywhere and split the cost with them, pro rata, of course.

In your situation Alchemy you could have gotten seneca time at a quarter the normal cost, at least one leg of it. That is the only way I can see around it.
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
B E C A R E F U L

The San Jose FSDO was notorious for calling us at my old flight school and saying, "Hey, I need to get to Bakersfield tonight, I need a plane and a pilot"
 

Derg

Cap, Roci
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Just out of curiosity, how did you know it was them?

[/ QUOTE ]

One of the inspectors at the Oakland FSDO told me about it. And it happened (numerous times) just as he described it. Once the "passenger" even said, "well, can I just bring along a camera and we could call it a sightseeing tour?" or "How about you putting me in the left seat and calling it cross country flight instruction?" just as the inspector told me he would.
 

pilotjww

New Member
Doug-
I, too, have learned that FSDO's make annonymous calls to flight schools asking for rides and so on. I believe I actually overheard one side of such a call. Its not worth it! Like one of the other posters said before: Always do the right thing, and if you cant tell what is the right thing, do the hard thing, because its probably right.

'Nuff preaching, now back tho the fun stuff...
 

Minuteman

“Dongola”
When you're enforcement, judge, jury, and executioner all rolled into one I guess there's no such thing as entrapment...

As long as they couldn't bust you for only holding out (and not flying anywhere), it seems like it would be kind of gratifying to make a deal over the phone and have a change of mind after that FAA Man drove all the way out to the airport for nothing.
 

EatSleepFly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
As long as they couldn't bust you for only holding out (and not flying anywhere)

[/ QUOTE ]

From what I understand, they can. Anyone know this for sure?
 

moxiepilot

Well-Known Member
Acadia said:
As long as no money related to the aircraft rental changes hands between the aircraft owner and the pilot and the pilot is not an employee of the aircraft owner its ok.
why?

why would that constitute holdong out if you rented the aircraft that you are transporting things in?
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
Ophir said:
When I was getting my Commercial I told all my friends I would fly them anywhere and split the cost with them, pro rata, of course.

In your situation Alchemy you could have gotten seneca time at a quarter the normal cost, at least one leg of it. That is the only way I can see around it.
Even then, there are grey areas. There have been cases where the FAA saw the flight time accrued during the flight as compensation, even though the pilot paid his share of the costs. The litmus test was whether or not the pilot would have made that flight had the passengers not asked him (or her) to do so. Specifically, it was applied to some shadey multiengine time building at an FBO. It was known that people could call Mr. X and get cheap flights to various regional airports while only paying their share of the airplane costs. It was seen as holding out because of the word-of-mouth promotion and flight for compensation due to the multi-time building. Pilot? Busted.
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
woah....now this is an old thread! I guess that means the transfer of threads from the old ubbthreads to vbulletin worked well! hahahaha
 

seagull

Well-Known Member
Yes, an old thread. One point that should be addressed, though, is that it doesn't matter what your local FSDO says. The fact that different FSDO's say different things doesn't matter either. You could have something from your FSDO in writing, and something that says the same from your Region in writing, but if the FAA Chief Counsel's office in Washington D.C. say otherwise, you WILL lose. Period.
 
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