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4 Answers

Offering to Fly to Football Game

Asked by: 1848 views FAA Regulations

I live in Columbus and I'd like to fly up to Cleveland a couple of times this fall to watch the Browns play. I've toyed with the idea of making a listing on Craigslist or some fan forum asking if anyone else would like to ride along and we all split the costs of the flight. Would this be acceptable with the regs?

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4 Answers

  1. Mark Kolber on May 09, 2013

    There’s unfortunately no good answer to this. In 2011 the FAA Chief Counsel issued the Haberkorn opinion http://goo.gl/txl16.

    Haberkorn is generally cited for its welcome expansion of the ability of pilots to share expenses. A “common purpose” has pretty much always been a requirement for sharing flights but prior formal opinions and NTSB decisions as least suggested that the “common purpose” must involve the =reason= for being at the common destination. Harberkorn tells us that only the destination need be common; the reason for being there need not.

    But Haberkorn also discusses the question of a Facebook post similar to what you propose for Craiglist. Read Haberkorn for yourself, but I think it’s salient comment on this issue is in a paragraph n the second page of the letter::

    While you offer no additional details about the nature of the post or how large your Facebook audience is, the FAA cautions that this type of advertising may be construed as holding out. Advertising is not confined to print media, such as magazines or newspapers, and advancing technology allows one to quickly reach a large audience through the electronic communications and internet posts. Additionally, even if you limit the transportation services to a class or segment of the general public (such as Facebook users), it may still be considered holding out if it expresses a willingness to provide transportation for all within this class or segment to the extent of its capacity. … Finally, the FAA cannot determine or approve in advance what type of advertising or soliciting are considered a holding out of air transportation service without all available facts concerning a specific situation.

    It goes on to say that even a post on a physical bulletin board at the airport might be construed as holding out.

    The bottom line is that while the FAA appears willing to consider the possibility of legitimate sharing through FaceBook, there’s a hugh “BUT…”

    If I were to wildly guess, I’d say that the Craiglist post is probably a no-go; it’s pretty obviously to an unlimited audience on a site that is designed for buying and selling. The fan forum? Maybe, but there are way too many unanswered questions for my taste.

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  2. John D. Collins on May 09, 2013

    I think Mark has hit the nail on the head. I suspect if you were to just discuss this with friends that you know are fans, you are less likely to generate an issue.

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  3. Sam Dawson on May 10, 2013

    I’m with John and Mark. As a former 135 chief pilot I was not really concerned about the gray area guy talking to his buddies about going to a game, and in most cases it will be a 135 operator that will turn you in.
    When a person started to hold out to a larger audience, however, my ears pricked up as I considered this competition by someone who did not have to meet the regulatory compliance that my employer did. Now I took care of these one on one- I did not get the FSDO involved- and in every case the person involved removed their advertisement. Others, however, may not feel the same way and may go for the “nuclear option” from the get go.

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  4. Mark Kolber on May 10, 2013

    For those who complain about how unfair the restrictions are on what we can do as private pilots, pay close attention to Sam’s post. IMO, the restrictions on what we can do privately have two goals.

    One is to protect the public who may have no idea what a good pilot is or isn’t by increasing the requirements for operations for compensation.

    The other is to protect those 135 operators who have made an extensive and expensive commitment of time, training, money and aggravation to meet those increased requirements.

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