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2 Answers

Being reimbursed as private pilot

Asked by: 2065 views Private Pilot


A friend of mine wants to do some traveling and would like me to fly him around for some of it.

Can I be reimbursed for the all expenses as a private pilot?


I have read § 61.113 and understand that.

I have heard in the past of people taking the reimbursement as a donation towards college or as a money gift.

Is this something that would be legal or would I have to pay for half?

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2 Answers

  1. Sam Dawson on Jul 28, 2014

    Mark will probably jump in here in a moment with some refernces (FAA Cheif Counsel Opinions and NTSB Legal Desicions).
    1. As a private pilot you can not normally take any compensation for such flights and must pay your pro rata share. Even flight time is compensation and falls under commercial operations.
    2. Even deviding the cost you must have a common purpose for the trip, though “common purpose” can be vague. Your friend may suggest going to the beach, you may agree that it is a great idea and offer to fly. But you must have a reason other than your friend going someplace.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Jul 29, 2014

    I think you covered it, Sam. One can go through decades of FAA interpretations and NTSB decisions (many if which have been referred to in this forum) but a number of principles come through.

    First, the base prohibition against compensation of private pilots is strict and the exceptions limited.

    Second, “compensation” is anything of value received in exchange for transportation. At it’s extreme we have the FAA’s treatment of such things as loggable flight time, hopes of future business opportunities and tax deductions. I doubt the FAA is going to exempt “donations to my college fund” especially when it’s pretty clearly (wink wink) a substitute for direct payment and is intended to benefit the pilot.

    Third, the “shared expense” exception is, as you described, limited to a shared purpose or at least a shared destination the pilot has a reason to go to independent of taking the passenger. IOW, if the purpose of getting into the air is to take a passenger somewhere, a private pilot can’t even share the expense with the passenger.

    Yep, the concepts are a bit “soft” but keep in mind the goal is to prevent unlawful charters despite pilots who figure, “hmmm, if I do it this way…” to get around the rules.

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