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4 Answers

Helicopter Transport Part 91 vs 135

Asked by: 466 views Commercial Pilot, FAA Regulations, General Aviation, Helicopter


Owner leases a helicopter for private use including transporting himself, family members or friends or even employees of his business strictly to go from point A to point B.

Owner also hires a commercial pilot to pilot the aircraft and pay a salary for on-demand services (point A to point B). Other than that, there is no exchange of compensation or money for anyone who will be a passenger. 

Is this known as noncommon carriage or private carriage? And more importantly, can this be considered Part 91 and not 135?

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4 Answers

  1. KDS on Aug 19, 2017

    If I’m reading your question correctly, it sounds no different than a standard Part 91 corporate flight department.

    You might want to look through the legal interpretations:


    Every variation of a 135 question seems to have been asked at one time or another.

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  2. HeliStudent7 on Aug 19, 2017

    Thank you for the quick response. So whether ‘owning’ or ‘leasing’ a helicopter, you are the owner, correct?

    Also, can the pilot drop off pax at point B, leave and come back the next day to pick them up? Or is that opening a whole new can of regulations?

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  3. KDS on Aug 19, 2017

    I’m kind of working without a net, so while I fairly sure I’m correct, I’d check further before making any big money commitment. However, I can’t think of any corporate flight department that operates under Part 135, but I’m sure someone out there has some reason for doing that. I do know corporate flight departments that will use 135 standards for safety and liability reasons, but they aren’t 135 carriers.

    How the corporation chooses to use the aircraft is just part of doing business. Think of it in terms of the company having a van that it uses to take workers from one location to another. What they do doesn’t matter. However, if the “hold out” for business, that changes their status. If they are put an ad in the paper saying “we travel from A to B on a regular basis and have open seats, if you would like to go from A to B in one of those open seats, we will take you for only $10.” Now they’re a commercial operator. Same logic with airplanes.

    These two definitions cut from FAR Part 1 and pasted here may help to understand:

    Operate, with respect to aircraft, means use, cause to use or authorize to use aircraft, for the purpose (except as provided in 91.13 of this chapter) of air navigation including the piloting of aircraft, with or without the right of legal control (as owner, lessee, or otherwise).

    Operational control, with respect to a flight, means the exercise of authority over initiating, conducting or terminating a flight.

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  4. HeliStudent7 on Aug 19, 2017

    Thanks for that. Yes, “holding out” would make it similar to a charter. But for personal use for family and friends, it should be 91.

    So the other question is, could you drop them off at point B, leave and go back to your original departure airport, come back the next day and pick them up and bring them back to point B as part 91? Or would that constitute some sort of commercial operation since you transported them to the destination and didn’t come back to the original departure with the same people/crew? How does that work?

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