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7 Answers

Commercial License options

Asked by: 3729 views Commercial Pilot

I recently received my Commercial and a friend of mine who is a fly fishing guide has asked me to take a couple of his clients on a fly fishing trip.  What are the legalities of this?  Can I rent a plane from my local FBO and use it for this type of trip (something tells me it's not quite that simple).

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7 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Jan 07, 2012

    You’ll have to determine if the activity falls with the perview of Part 119.  The activity can be considered common carriage or it could be considered private carriage.  There are four elements in defining a common carrier; (1) a holding out of a willingness to (2) transport persons or property (3) from place to place (4) for compensation. This “holding out” which makes a person a common carrier can be done in many ways and it does not matter how it is done.
    Private carriage is defined to have contracts with a few limited people where the pilot and airplane do not advertise their services or hold them out as providing services.
    My advice is to read my blog here on the subject and then click on more legal interpretations on the bottom of the post and search for private carriage and common carriage.

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  2. John D. Collins on Jan 07, 2012

    What you are proposing would require a part 135 certificate.  If the friend owned the airplane, then he could hire you to fly his airplane, Any time that you provide the airplane and offer your piloting services to fly it, it is a Part 135 charter. If the friend assumed complete operational responsibility for the procurring of the airplane and then hired you as its pilot, it would be a part 91 operation.  The FAA legal opinion found at this URL should answer your questions on the matter.
    Be careful with this!

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  3. Thomas Vaillencourt on Jan 08, 2012

    Just to extrapolate – Any time you are carrying people for the purpose of transportating them to another location, the flight either falls under the realm of part 135, or must meet the exeptions outlined in 119.1 -To act as PIC on a 135 flight you would need to meet the aeronautical experience requirements for 135 including a 135 checkout.
    You can fly people around for other purposes, like photo flights, or aerial tours (which if not under your 119.1 exceptions may require a letter of agreement under 91.147), but generally anytime you drop them off and get paid, it is outside of the privelidges of a basic (non-135) commercial certificate.
    Also anytime you offer your services for hire, or make it known that you can be paid to fly, including answering yes to the “can you fly me to ____ ? I can pay you.” you are stepping into 135 territory.

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  4. dp0756 on Jan 09, 2012

    Thanks so much for the responses.

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  5. Matthew Waugh on Jan 09, 2012

    Thomas’s reply is, at best very limiting. The guiding principal others have described is “are you providing the plane and the pilot” – if so then you probably need a Part 135 certificate. If somebody else provides the plane and hires you for your skills as a pilot then, on the face of it, you’re OK. Now the person hiring you may be holding out, conducting operations that require a Par 135 certificate and you’ll be in just as much trouble when the FAA finds out – but…..
    So it’s complex. With a commercial pilot certificate you can be paid to provide piloting services. However a commercial certificate does not allow you to provide transportation for hire, for that you need the operation certified (Part 135). People have proposed (and for all I know excecuted on) ideas such as your guide friend paying for the plane direct to the FBO and hiring you to fly it, but most people think that one’s not going to fly in the face of an FAA investigation since the plane was probably rented on he basis of you being the pilot.
    It’s a complex subject, full of pitfalls. If you don’t care about getting your commercial certificate yanked then by all means push the envelope – but if you have aspirations to fly for a living on a more permanent basis I would stay very conservative on being paid to fly – it’s not worth the entry on your FAA record.

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  6. Golden on Sep 16, 2013

    I have a follow up question…if my wife wants to go to a meeting in another city, and then a couple of co-workers want to go with her rather than drive, and they split the cost, would that be in violation? What if I were originally planning to use a 172, but when the other two wanted to go I used a 182 so the cost were increased.

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  7. Mark Kolber on Sep 16, 2013

    something tells me it’s not quite that simple

    It’s not . It doesn’t matter whether you are a commercial pilot or not. As Matt said earlier, if you are providing the airplane and pilot, it is likely a Part 135 operation.

    You are apparently trying to fit this into the “shared expense” exception in 61.113. The use of the “shared expense” exception, under long-standing FAA and NTSB cases and formal opinions, requires at the very least a shared destination.

    In other words, if you have no reason to be at the destination other than providing transportation to others, it would be a clear violation.

    Now you certainly can certainly come up with little tweaks and changes and justifications where, “if I say this and do it that way, maybe…” Problem is that this is an area which is indeed grey. In fact, I think it’s intentionally grey – just to get the folks who think of clever ways to make what looks, acts and, to use the old adage “quacks” like a charter flight into something they can get away with.

    Speaking of “getting away with it,” like everything else from speeding to robbery, you might. Just be careful of the local 135 operator that paid the bucks and jumped through the hoops to get that certificate seeing 3 people with baggage climb aboard that 182 — that’s how the FAA hears about most of these things. And, of course, there is the possibility of the unhappy passenger calling up and saying, “This guy charged me for a flight and all I did was get sick.”

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