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4 Answers

Reimbursement for operational expenses when private pilot flying solo for incidential business

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FAA Regulations


I have a private pilot license and I like to build cross country hours towards an instrument rating.

My company require that I do some business traveling.  Does the FAA regulations allow my company to reimburse me for the operational expenses incured during the flight (ie. fuel, airport fees, etc).  I will be flying solo. 

Section 61.113 in the regulations is a bit confusing.  Part b makes an exception stating that it is ok to be compensated if the flight is incidential to the business (which it is) and does not carry passengers or cargo (which it does not).  However part c states that the pilot cannot pay less than pro rata share of the expenses.  In this case ther are zero passengers so my share would be 100%.  So it is unclear whether I can be compensated or not for the operational expenses incurred.


(b) A private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:

(1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and

(2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.

(c) A private pilot may not pay less than the pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight with passengers, provided the expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or rental fees.

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4 Answers

  1. Bill Trussell on Mar 01, 2012

    Yes the rules allow for reimbursement of expenses as long as your flights are incidental to your business.  If you are using your flight for transportation only and not because you are wirting articles for an aviation mag as an example you are covered.  Even the Federal government has a reimburstment rate for private aircraft usage.
    It is best for a number of reasons that you do not carry a passenger during these flights however.  That situation gets too messy by rules.

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  2. John D. Collins on Mar 01, 2012

    61.113(b) is the operative section that permits you to act as PIC for compensation or hire.  It doesn’t specify the amount of the compensation as does 61.113(c) which limits the private pilot to paying a pro rata share of the operating expenses with passengers. So the amount of compensation is between you and your employer and is not limited to direct operating expenses. 61.113(c) doesn’t apply to you as proposed because you are specifically not carrying passengers.

    Many employers have a policy of only reimbursing an amount equal to mileage by car at the prevailing IRS rate or the lowest airfare available. Some might limit you to the rental rate or equivalent rental rate if you own your own aircraft. If any of these exceed your out of pocket expenses, you may still be so compensated. Make absolutely sure that you do not carry any passengers or company property, for example samples to deliver to a customer or company equipment to use on your business trip.


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  3. Matthew Waugh on Mar 12, 2012

    Just a word of warning – your ability to be reimbursed is probably the least of your problems. You may well find that many companies prohibit you from private flying on company business, and if they don’t now, they will if you ask. If you don’t ask and they have something written down, they may fire you when they find out. I’m not saying people don’t do it, but it’s a FINE line you walk.
    These scenarios give company lawyers the willies.

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  4. Josh on Feb 03, 2013

    I read the previous article about Private pilot and reimbursement. My question is very similiar: Can I be reimbursed for gas, time on the motor, oil, and airport fees as a private pilot if the flying is incidental.

    Example a Co-worker and I have to travel to a site several hours away to do some software maintenance. We fly up, do the work together and fly back. We opted to take by plane instead of driving due to the time it saves us. We both work for the same company. Can I submit for reimbursement legally?

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