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8 Answers

Does a demo flight require a second class medical?

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FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor

What defines an "instructional flight"? Can you consider a demo flight a first "instructional flight"? Does the 'student' have to have a student certificate/medical and a logbook with the TSA endorsement for flight training? I ask because a "demo flight" that is not an "instructional flight" would require a second-class medical (instead of the third class required for flight instruction).

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8 Answers

  1. Ryan Miller on Apr 13, 2012

    Kyler, I hope I understand your question correctly. You wouldn’t necessarily need your student/medical license to recevie instruction on your “demo, instructional, intro flight” or whatever your one terms it becuase you are not the Pilot In Command (PIC) the instuctor is. The PIC would need a current medical. You can, however log the time as dual received and have the instuctor endorse your logbook accordinly. 

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  2. Kyler Dalton on Apr 13, 2012

    So to clarify: if the student hasn’t begun flight training officially (doesn’t have a logbook, medical, or student pilot certificate), then can the instructor get paid for that flight and use his/her third class medical because it is an “instructional flight”? Or would the flight instructor need a second class medical because, they’re excercising “commercial certificate privileges” (by getting paid by the flight school and/or the individual)?

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  3. Ryan Miller on Apr 13, 2012

    If hes acting as an instuctor he only needs a 3rd class medical.

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  4. Kyler Dalton on Apr 13, 2012

    Yes, the question is: is this intro flight an “instructing flight”?  Would he have to “prove” that it was an instructing flight if he got ramp checked?

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  5. Ryan Miller on Apr 13, 2012

    Yes, intro flights, demo flight whatever name your going to give it are traditionally a brief lesson for someone new to flying. A “buy it before you try it” type scenario.
    The instuctor would need a 3rd class medical in this case. That is whats required to instruct.
    Yes, the instructor can be paid for this flight.
    Proving to the FAA that its an demo, instuctional whatever should be pretty straightforward if thats indeed what hes doing. It sounds like someone maybe pushing the regulations in your view? From what you have stated is seems pretty straight forward and legal. 

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  6. Kyler Dalton on Apr 13, 2012

    That is good to get your opinion. I was just wondering if there is a line drawn somewhere.  For instance, what if I take two people up together: is it still an instructional flight? What if I take one person to another airport? What if I take a group of friends on a camping trip, but “teach” the guy in the copilot seat (what if I sign his logbook as dual instruction)? I’m just curious if it’s a scenario anyone has been faced with.

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  7. Nathan Parker on Apr 13, 2012

    The FAA doesn’t have any concept of an “intro” flight, so you’ll never have to prove to them you’re on one.  The TSA does draw a distinction, however, but the FAA isn’t responsible for enforcing their laws.
    For the other scenarios you raise, you’d really have to read NTSB cases to get an idea of how these situations are viewed by the FAA.  The FAA will use its judgement to see if the flight looks and smells like instruction, or whether the instruction is just a ruse to hide an illegal Part 135 operation.  I doubt they’re likely to take a close look at a flight to see if it’s really instruction unless you get reported by a legit 135 operator who thinks you’re cheating the regulations.

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  8. Matthew Waugh on Apr 16, 2012

    If you “take a person to another airport” what have you done? You’ve transported them? Were you compensated? Did the “person” provide the plane? Camping trip, you transported them to the camping location I assume?
    These are all the questions you have to deal with when you start playing the Part 135 and a half game – if you’re running a legitimate instructional business and not trying to play any games on the side you’ll be fine. If you want to push the envelope you’re out there on your own – until you get caught. People face these scenarios all the time – lots of people fly people around the country in FBO planes under the guise of instruction – you can join them – until you get caught.
    The point of the regulations are pretty clear – you’re not allowed to transport people or things for compensation. Stick to that guiding principle (with the few exceptions) and you’ll be fine.

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