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2 Answers

What defines “discovery flight”?

Asked by: 4474 views , , , ,
FAA Regulations, Flight Instructor

Hey Guys, I can't seem to find what constitutes a "discovery flight".  I know that the TSA rule allows one discovery flight before you need to verify citizenship.  Lets say though that someone wants to do another discovery flight (before starting training specifically) and they have verified citizenship.  Is there a reference in the FAR's that I haven't been able to find?

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2 Answers

  1. Matthew Waugh on Jun 11, 2012

    What indeed. All I could find was AOPA’s assurance that the TSA said discovery or demonstration flights were exempt. There was no mention of a limitation on the number of such flights. Remember, discovery flight is a marketing term, it has no meaning within the regulations.
    Anyway, discovery flight, sightseeing, demonstration? What’s the difference?
    Now AOPA also says they don’t think you should LOG it (in a logbook, so what, a napkin is fine?) until citizenship has been verified. They weren’t clear if they meant the customer or the CFI or both shouldn’t log it. So that seems to be more the question. If you have verified citizenship then the world is your oyster. Lesson 1, Discovery flight, call it what you like, it’s all fine.
    Bottom line – people can go for as many discovery flights as they like. They can’t hide “flight training” as a discovery flight and apparently it’s not wise to log it as dual (given or received) until citizenship has been verified.
    Hope that helps, I suspect you are over-thinking this.

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  2. Curtis Ide on Jun 12, 2012

    We discussed this with our local representative that does our flight school inspections and basically the first flight with a customer is an advertising/discovery flight is considered the first flight lesson.  We were not required to keep records on those individuals for him although we always had them fill out a renter form and get a copy of some form of photo id card.  We did allow the students to have a flight log signed and logged the flight as we would any other introductory lesson.  In fact by filing out a logbook you will have another record that the individual has already taken a flight lesson (you may want to keep a copy of that in their record too).  Looking in 49 CFR 1552 it reads as a “Demonstration flight for marketing purposes.”  After reading 1552 the above may be a little stretch but that is what our local office was allowing.  There is also more guidance on the tsa website at http://www.tsa.gov/research/laws/regs/editorial_1790.shtm

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