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Turd Ferguson

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I read through FAR 119 and found nothing about "limits" on number of free rides or any mention of free rides because
FAR 119 applies to commercial operations.
I don't think I said anything about limits on number of free rides.
What I meant was depending on who is being offered a ride, there may be limits on what kind of ride can be offered. Again, the question is: "Do any additional rules apply to this specific flight?"


So where is the rule?
Obviously there is no black and white rule which is why ever since non-emergency, volunteer humanitarian flights started, FAA and lawyers have argued back and forth over what is permitted and what isn't. The easiest solution is to operate under the banner of an organization that does volunteer humanitarian flights because interpretation of the rules is constantly evolving and organizations have the latest interpretations, rulings and decisions on their side. If one doesn't want to do that they are assuming the associated risk ranging from FAA enforcement to personal financial loss in the event of a mishap. I think one should exercise due diligence before making that choice.
 

Turd Ferguson

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Perhaps, but it's also likely a way to minimize liability exposure: use of a certified aircraft could be used as evidence of due diligence if that Angel Flight crashes into a full football stadium.
Would that not be a generic airspace violation on the part of the pilot? RE: Sporting event TFR?
 

bmcj

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There is no reg that specifically prohibits giving free rides but the relationship between pilot and passengers is part of the equation. Free rides to family, friends and others (within limits) is fine. When the pilot starts offering free rides to the general public, there are indeed regs about transporting those persons and it doesn't matter if a specific charge for the flight is made or not.

When a pilot offers to transport persons (general public) in his own plane the question becomes: "Does this flight require an operator or operating certificate under FAR 119? Or, is it specifically excluded?"
We've dealt with the same issue. We volunteered our time and planes to the County Sheriff's Department for Flight Search and Rescue missions, as well as providing occasional transport missions for deputies and (maybe) prisoners. The transportation portion got shut down by the FAA because they considered it an Air Taxi operation, and even though it was unpaid, they can interpret anything that might bolster your reputation as payment. We can provide our service for SAR, and we can even carry a deputy during the search, but we cannot drop the deputy off anywhere but our original departure point. It seems that the two defining issues that move it into the Air Taxi category are "service on demand" and transport and disembarkment of an individual or equipment to a location other than the original point of departure.

Now, I can understand and appreciate that any flight that can be done by a commercial operation (airline, air taxi, etc) should be protected by the FAA to prevent loss of revenue, but the policy alternative for the flights we did was a long ride in a patrol car, which was a greater cost to the tax payer and it took a patrol car out of service for an extended amount of time. In the eyes of the FAA, it didn't matter though, because their charter is to safeguard and protect commercial operations.
 

Turd Ferguson

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and every one is issued limitations for each and every one and unless it's issued a special purpose certificate for a specific job good luck with your FSDO.
Actually, there is an FAR that says:

§ 91.319 Aircraft having experimental certificates: Operating limitations.
(a) No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate—
(1) For other than the purpose for which the certificate was issued;


However, FAA legal has interpreted that "purpose" under 21.191 (g), is very broad and allows for activity that to some might seem to be outside that purpose. For example, in the Josephson interpretation, they said an E-A/B aircraft can be used to conduct an aerial mapping survey.

Carrying persons or property for compensation or hire muddies the water because compensation also has a broad definition. For example, if the operator receives any benefit from the above aerial mapping survey, the operation would become illegal.

Sometimes alleged FAA violations are dismissed or substantiated once an investigation is completed and all the facts are in. Each case is different and relying on luck is usually not a good strategy.
 

BBerson

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I don't think I said anything about limits on number of free rides.
What I meant was depending on who is being offered a ride, there may be limits on what kind of ride can be offered. Again, the question is: "Do any additional rules apply to this specific flight?"




Obviously there is no black and white rule which is why ever since non-emergency, volunteer humanitarian flights started, FAA and lawyers have argued back and forth over what is permitted and what isn't. The easiest solution is to operate under the banner of an organization that does volunteer humanitarian flights because interpretation of the rules is constantly evolving and organizations have the latest interpretations, rulings and decisions on their side. If one doesn't want to do that they are assuming the associated risk ranging from FAA enforcement to personal financial loss in the event of a mishap. I think one should exercise due diligence before making that choice.
You said there may be limits. Sounds sort of like just assume it is prohibited because someone argued it should be.
If there is no black and white rule then there is no rule. Arguments and opinions don't count. If you ask the FAA they probably will say no. The point is don't ask about unclear foolish rules in your day to day activity.
I am amazed how some interpret rules that don't exist. Last week at the RC field a member asked me to help ban another member that flew a low pass in his "ultralight". He said the pilot was well below the required 1000 feet and he was annoyed the pilot was in the RC field "airspace". I told him the 1000 feet rule was for congested airspace, not the 1/2 mile farm we were on where 500 feet from persons or structure is required for airplanes. An ultralight has no restrictions for distance.
But he said he would call the FAA anyway to get the RC field listed on the " chart" to keep pilots away.
 

Turd Ferguson

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I told him the 1000 feet rule was for congested airspace,
That's an interesting example you use. Is there a published black and white definition for "congested airspace?"

No, there is not. Any violation using "congested airspace" (as well as "densely populated" and "open air assembly of people") is determined on a case-by-case basis, using arguments and opinions. The RC club member may have been correct because someone was interpreting something that does not exist.
 

Dana

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Actually, there is an FAR that says:

§ 91.319 Aircraft having experimental certificates: Operating limitations.
(a) No person may operate an aircraft that has an experimental certificate—
(1) For other than the purpose for which the certificate was issued;

However, FAA legal has interpreted that "purpose" under 21.191 (g)...
And according to 21.191g (and my operation limations), that purpose is... "operating amateur built aircraft." Bit of circular logic here?

Dana
 

PTAirco

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For example, if the operator receives any benefit from the above aerial mapping survey, the operation would become illegal.
So if you enjoy the flight, that is an obvious benefit for you and you'll be illegal. Make sure you tell the FAA you hated every minute of it.
 

BBerson

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That's an interesting example you use. Is there a published black and white definition for "congested airspace?"

No, there is not. Any violation using "congested airspace" (as well as "densely populated" and "open air assembly of people") is determined on a case-by-case basis, using arguments and opinions. The RC club member may have been correct because someone was interpreting something that does not exist.
My point was if it isn't clearly banned then we have the right to do it. I am surprised that a retired airline pilot even feels the need to ask such a question as he did here. And surprised that members say he can't because the rules are fuzzy and apparently anything can be construed to be a violation. Sad state.
Of course, I understand that a current airline pilot will not want to get too near a rule and so be extra cautious.
But he is retired and may not care what absurd FAA action might happen.

note, my comment before about "congested airspace" was incorrect. Should have said " congested area".
 

TFF

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Just go to the FAA’s website or Google. The FAA constantly changes the website just to make it hard to navigate.
 

rv7charlie

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The transportation portion got shut down by the FAA because they considered it an Air Taxi operation, and even though it was unpaid, they can interpret anything that might bolster your reputation as payment. We can provide our service for SAR, and we can even carry a deputy during the search, but we cannot drop the deputy off anywhere but our original departure point. It seems that the two defining issues that move it into the Air Taxi category are "service on demand" and transport and disembarkment of an individual or equipment to a location other than the original point of departure.
Talk about selective enforcement....
I guarantee that at least 2/3 of all the state-level and above politicians in this country fly at least occasionally in a/c owned by supporting businessmen and flown by their corporate pilots. Whether money changes hands or not, this is Air Taxi operation, by that interpretation.

Did the FAA give you that ruling in writing? Any chance I could get a copy? If it's FAA HQ's position, we could clean up a huge segment of bribery ('political contributions') by just siccing the FAA on them.
 

Turd Ferguson

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It's gets muddier than that. The Federal Elections Commission has a book of regulations that politicians have to follow when receiving rides on private/corporate aircraft and it changes every couple yrs. and it has to mesh with FARs. When I flew corporate we transported politicians on occasion and it requires walking a tight wire but believe it or not, when everything is done right it's legal.
 

Pops

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When flying contracts for the Gov. The FAA told me to make sure that if anyone gets in the aircraft, they get off at the same airport. If not, they will investigate. Never made that mistake.
 
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