I’d love to help you, buddy, but I’d prefer to keep my license

I got a curious email just now.

Good Afternoon- I got your name through the Rochester Flying Club website. I live in Hemlock and work in Rochester. I am looking for a
way to be in two places at once…..I have two children graduating from college on the same day in different parts of New York State. My
daughter graduates from [college in upstate NY] at 10:30 in the morning and my son graduates from [another college, near here] at 4pm in the afternoon . There isn’t time to drive between the two, but there might be time to get to them both if we fly. I’m hoping that you or someone you might know would might be interested in flying 4 of us from [first location] to [second location] on the afternoon of May 21st. If you can lend any assistance, I’d love to hear from you.

I feel for the guy, and this sort of need to be in two places at once is a pretty compelling reason to become a pilot. But if I, or any other private pilot, were to take him up on the offer, the FAA would be all over the pilot for offering an illegal charter. Plus there is the little matter that for his four person family, the pilot needs a six seater, and at 4pm on the 21st I’m going to be flying the club’s 6 seater home from the rec.aviation fly-in.

4 thoughts on “I’d love to help you, buddy, but I’d prefer to keep my license”

  1. If one was in the mood, the cause was good. and good flying were to be had, one might do such trips for free, risking not the license but only ungrateful guests.

  2. Frank, “one” could, and if I weren’t going to have the club’s only 6-seater somewhere between Illinois and here at that time, I’d probably volunteer.

  3. Um, OK, why is this an “illegal charter”?

    It must be obvious to pilots, but to outsiders like me, and that guy, apparently not.


  4. JRH, for the full story you’d have to read this article but the most relevant parts are:

    “What if the pilot does collect money from the passengers but only their pro-rata share? FAA legal interpretations have been issued declaring that this arrangement may involve impermissible “compensation or hire.” The problem is that a violation can occur if the pilot is getting an economic advantage beyond the sharing, because he is not involved in a trip for a “common purpose.””

    “If the passengers want to go from point A, to point B, and the pilot is simply the driver or has other interests for making the flight, there is no common purpose. If he takes any compensation or economic benefit for the trip, he may be violating 61.113. The pilot in this example is, in effect, running a charter operation and should comply with FAR 119 &135.”

    The NTSB Administrative Law Judges have been real bastards at times about what constitutes “compensation”, ruling several times that a pilot making trips that he didn’t get paid for received compensation in the form of building hours.

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