Flight-Sharing Back In Play

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An effort to allow pilots to share expenses of flights with strangers has resurfaced, with a bill introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Mike Lee, of Utah. The Aviation Empowerment Act would add “definition and clarity to existing rules that will help unleash innovation in the aviation community,” Senator Lee said in a news release. Cost-sharing services have proven to be safe and effective in other countries, Lee said. "This is a job for Congress, not for the regulators,” Marc Scribner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told Reason. “The problem here is that Congress has granted an incredible amount of authority over the decades to the FAA.”

So far the courts have upheld the FAA’s position that using apps or Internet posts to offer flight-sharing is equivalent to “common carriage” and off-limits for private pilots. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, where the judges declined to hear it, leaving in place the lower court’s ruling. Senator Lee’s bill proposes to redefine the term “compensation” in the FAA’s rules about flying “for compensation or hire.” The bill proposes that that “the term ‘compensation’ requires the intent to pursue monetary profit but does not include flights in which the pilot and passengers share aircraft operating expenses or the pilot receives any benefit.” The proposal would apply to flights in aircraft with eight or fewer seats and pilots with at least a private certificate.

Comments (2)

So the term "compensation" will not apply in a circumstance in which "the pilot receives any benefit?" Call me stupid, but does "getting paid" comprise "a benefit?" The mis-use of the word "or" is a highway to Hell. Can no one correctly write a sentence in simple English any more? Seriously.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | April 12, 2018 1:08 PM    Report this comment

I think the major concerns could be addresses by three points:

1. The pilot must have over 200 hours, be instrumented rated and instrument current, and

2. The pilot must advertise the date, time, and destination of the flight to potential passengers. Passengers cannot solicit rides by listing their own destination, date, etc.

3. Warnings must be posted with each listing that the pilot is not commercially certified, nor has the FAA inspected the plane with regard to it meeting commercial standards. The warning would be more detailed and longer, but to that effect.

Posted by: Gary Risley | April 16, 2018 9:17 PM    Report this comment

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