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Squawks & HeadlinesPilots banned from acting like Uber drivers in the sky

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Pilots banned from acting like Uber drivers in the sky

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"You're going to Napa in your Cessna? Me too! If you let me hop in, I'll pay my share of the gas!" That arrangement is legal, but the FAA has declared that connecting brave passengers with amateur pilots for a fee is definitely a no-no. (techcrunch.com) More...

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Moviela
Ric Wernicke 4
Just like the entrenched taxi monopolies that are fighting tooth and nail against Uber, the certificated air carriers are rebelling against the ease of communications brought about by the internet. It is one thing for the FAA to have a second-rate lawyer stretch 800 year old common law to stifle modern communications as that would be laughed at by a right thinking judge, but what is missing from the AirPooler scheme is commonality of purpose. If a Piper full of Passengers was headed to the same convention at the Las Vegas Sands, I think that would meet the test, and be acceptable under the current rules.

I was always uncomfortable with the 3 x 5" cards that said "Flying to San Diego Saturday, seeking one to share expenses," but not with those that said "Going Antiquing in Phoenix. If you'd like to join me, lets split the costs."

The solution lies in legislation because the FAA has proved hidebound and unable to even name control towers in an expeditious manner. My representative in Congress is a real mover and shaker, she managed to get three (count 'em 3) Post Offices named during this session.
mcurvin
mcurvin 3
A simple solution to the problem: instead of advertising flights on airtaxi.com, take the website down and request that potential passengers send an email to whatever@airtaxi.com - auto reply to passenger would include a list of available flights. Result - no advertising since the passenger is directly requesting a schedule. Done.
FLTAWRGDR
Good MC but beware. .....don't use the word "schedule" it's a government trigger word.
pilot62
Scott Campbell 2
I was thinking of flying to Vegas this weekend - but only if I have a few "friends"
who want to share the "time" together - Thinking of leaving tommorow at 8 am planning on
returning in 2 days. Call me if you "think" youd like to ride along. 909-123-4567 :)
umcima1964
guy lever 6
why is this something the government should make decisions about? Surely I choose the risk I want to take?
TorstenHoff
Torsten Hoff 3
Quoted from the linked article:

The core part of the ruling from the FAA states “We conclude that, with regard to pilots using the AirPooler website, all four elements of common carriage are present. By posting specific flights to the AirPooler website, a pilot participating in the AirPooler service would be holding out to transport persons or property from place to place for compensation or hire. Although the pilots participating in the AirPooler website have chosen the destination, they are holding out to the public to transport passengers for compensation in the form of a reduction of the operating expenses, they would have paid for the flight.”
mikeoxlong
mike oxlong 3
even if you have an ATP and your own plane you still cant do this stuff......you need an aircarrier cert to fly people from A to B......

people need to actually understand the regs and why they are there.

[This comment was deleted.]

ChrisTrott
Chris Trott 9
The FAA clearly stated that the idea of "ride sharing" an airplane is not illegal. Advertising it on a website that charges a fee and that "match makes" is.

Instead of telling people to understand the regs, maybe try reading the ruling first and even moreso, read the posts above the one you're responding to since it directly quotes exactly what the FAA has a problem with in regards to AirPooler and other similar sites.
preacher1
preacher1 0
yep and well said.
preacher1
preacher1 1
No, it's just like Chris says below, YOU need to understand the regs. The issue is not ride sharing but the advertising and match making of a website. Nothing wrong going from LIT to DAL, you knowing the pilot, and kicking in for some gas. Different scenario when you get matched up on a website, not knowing the pilot, whether he is a freshly certificated VFR guy or an IFR several hour pilot. Just like riding in a car with somebody with somebody you don't know; you don't know if they just got their license or have a few years of driving behind them. This is the crux of the problem right now that the FAA has in going commercial with this.
preacher1
preacher1 1
Seems like the crux of the whole issue is compensation and how that would cause this process to fall under the 135 regulations. There has been comment about those regulations and just comparing to ride sharing, as in a car. I would remind everyone that basically there are no regulations of such type governing cars or other groundbound motor vehicles. There are for airplanes. Technically, the interpretation is correct. In reality, a specific exception will have to be made for ride sharing, or else current 135 regulations will apply in full. Naturally, they will probably be ignored for the time being by individuals, until something happens to cause an "I told you so". Whoever this puts me agreeing or disagreeing with, so be it. It's my 2cts worth.
NF2G
David Stark 2
There are regulations covering common carriage using motor vehicles. On the federal level, they apply mainly to buses and freight carriers. However, the states regulate the privileges of driving on their respective roadways. Many (if not all) states require a special type of operator license for those who carry passengers for hire.
preacher1
preacher1 1
You are correct in that regulations are there, but there are no true enforcement agencies like the FAA. DMV would have the responsibility or authority but in most cases would not do anything unless there is a complaint or something happened. All this was going on everyday until the commercial bulletin boards got into it. Carriers probably putting up the fight just as the taxi companies are against Uber. The biggest thing is not knowing your pilot/driver/equipment. By Buses and planes being regulated and regularly inspected, you have a reasonable expectation of safety. Private carriage, you take a chance. That is the bottom line,
NF2G
David Stark 1
"...there are no true enforcement agencies like the FAA."

This, too, is inaccurate.

The federal DOT has enforcement power over common carriers in interstate commerce (which means all of them). They can and do issue fines and take away operating authority.

State motor vehicle statutes are enforced through the courts, with police officers being the front line detectors of violations.
preacher1
preacher1 2
Well, the FAA and DOT are on par here as far as enforcement of their regulated charges, and yes, police officers have the enforcement on the others, but you don't really see commercial regulations filtering down to them. They don't actually filter to GA either, but when the commercial entity such as the bulletin board gets in there it puts in clear violation of FAA regs. You don't have that type enforcement agency sitting on ready in the private motor vehicle realm. It may be there and rise to a complaint or accident but not for routing happenings as this. The whole thing in a nutshell is that with this commercial deal, a party has no expectation of safety and all with an unknown flier/plane as they would with a 121/135 carrier. They are saying that when a GA unit participates in the commercial side of this, they fall into the category of the 135.
NF2G
David Stark 1
Apparently you are unfamiliar with the origin of the term "Uber drivers" in the headline. It refers to exactly the same kind of scenario involving private car pooling.
lbjack
lbjack 1
"but when the commercial entity...gets in there..."

You nail it. Law enforcement and regulators operate by the Three "C"s: Is it commercial? Is it conspicuous? Are there complaints?

Not to encourage law-breaking, but avoiding the Three Cs will keep you out of trouble.
preacher1
preacher1 1
No, I'm familiar with it. Same scenario. Difference is, it is handled, or at least has been to date, by various state agencies and not a unified body as the FAA, hence not having a single entity to oversee it, people are taken totally by surprise on how to handle it. Concept is the same though, except that Uber is there and pretty well entrenched by now and the air service is not.
NF2G
David Stark 1
OK, I concede that distinction. Carry on. :)
preacher1
preacher1 2
Yeah, I think it'll just be best to sit back and watch how it all plays out, not really having a dog in either fight. All have good points. Have a nice weekend.:)
mstander
The FAA is mandated to provide safety in the sky, that is why. They feel this is a threat to safety. If the public is opposed then they have a right to complain.
zennermd
Michael Zenner 2
My question for everyone is... how is this any different that advertising for ride sharing for college students driving home? You don't know if the person driving is a drug addict, kidnapper, a drunk or just a terrible driver that gets in an accident once a month? Why are pilots being treated so differently than everyone else? We at least have to go through a medical and a biannual.
preacher1
preacher1 2
It really isn't, but the FAA has regulations about it and there is not for the car ridership. See my post below.
NF2G
David Stark 1
You've made the same inaccurate statement twice. See my previous reply.
ual742
kyle green -5
Hey PAL people ride the fine line or thin line man and they end up getting away with it. Like Qantas do never fly that Kangaroo carrier again I think they tape there aircraft or B744'S up so cracks and holes don't appear man. I thought UAL were bad enough. Sooner or later some people come t grief being cowboys
MEII
With the high cost of fuel and landing fees, parking etc. The G.A. pilot can't afford to fly like he or she used to. Less traffic due to gougers in the fuel area. We have a FBO at my home airport which feels that they need to make a huge profit so their fuel is over the top, an airport a few miles away is almost $2 cheaper per gallon and they are making a profit. So if someone can have a person ride along to lower the prices that helps us G.A. folks keep our airplanes in the sky. We many of us got a pilot's license to avoid the airports that was before 9/11 now afterwards it is three times as much trouble going to a commercial airport. What is the difference between putting up a notice on a bulletin board at your home airport vs. a website????
RobSJC
.. It would also sound like, I can't go find someone to take me up for a photo shoot of various airports either .... What a bunch of crap .. Lets see now ? A privately owned plane, their money, my money, my camera .. Nope, no GOVERNMENT involvement ... Let them try to STOP me.
jonmstark
Jon Stark 1
BIG government at its best.
mbvillela
Marcos Villela 1
Here in Brazil it's forbidden to charge for a plane ride. The reason is that the air taxi companies are subject to more strict regulations than the private owners. So, they are theoretically safer to fly than in a plane and a pilot you don't know.
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 1
Try Google Earth, plenty of airport shots.
k2lck
Ed Mentz 1
Yeh, coast guard seys you cannot bring us lunch if you are going sailing with me!
mstander
Because the general public does not know your flying capabilities. Someone else would have to insure that you are a safe pilot, since the general public cannot judge that. You can understand this concept, right. A BFR is not enough.
cougarandmavrick
So let me get this straight, the old fashioned bulletin board time sharing method is now illegal? I always thought as long as you paid your fair share of the operating expenses (and nothing more) that move was perfectly legal. The regs are there for a reason but how are we ever going to contain the rising cost of flying without becoming more creative in the ways we attract more people to aviation?
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 6
Sharing the cost is still legal, it's when you're "holding out," that makes a 135 certificate required.
gmcmanus
gmcmanus 1
That's what he just said "Phil"...
mikeoxlong
mike oxlong 3
advertising it makes it a "commercial" operation.

[This comment was deleted.]

mikeoxlong
mike oxlong 0
he can ride with me all day long. dont pay me for being a pilot or pay for the use of the plane. if someone rents the plane and i fly it for free, its still flying for compensation or hire.
mikeoxlong
mike oxlong -3
if you advertise in ANY way....and that includes answering someone's question about "are you heading towards XYZ" its now a charter....
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 2
Not sure about that part Phil, if someone's just looking for a ride and you give it to them without compensation, that should be fine...
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 0
Never mind, I read your post again which started with "if you advertise," you're right!!!

[This comment was deleted.]

mikeoxlong
mike oxlong 0
actually im right....you cant solicit "shared' expenses. you can go up to a griend and say hey im going to xyz wanna go?......but when friend aske YOU the pilot, ill pay you $100 to take me to xyz, now you're illegal.....same as if you start a web site and say "im going to xyz, if anyone wants to go it'll be $177 per seat".....thats illegal for a private, commercial, atp pilot to do. read the regs, its very clear.
gmcmanus
gmcmanus 1
Who said anything about soliciting? How is answering someones direct question soliciting? Also, how is a passenger flying with you A to B for a common purpose and sharing expenses against any regulation?
mikeoxlong
mike oxlong -4
just keep doing it then see what happens. i dont care i fly legal.

[This comment was deleted.]

[This comment was deleted.]

preacher1
preacher1 3
YOU need to read the FAA reg yourself. The rideshare is OK. It is the ADVERTISING that is not.