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Transportation The Almighty Buck

New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas 269

Posted by samzenpus
from the going-my-way? dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes "A new service, Airpooler, matches pilots with passengers looking to head the same way. Since it's not an officially licensed charter service, prices are limited to roughly the passengers' share of the gas, giving pilots a way to share the expense of enjoying the open blue and flyers a taste of their personal pilot."
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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

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  • Sounds scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeyRox (2711699) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:55PM (#46685881)
    I live near a municipal airport and based on the landings I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a private pilot certified on only a puddle jumper.
    • Re:Sounds scary (Score:5, Insightful)

      by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:00PM (#46685943)

      Out of curiosity... do you feel differently about cars? (e.g. through services such as Uber and Lyft)

      • by bussdriver (620565) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:19PM (#46686129)

        Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT. If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities. It is true when you compare apples to oranges driving is more dangerous; but if you want to even get close to a fair comparison you would compare jets to buses and you'd compare fatalities and injuries separately... since car accidents are far less likely to result in fatalities.

        The FAA has strong rules about flying others around and the FAA never changes the regulations, they only add, never remove. The exchange of money at all for any connected reason is going to cause trouble.

        Besides, if you thought the taxi lobby was a problem for ride sharing; you'd never even dare to mess with the airline industrial complex (which is so heavily subsidized, it is more of a scam than a market.)

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Immerman (2627577)

          I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street. The riskiest part of a flight is typically the take-off and landing, other than that the only real risk is equipment (or pilot) failure, which shouldn't be dramatically affected by the number of other planes in the sky. Obviously if you had 1000x as many planes in the air you'd need to get a little more aggressive about adhering to

          • The point is still valid: if something on a car fails, there is a very good chance you'll walk away from it. On an aircraft, not so much.
          • by mopower70 (250015) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:08PM (#46686629) Homepage

            I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street.

            You'd think that... but I imagine it's a lot like sailing. I sail on the ocean and even if there's only a handful of boats out there, there's a good chance you're going to come near one of them. Every airplane is dealing with the same flying conditions and a fairly limited number of destinations. You're generally going to want to take the shortest, most fuel-efficient path - along with every other craft up there. In theory there's lots of room to maneuver, but the odds of you occupying the same space as another craft going or coming the same direction are actually pretty good.

            • Unless your boat is a submarine, there is a whole other dimension of avoid ability with air traffic - you can pass through the same X,Y as long as Z is different.

              Is that a very good idea? No, but it will definitely do in an emergency.

          • Well, I wasn't intending to talk about MORE flying. I'm not one who supports heavy flying and don't think there should ever be flying cars either. (By the time any such thing is realistic-- if it would ever be-- robots should be doing it all for us. Unless energy is free, land transport is a cheaper use of energy.)

            The point is, flying is really dangerous stuff. This is why so much care and precaution is taken and I think the pilot's exam includes enough complexity to double as an IQ test as well. As you

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by jeffmeden (135043)

            I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street. The riskiest part of a flight is typically the take-off and landing, other than that the only real risk is equipment (or pilot) failure, which shouldn't be dramatically affected by the number of other planes in the sky. Obviously if you had 1000x as many planes in the air you'd need to get a little more aggressive about adhering to flight lanes, but adding additional lanes is almost free. The only thing you'd really need to change is increasing the number of airports to avoid creating dangerously dense spots of air (and runway) traffic.

            It'd probably also help if we updated the antiquated and error-prone air-traffic control systems. I know there's several far more intuitive systems that have been designed, but I think they mostly haven't seen widespread deployment yet.

            Run out of gas in a car? Put put put putttt.... walk. Run out of gas in a plane? AerrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRR... CRASH! And that's the consequence of a benign failure mode. Imagine the swift and merciless outcome of a more dramatic failure like a spun bearing or broken crankshaft. Powered planes and gliders have basically nothing in common, even though the public likes to imagine that running out of gas in a plane means soaring gently until you land on a convenient 4-lane road or meticulously preened g

            • by RavenLrD20k (311488) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:46PM (#46687021) Journal

              even though the public likes to imagine that running out of gas in a plane means soaring gently until you land on a convenient 4-lane road or meticulously preened grass field

              Ok, I get that a plane isn't going to glide as well as a glider that's designed for, well, gliding; but it's not going to drop like a stone either, unless you suck at buying planes and vetting designs. You control your airspeed with your pitch, and so long as you don't let it drop below the minimum airspeed to generate lift, you can keep a dead plane in the air for a while. Long enough that you can find someplace to put down where you'll get minimal damage for the area. Keep your head about you and keep from stalling the lift, always have an emergency landing target in mind, and so long as you haven't been hit by a missile you should be ok. Granted, it's probably not going to be the most gentile landing, and the likelihood that the plane will be able to fly again isn't too good unless you really get lucky on finding the perfect field/road/clearing to put down on, but that's why you keep emergency supplies on board for first aid, flares and rations... right?

              • Yep, a light airplane will glide for miles and miles with just a few thousand feet of altitude.

                When I was actively teaching in 172s, one of the things I'd do on a cross country was to pull the power back to idle and tell the student the engine has "failed" and they need a place to land. I'd do this at about 4,000 feet above the ground and within gliding range of 2 or 3 small airports.

                About half the time, the student would freak out and aim for the nearest highway, when they actually have 10 to 15 minutes o

              • by Whorhay (1319089)

                I seem to remember reading that the Boeing 747 has a glide ratio of 1:17. Meaning it can get 17 feet of forward motion for every foot of altitude. Honestly that kind of amazes me.

              • by jratcliffe (208809) on Monday April 07, 2014 @05:06PM (#46687765)

                Granted, it's probably not going to be the most gentile landing

                So I should look to land on a nice cushy Rabbi?

          • Your post is basicaly nonsense from top to bottom.
            Perhaps you should attempt to make a PPL (private pilot license) first befire giving suggestions how to improve flight lanes and air traffic control.

          • I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street.

            You forgot about the weather. We had TWO Cessna crashes with fatalities in my state in since February. Both may have been weather related.

            You can always pull over in a car when the weather gets rough.

            • "Twenty-three percent of road crashes—nearly 1,312,000—are weather-related. On average, 6,250 people are killed and over 480,000 people are injured in weather-related crashes each year." - www.ops.fhwa.dot.gov/weather [dot.gov].

              • by neonKow (1239288)

                That's is because the drivers didn't stop driving and pull over when the weather got bad. While that delays your trip, the maneuver is perfectly safe and takes just a few seconds (or minutes if you need to find a motel).

                Now try deciding that you underestimated the weather and you want to land your plane. It's much harder and takes much longer and you can't just land anywhere you please. Your safety margin is greatly decreased. Anyone who doesn't respect that fact that driving is not like flying hasn't b

              • To put those number is perspective:

                There are 253,108,389 vehicles registered in 2012 and there were 5,870,000 (~2% of registered vehicles) accidents with 25,580 of them having a fatality. (0.44% of the accidents had fatalities).

                There are 109,870 personal fixed wing aircraft registered 2012 and there were 1,020 (~1% of registered aircraft) accidents with 206 of them having a fatality (20.2% of the accidents had fatalities).

        • by bradorsomething (527297) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:06PM (#46686609)
          If you do not hit something at the end of your flight, you have either been abducted by aliens or achieved orbit. Neither are good. It's how controlled that strike is that concerns people.
        • then the pilot never touches the money and you are a friend/passenger.

        • by spmkk (528421)

          Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT.

          99% of the time that I'm flying a plane, I'm more than a mile from anything else in the sky and at least 1000 feet from anything on the ground.

          99% of the time that I'm driving a car, I'm within 50 feet of another car and less than 10 feet from something else I can hit. And my car's not going all that much slower than a Cessna.

          If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities.

          Well...that's kind of the point, isn't it? There AREN'T as many people who fly small planes as there are people who drive, and those people are generally far better trained/qualified

          • "my car's not going all that much slower than a Cessna."

            A Cessna 172 cruise speed is 143 miles/hour. Remember kinetic energy formulae states it goes to the square of speed and you'll see that yes, you are going all that much slower than a Cessna (and that's cruise speed, if you are uncontrolably heading to the ground you'll probably go faster than that).

        • since car accidents are far less likely to result in fatalities.

          Except for the ~40,000 every year.

          • Actually, it was 28,000 last year, it has dropped by almost a third in the past 10 years.

            All that safety technology is starting to make a difference. People crap and required airbags and antilock brakes, but they do save lives.

            Required auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind zone alert, electronic stability control, traction control, and the like will reduce it even further.

            Auto driving cars will reduce it to nearly zero. Those can't get here fast enough...

            • by DaHat (247651)

              All that safety technology is starting to make a difference. People crap and required airbags and antilock brakes, but they do save lives.

              Required auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, blind zone alert, electronic stability control, traction control, and the like will reduce it even further.

              Compared to similar vehicles without... yes... compared to the generation of ultra small vehicles we see more and more of on the road? God no. Physics doesn't care what kind of safety f

        • by Aeonym (1115135) on Monday April 07, 2014 @04:09PM (#46687227)

          Aircraft injuries/fatalities are only better than cars because the vast majority of traffic is on commercial airlines that are rigorously maintained, with pilots who must pass (relatively) stringent qualifications.

          Little private planes are much more dangerous, mile for mile, than cars [meretrix.com]

    • by spmkk (528421)

      I live near a municipal airport and based on the landings I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a private pilot certified on only a puddle jumper.

      Honest question: have any of these landings that you've seen actually not been successful? Has there been even one that didn't end with the plane either taking off again or taxiing back to the ramp and its occupants getting out uninjured?

    • "You gotta be insane to fly in small private planes"
  • um... (Score:5, Funny)

    by edibobb (113989) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:56PM (#46685901) Homepage
    I don't think I want to get into an unknown plane flown by an unknown pilot who needs to share the fuel bill.
    • Admit it, you're just looking for an excuse to get crotch-groped again. ;-)
    • Re:um... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bobberly (1677220) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:06PM (#46686017)
      As a pilot, I'm not sure how to take your remark. I'm pretty sure the rigorous training and medical certifications I've completed will have you in much safer hands than the trip you take to the grocery store from your house. What are the requirements for driving a 3 ton vehicle these days, heartbeat and visit to the local DL office?
      • by geekoid (135745)

        Something goes wrong in a vehicle, the vast majority of the time you end up stuck on the road.
        In a plane you are likely to die.

        I've know a lot of pilots. Some a great, others are barely maintaining min standards, and their safety checking is...less then one would like.

        • by asylumx (881307)

          Something goes wrong in a vehicle, the vast majority of the time you end up stuck on the road.

          Things go wrong much less in a plane, and when they do the plane has backups for most systems that have any likelihood of failing. Also, all of those systems undergo thorough inspection every year (even more often for rentals). So yes, when something serious goes wrong in a plane, it is far more difficult to safely "pull over" but the level of rigor preventing those bad things from happening more than makes up f

          • As a professional pilot with many thousands of hours of flight time, I'll say there are two factors...

            1. The quality of skill and knowledge of the pilot and how current those are.

            2. The quality and technology in the airplane itself and how well it is maintained.

            The pilot is easy enough to figure out if you know what you're doing, problem is, people using this service won't know that.

            The airplane? There are vast differences between different airplanes. A 1970 Cessna Turbo 210 is a nice airplane, if you spe

        • In a plane you are likely to die.

          You and bussdriver are idiots.

          40,000 people a year die in cars in the US alone.

          700 people a year die in airplanes, in the whole world.

          http://www.thewire.com/nationa... [thewire.com]

      • Re:um... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:51PM (#46686503)

        I'm a pilot too. I know all too well how "rigorous" that training is and how arbitrary and silly the medical certificate can be.

        I know multi-kilo hour pilots who have no clue how to handle hard IMC, inflight ice, over-water flights, soft/short field landings, or even do a weight and balance.

        I also know some idiots who I will not allow at the controls of any airplane I am in, regardless of what certificates they hold. I have been flying for 25 years. There is a lot of deadly ignorance out there.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hobadee (787558)

          Mod parent up!

          As an armchair pilot, and aviation enthusiast, I've seen some "pilots" do some stupid stuff! Listening to ATC and hearing private pilots who barely know how to tune their radio is a little scary. While I'm sure GP is a great pilot, and lots of pilots are great pilots, the entry level for a private pilots license is fairly low. (If it weren't so expensive, I would have my license already - that's a *really* scary thought that someone would trust me with an airplane!)

        • by nblender (741424)

          How do you know when there's a pilot in your slashdot thread?

          He'll tell you.

          (sorry, couldn't resist).

        • You sir, are totally correct in all respects.

          Some pilots know what they are doing, others are a hazard. You're right at how much of a joke the medical really is, the basic training isn't all that much better.

          Having been the chief flight instructor for a Part 141 school and a check pilot for a 135 outfit, I know all too well how many "experienced and certified pilots" have no idea what they are doing.

      • Re:um... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Entropius (188861) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:54PM (#46686525)

        They probably let Dick Cheney drive, so you don't even need a heartbeat. (He's also prone to shoot people in the face, too.)

      • Re:um... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Valdrax (32670) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:09PM (#46686649)

        What are the requirements for driving a 3 ton vehicle these days, heartbeat and visit to the local DL office?

        You forgot massive and unnecessarily burdensome documentation of your identity to help make sure college students, the elderly, and the working poor don't vote.

      • by edibobb (113989)
        Actually, you're wrong. Flying in a light plane is about as dangerous as riding a motorcycle. Check NTSB stats. And, as a pilot, I know several private pilots I would prefer not to ride with. Professional pilots do get a lot more training and should be safer.
    • I don't think I want to get into an unknown plane flown by an unknown pilot who needs to share the fuel bill.

      And you personally know all of the pilots before you board any plane?

      • I allow Delta to vouch for their pilots, based on their domain expertise and interest in preserving their billions in capital.

        I wouldn't trust your average yahoo who has a plane and license.

        • by mrsquid0 (1335303)

          > I wouldn't trust your average yahoo who has a plane and license.

          Fortunately your average yahoo does not have a plane and a license. In Canada and the US (I can't speak for anywhere else) getting a pilot's license is not easy. It requires significant training, studying, and testing. Your average yahoo simply would not be able to cut it.

          • In fact getting a PPL in USA and Canada (and for that matter in Australia or south Africa) is very easy.
            Try to get one in France or Germany, that is hard work and expensive.
            For me it is cheaper to get a british PPL in the USA both in terms of money (including my travel to the school and my stay there) and time than doing the same in Germany. And: I may fly more planes!

          • I don't think getting the license is particularily difficult in the US.

            It can be very expensive and take time to get those hours...but a crazy person who wins the lottery (or an insurance settlement) wouldn't have much trouble making it into the air.

      • Re:um... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:33PM (#46686303)

        And you personally know all of the pilots before you board any plane?

        On a commercial air carrier flight, I know that the pilot has been to recurrent training within the last six months (I think it is, maybe 12), has had a check pilot evaluate his performance within the same time frame, and has a second fully qualified pilot sitting in the other seat. He's had intensive simulator training to deal with a vast number of potential in-flight emergencies. I know both of them are fully IFR qualified in a fully IFR capable aircraft in case the weather deteriorates enroute. Both have 1st Class medical certificates which involve a lot more than "kicking the tires and peeing in a cup".

        On a private flight, I'm pretty sure the pilot has had an hour of flight sometime in the last two years (a biennial flight review) and has made three landings that he could walk away from in the last 90 days (or heals really quickly). The airplane has probably been inspected sometime within the last year for airworthiness. But there is little overview by the FAA for those requirements. If he owns his own plane nobody really checks until the NTSB does the investigation after the crash. If he's renting then the FBO will probably make sure he's met the legal minimums. There's no easy way to tell rental vs. owner. And the medical? The last time the pilot may have seen any doctor was a decade or more ago*.

        I fear this kind of ride-share is going to make the FAA look closer at the requirements for private pilots, not simplify them.

        * sport pilot rules. All a pilot needs for a "medical" is a driver's license as long as he's not had an application for a medical certificate denied, revoked, suspended or withdrawn.

  • Potential FAA issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:58PM (#46685929)

    There are some severe legal questions surrounding this service. In a nutshell, the FAA considers anyone who advertises at all ("Holding out" as a provider in their terminology) as a charter service. The fact that it's limited to the passenger's share of the costs is not relevant as far as the FAA is concerned -- you need a valid commercial pilot's license and a 121 license to do this legally in the opinion of many.

    • by Richy_T (111409)

      Agreed. For non-commercial flights, you are not allowed to accept more than a share of the costs but there is more to the rule than just that and this service is swaying into murky waters.

    • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:14PM (#46686099)
      My understanding is that this is treading on very dangerous grounds with respect to FAA guidelines.

      A "share" of the cost includes all expenses of the flight. Rental, fuel, etc. The pilot and passenger must each pay half of total expenses.

      The passenger can have no influence on the destination. If the pilot is flying from A to B and the passenger tags along, OK. But if the pilot just wants hours and goes to B because the passenger needs to go there then I think there is an FAA regulations problem and the FAA will consider the flight commercial.

      That said I am not a lawyer nor a FAA guidelines expert. All I know is what my instructor told me many years ago in ground school. "The person showing you their FAA ID is never ever there to help you. Never hand your license to the FAA official to help them read / inspect it, that can be considered surrendering your license if the FAA official wishes to interpret the act as such. Keep the license in your hand and move it closer to their face if they are having a hard time reading it, pull it away if they reach for it. If they ask for it tell them you will be handing it to your attorney and they can speak with him/her."
      • I can't really post it easily enough here, but the FAA has issued a letter in the past confirming what you've said.

        If the pilot didn't need to go, then it is a commercial operation and requires a 135 certificate and all that goes with it, period dot the end.

        There is indeed no gray here at all, pilots are busted for this all the time, just don't do it.

        If the pilot was going anyway and was going to pay the full bill, and a friend wants to come along and pays for his/her share of the gas, that's fine.

        If the pi

    • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:28PM (#46686239)

      There are some severe legal questions surrounding this service. In a nutshell, the FAA considers anyone who advertises at all ("Holding out" as a provider in their terminology) as a charter service. The fact that it's limited to the passenger's share of the costs is not relevant as far as the FAA is concerned -- you need a valid commercial pilot's license and a 121 license to do this legally in the opinion of many.

      I would agree. As a private pilot, I can share costs with passengers, but I personally would limit that to people that I know and routinely associate with. NEVER am I going to haul somebody someplace for their benefit only, but if we are heading out on a weekend trip together and they want to help out with the fuel costs, seems that would not be a 121 situation and my private pilot license would be good enough.

      I can NOT imagine how a smart phone app arranged ride would be OK with the FAA. Taking strangers up in hopes of getting reimbursed for a fraction of the fuel cost seems to be a problem to me. First off, DON'T go flying with some yahoo you don't know who agrees to this because if they are stupid enough to take strangers up in a light aircraft for fuel shares you don't want them as a pilot. Second, many people I've taken up in a smaller aircraft have been uncomfortable with experience. I cannot imagine how anybody would hop into an C172 with a stranger as the pilot. Finally, I'd hate to see the insurance claims and lawsuits should some private pilot ball one up while carrying "paying" passengers who are strangers.

      Drive, or take a commercial fight, or if you want to take some one as a private pilot, make it a gift and pay the costs yourself.

      • The next insurance renewal will almost certainly forbid such activities. They'd be fools not to. I'm a little surprised there isn't a clause in auto insurance contracts about it (unless current laws require coverage of any passenger).

    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:34PM (#46686315)

      As a private pilot the legal issues worry me. The pilot training, aircraft maintenance, and operating requirements are very different for different types operations. The "sharing costs" is based on the concept that you can fly your friends to Las Vegas and split the costs. It is assumed that you have reasonable informed your friends of the risks. If you are taking other "passengers" for some form of compensation, have they *really* been informed of the risks - which are dramatically higher for private flights than for air carriers.

      If there is an aircraft malfunction and someone is injured, what are the insurance / lawsuit issues? what happens if a passenger damages your airplane - stepping in the wrong place, can do thousands of dollars of damage to some planes. What if you can't reach the intended destination due to weather - does the passenger get a refund? What if you are delayed? It is legal for private flights to operate under weather conditions that are not legal for commercial flights -what happens here? Fuel is less than 1/2 the total operating costs for my plane - do I get to split all costs, or just fuel?

      We are also talking a lot of money here. A Bonanza or Cirrus total operating cost is probably ~$200/hour, so a "quick flight" from San Francisco to Las Vegas is $1000 round trip, close to 2X that in my Baron. Non-pilot passengers may expect a level of service and performance that just isn't reasonable for small planes.

      Its a nice idea, and I'd love to participate, but there are too many possible problems.

    • by slew (2918)

      One potential loophole is to attempt to use the exemption (91.321 Carriage of candidates in elections)...

      Say, have any potential passengers sign up to be candidates in an election for some public office (create a town in the middle of nowhere called 'Airpool' and everyone who signs up to run for mayor is now part of the club where they can access flight sharing).

      Of course these folks aren't doing that, but there are of course probably some more realistic loophole in the code...

    • I'm not certain, but I believe offering 'gas cost sharing' flights in Germany without an commercial (there are various levels of it, like cargo transport or letters/post and passengers) pilot license is simply illegal.

  • ... I'm a pilot, and I wouldn't fly as a pax with most of the other pilots I know, especially not under circumstances they are unfamiliar with - like loading down the plane with people and luggage close to gross weight and doing a cross country with it.

    Also, this is in some pretty serious gray area. A pilot may not "hold out" for passengers to share fuel on a trip he/she is planning to take. Any kind of "if someone else is going, I'm not going" makes it a Part 121 charter. If pilots start deciding not to go

    • by Wookact (2804191)
      Really you couldn't wait for an hour for someone who is running late? Thats a bit excessive.
      • People use aircraft to travel because their time is valuable.

        • by geekmux (1040042)

          People use aircraft to travel because their time is valuable.

          Who are we fooling with this?

          If that were true, the TSA would have destroyed commercial flying years ago.

          • by geekoid (135745)

            It's"s still faster for most flights.

            I don't fly much, but I have never waited more then 20 minutes in line to get past security.
            Total time for 'flying' on my last 1000 mile trip. 7 hours.
            That included getting to the airport with enough time for four people to eat a nice dinner, security, and air flights. PDX has a good steak house in it.
            I could cut 2 hours by losing the meal.

            Good luck doing that in a car.

      • by EmagGeek (574360)

        Point was, if you look like a charter, and act like a charter, chances are the FAA is going to look at you and see a charter.

    • by spmkk (528421)

      ... I'm a pilot, and I wouldn't fly as a pax with most of the other pilots I know, especially not under circumstances they are unfamiliar with - like loading down the plane with people and luggage close to gross weight and doing a cross country with it.

      Really? That hasn't been my experience at all -- for me and most other private pilots I know, cross-country fully loaded makes up at least half of our non-training time. I mean, I've done a bunch of local scenic stuff too, but loading up and going places is kind of what this sport is about.

      Also, FWIW I've only ever met 1 or 2 guys that I wouldn't go up with, and in those cases it was their personality more than their flying skills (honestly, I have yet to come across a pilot who got their ticket but couldn'

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We tried to do something similar in 1987 -- reservation system for the charter airline industry to fill the "dead" legs (return flights). Prototyped on Tandy 6000 (8MHz 68K, 1M RAM) and PCs with IBM EGA cards (yes, EGA, not VGA).

    Never did get it off the ground....

  • > passengers share of gas

    passenger's* share of gas

            passengers = more than one passenger

  • by RockyMountain (12635) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:15PM (#46686723) Homepage

    I have lost four of my friends to airplane accidents. Two were pilots -- in one case the it clearly his own fault, and in the other it was extremely bad piece of luck. The other two deaths were the direct result of naively trusting the wrong pilot.

    I see two flavors of comment so far. Non-pilots saying they think the idea is scary, and pilots saying "aw, pshaw, I am well trained, what is the problem?". Well, I am a pilot myself (commercial pilot and certified flight instructor), yet I strongly agree with the "that's scary" crowd. I've flown many thousands of hours in all sorts of locales, weather, and equipment. I've handled numerous emergencies, with never a scratch. I've taught hundreds of other pilots to fly. But, in all that time, by far the scariest moments I have ever had in the air were occasions where I made the mistake of riding as a passenger with the wrong choice of pilot!

    Those who place their faith in the FAA's training standards, simply fail to understand that the ratings indicate compliance with the bare legal minima -- essentially they mean nearly nothing.

    Nor does safety correlate with pilot rating. I've met some mere student pilots that I'd sooner trust with my life than many commercial pilots. The variation from one individual pilot to the next, regardless of qualifications, by far exceeds the variations from one rating to another. That variation comes from preparedness, attitude experience and common sense. Bottom line, with the exception of airlines (where I have no choice!) I will NEVER ride with a pilot whose experience, skills, and attitude I do not personally know first hand. And, I'd never advise friends or loved ones to ride with "just any old pilot".

    • by PRMan (959735)
      Actually, the scariest part I'm seeing is all the PILOTS saying, "No way would I do that. Have you SEEN those other pilots?"
    • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Monday April 07, 2014 @04:28PM (#46687429)

      Private flying is dangerous.
      NTSB statistics (2012 is what I have).

      General avaiation (small planes and some business flights): 6.8 accidents, 1.24 fatalities / 100,000 hours
      Commercial aviation. 0.155 accidents, 0 fatalities/ 100,000 hours.
      There really is no comparison in the safety record.

      For cars I see 1.1 deaths / 100M passenger miles. If we assume a 30mph average speed, that is something like .03 fatalities / 100,000 hours.

      You can play with the statistics all sorts of (perfectly valid) ways, but by almost any reasonable analysis, general aviation is substantially more dangerous that either commercial or driving.

      These and other safety statistics at NTSB.

  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@@@aol...com> on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:18PM (#46686745) Journal

    Found this online:

    http://www.faa.gov/about/offic... [faa.gov]

  • by deadweight (681827) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:52PM (#46687077)
    I am a commercial pilot. This scheme will fail because the FAA really really does not want anything like this going on. Flying people as paying passengers falls under part 135 or part 121 of the regulations. People have been trying there "134.5" scams for decades now and getting busted for decades as well.
  • IIRC, a private pilot is not permitted to accept compensation for carrying passengers or cargo. Arguably, this includes allowing passengers to pay for fuel or other operational costs.

    I haven't made it to my private pilot's license yet, so I may very well be wrong. Could somebody confirm or deny this for me, please?

  • General Aviation is dying, unless something changes it will dissappear completely. This may assist in reversing the trend, much as the commercial lobby may not like it. Unfortunately FAA has nannied the GA field into the ground, planes are too expensive to certify so the field is dominated by expensive dinsaurs, the average ages of GA planes is so old that if it were alive it would have flaps of loose skin and wrinkes.
    In short this is about user choice, be clear about the risks, let people provide reviews o

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