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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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  • Potential FAA issues (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @12:58PM (#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 perpenso (1613749) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:14PM (#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."
  • by bobbied (2522392) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:28PM (#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.

  • Re:um... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:51PM (#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:Sounds scary (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Entropius (188861) on Monday April 07, 2014 @01:53PM (#46686515)

    The real question is: does anything go badly wrong if things like Uber and Lyft are *not* regulated?

    Turns out: not really. There isn't a plague of Uber drivers hauling passengers off to the boonies and robbing them. In my experience they're a lot friendlier and saner than the local cabbies.

  • by bradorsomething (527297) on Monday April 07, 2014 @02:06PM (#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.
  • by joe_frisch (1366229) on Monday April 07, 2014 @03:28PM (#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.

1 Sagan = Billions & Billions

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