People caution against lending out their personal vehicles. There is safety, expense, and legal risks associated with it. The same risks apply to borrowing someone’s aircraft.
Gigi Jets is seeing an increase in demand from people who are new to flying privately due to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Gigi Jets welcomes you and understands why. With private flights, it is only you and your party in the aircraft, which significantly enhances the ability to maintain distance from others. Additionally, private flights offer safety, efficiency, time, and privacy, which provides significant value.
Consider the comparisons below, of flying through a certified Air Carrier (Commercial Operator) verses cutting corners and paying a side aircraft owner to ‘rent’ or borrow their plane.
Maintenance and Pilots
Care and maintenance on your personal vehicle are left to your discretion, as opposed to commercial vehicles. Commercial vehicles have regulation, not only on the maintenance and care of the vehicle, but also regulation on the driver’s credentials and duty day limitations. Drivers are limited to how many hours they are active on duty and how many hours they drive in a day for safety and care.
Similar with aircraft. Personal aircraft owners do a level of maintenance on their aircraft, regularly and on a scheduled basis. However, there is no accountability compared to commercial aircraft. Additionally, commercial operators have higher maintenance standards and regulations compared to personal aircraft owners.
Personal aircraft owners can fly their pilot’s longer days and hours than commercial operators. Fatigue and burnout are huge factors with pilots. FAA (Federal Aviation Association) has imposed commercial operators with strict rules and regulations and commercial pilots must adhere to regulations on routine training requirements.
Your personal vehicle’s insurance has limited coverage. If you hired out your vehicle to another and they get in a car accident, will the insurance cover the damages and medical needs? This is the same consideration with aircraft. Personal aircraft insurance coverage will not cover damages if the aircraft was hired out. Commercial operators obtain higher insurance coverage and cover passengers under commercial flight operations.
Over time, it costs less to own our personal vehicle than it does to rent a vehicle or hire a driver service. This is business 101, wholesale verses retail cost.
It might be tempting to borrow your friend’s aircraft because of the lower cost. However, you need to understand the expenses associated with providing a business of commercial flight services and what the risks are of cutting corners. The risk of cutting corners with an aircraft in the sky is more deadly than a vehicle on the ground.
Other than replenishing the gas, you probably wouldn’t charge your friend a fee to borrow your personal vehicle. Aircraft expenses are substantially more than a vehicle. Therefore, your friend may offer you their aircraft for a nominal fee. You may think this is a deal because it is still significantly less than utilizing commercial services. However, aircraft owners receiving compensation for the operation of their aircraft is illegal. Individual third parties that suspect illegal operations, can and do file reports to the FAA. You could be liable for a lawsuit, in addition to risking your safety.
How does one ensure their flight is safe and legal to operate? If your friend is the pilot, is the aircraft owner, is flying with you, and is not charging you more than shared price of the gas, then go and enjoy the flight together. Otherwise, take caution!
The first step and at a minimum, is verification that the aircraft is certified to operate under FAA commercial operations. This means that the company and the aircraft are operating under an Air Carrier Certificate.
Private On-Demand Charter Operations are certified under 14 CFR FAA Part 135. Operating under an Air Carrier Certificate has numerous requirements such as regulatory oversight and operational requirements covering maintenance, insurance, training programs, safety, and security programs.
We encourage you to ask the aircraft owner for a copy of their Air Carrier Certificate. After reviewing the certificate, if you want to further verify it’s validity, you can call the FAA directly to ensure the certificate number is in good standing.
Although it can be tempting to save a couple thousand dollars to fly illegally. Flying legal is important for you and your family’s safety. There are numerous additional key things to consider when selecting an aircraft for your transportation needs. It is helpful to have an independent, experienced, and professional person at your side. Gigi Jets would like to be your key person and earn your trust.
Call Gigi Jets today to ask your questions and learn more. We also provide no obligation quotes for your upcoming trips.
Do more research on illegal charters:
National Business Aviation Association, NBAA:
- How to Avoid Illegal Charter Operations
- The Risks of Flying with Illegal Charter Operators
- FAA Warns Against Illegal Charter Operations, ‘Sham’ Lease Agreements
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