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Defintion of a Revenue Flight

Dog Rocket

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I have a question that I am searching for an answer to, and my eyes are going cross-eyed from reading regulations.

If your company bids a trip to return to the point of origin, so they are being compensated for the entire flight, irregardless of whether or not the last reposition leg has freight on board, does that last reposition leg fall under Part 135 rules. My belief is that the entire flight is generating revenue, because the customer is paying to repositon the aircraft, so you cannot operate the last "empty reposition" leg under Part 91.

This is my belief, can anyone tell me whether or not I am correct?

 

transpac

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Dog Rocket said:
I have a question that I am searching for an answer to, and my eyes are going cross-eyed from reading regulations.

If your company bids a trip to return to the point of origin, so they are being compensated for the entire flight, irregardless of whether or not the last reposition leg has freight on board, does that last reposition leg fall under Part 135 rules. My belief is that the entire flight is generating revenue, because the customer is paying to repositon the aircraft, so you cannot operate the last "empty reposition" leg under Part 91.

This is my belief, can anyone tell me whether or not I am correct?

U.S. Customs appears to think this way as they require clearance for empty Part 91 outgoing flights that intend to return under Part 135. Also, NTSB accident investigators have occasionally, but not always, treated empty legs as being under Part 135. However, the FAA takes a different viewpoint. They have been consistent in finding that a flight may be operated under Part 91 when no revenue passengers and/or cargo are onboard, whether or not the flight precedes or follows a revenue flight. If the purpose of Parts 121/135 is to provide a higher level of safety for paying passengers and revenue cargo, I guess this makes sense.
 

avbug

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An aircraft isn't required to operate under 135 if it's flown for compensation or hire, only. If it moves persons or property to a point other than the point of departure for compensation or hire, then yes...135 regulations apply.

That the entire flight has been bid as one unit and paid for accordingly suggests that your return leg is paid for, but this isn't relevant to weather or not the flight must be conducted under 135 regulations. Without property or persons aboard who are being moved for that fare, then you are not beholden to operate under Part 135.

A fallacy exists that a flight is either Part 91 or Part 135. Not so. You're always beholden to Part 91; Part 135 adds to it. It may modify some of the operating parameters, but it does so under an authorization written into Part 91. One is not excused from operating under Part 91 when flying under Part 135...one is under the burden of operating under the additional rules of Part 135.

Having said that, during the empty leg, you may operate under Part 91 regulations only. With the exception of duty and flight times. If the Part 91 reposition flight occurs after all 135 duty, it may be done without exceeding duty or flight limitations, but rest doesn't begin until you're home. If the 91 reposition leg occurs at the start of the day or during the duty day, it applies to the flight time limitations just as any other leg. Additionally, if it is at the start of the day, your duty starts before it just as any other leg.

Duty and flight time issues aside, then, you may conduct the flight itself under the auspices of Part 91 operationally, without regard to Part 135, if paying passeners or cargo/property isn't aboard. You are still beholden to Part 135 maintenance limitations or restrictions, as it's a 135 airplane and it doesn't stop being a 135 airplane when operated "off the clock" or under Part 91, only. Any inspection intervals, component times, MEL issues, or any other maintenance requirement still applies if it's going to continue to be operated under 135. From a maintenance perspective, it stays a 135 airplane and operation. From an operations point of view, including takeoff and approach minimums, yada, yada, yada, you can elect to operate Part 91 only.

Customs doesn't care about 135, only weather or not you're "commecial." However, as Transpac stated, customs viewpoint of your flight doesn't have any bearing on FAA regulation. A civil court might or might not recognize your flight as being a "charter flight," but again, that would have no bearing under the "FAR's." You have the option, under the conditions discussed, of operating the airplane under the regulations prescribed in Part 91, only.
 

Thedude

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great explanation avbug
 

Dog Rocket

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I agree with Thedude, that explanation was wonderful it addressed and answered the exact question I was trying to ask! Thank you!!
 

avbug

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The following comments are copied from what I PM posted back to Dog Rocket. Forgive my use of the comments twice, but I didn't want to retype them again, and I think it's applicable here...

Be careful assuming that the Part 91 nature of the flight excuses the flight from duty and flight limitations. Only if it's the last flight of the day and you've ended your duty, does it not conflict. Further, your rest doesn't begin until the Part 91 flight has ended...and that flight does count toward the total commercial flying allowed in a 24 hour period. Note that the 24 hour period is looking back. At any time tomorrow, can you look back and see more than 8 hours flying for a single pilot, or ten for a crew of two...counting that Part 91 flight?

For example, I arrive at the airport at 0600 for duty. My duty must end by 2000, which is 14 hours (more on that momentarily). Between 1200 and 20000, I fly 8 hours. I'm now stuck away from my home base, and need to get home. The company cannot assign me to any more duty or flight time, and I cannot accept such an assignment. However, the company may allow me to make the flight home, at my discretion, so I do. I Depart at 2100 and fly two hours home, arriving home at 2300. I take an hour to put the airplane to bed, and start my rest at 0000.

I'm legal to fly again at 1000, because I've had ten hours of rest. So, the company assigns me to duty at 1000, and my first flight is scheduled for 1100. I have a four hour flight to conduct, which will run from 1100 to 1500. Can I do it?

Looking back from 1500, 24 hours, I see that in the previous 24 hours, I will have flown 11 hours. That's five hours between 1500-2000 the previous day, 2 hours getting home, and now four hours of flying in the new day...that's 11 hours in the previous 24 hours and it's not legal. In fact, starting at 1100 this morning, I can can go on duty, but can't fly. I must be able to look back at any given time and find no more than 8 hours flying in the previous 24, to be legal under Part 135.

I mentioned getting back to the 14 hour duty thing. There's no such thing. Nowhere does the regulation restrict us to 14 hours of duty. Rather, the regulation tells us that in the previous 24 hours looking back, we need to be able to find ten hours of rest preceeding our current duty assignment. By math, we can't work more than 14 hours of duty and still make that work, but nowhere does the regulation spell out a 14 our duty day, explicitly.

This is important, because both duty and flight limitations are determined on a "look-back" basis. That is, we need to be able to look back at any given time over the previous 24 hours, up to that moment when we look back, and see that we're in compliance. This requirement only exists when operating under Part 135 (or 121, as the case may be, although that gets more complicated). It doesn't exist when we're operating under Part 91 at the end of the day, because our obligations under Part 135 are over.

This is why, in the example above you can reach the end of the day at 2000 and look back to find ten hours of rest preceeding your day, and 8 hours of flying in the previous 24. Now, when I take my flight home at 2100, I'm not obligated to look back 24 hours because I'm not operating under Part 135. The following day when I go back on duty and start operating under Part 135 again, I'm required to comply with the look-back requirements and consider all I've done in the previous 24 hours. Because that ferry flight home under Part 91 has been in the previous 24 hours, I have to consider it, too.

Now here's where people sometimes get into trouble. You can't apply the Part 91 flight when starting the day. You can't fly a Part 91 resposition leg to start the day, and then say your duty started after that...your duty started when you repositioned the airplane. For duty and flight time limitations, the anything done up until the end of your duty day still counts against your 135 restrictions. You can operate the airplane under Part 91 as far as cloud clearances, flight plans, minimums, etc...but until your duty day ends, any flights (be it 91 or 135) still count against your duty and flight limitations.
 

EatSleepFly

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Sorry for ressurecting this old thread, but I have a question about it. Specifically, this:

Without property or persons aboard who are being moved for that fare, then you are not beholden to operate under Part 135.
Why is this and where is it written? Is an empty, but revenue, leg to be considered a "ferry flight" under Part 119, thus exempt from 135?

Thanks...
 

avbug

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Are persons or property being carried from one place to another for compensation or hire? If so, then you'll be operating under Part 135. If not, then you don't need to be operating under part 135.

Where is this written? The whole point that it's not written. Sort of like not writing a traffic regulation that says you don't have to sit at the light when it's green. We don't have regulations like that. We have laws and regulations that tell us we have to stop for a red light. If we're not bound by the requirement to stop, because the light is no longer red, we can go. We don't hae a law that tells use can go, or that we must go...we're just not restricted by any law telling us to stop.

Flying that paid-for leg that is without passengers is the same way. No box of beer being transported for the passenger in the cargo, no passenger strapped onto the seats, just you and I taking the airplane home for the night. The trip has been bid out at an hourly cost for the airplane...the passenger is paying for it coming and going, even though the passenger was only coming. We've dropped him off, now we're going. Empty. Alone. Unloved. Unwanted. Unwashed. As always. We're paid for. We're still earning money, but we're not transporting someone or their dog or their tea kettle for that money. We've already done that. We're just going home, and we can do that under Part 91 because there's no regulation that tells us otherwise. It's not that there's any regulation telling us we can, it's that there's no regulation telling us we can't.

Where is the regulation that tells us this? There isn't one...that's the whole point.
 

A Squared

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Avbug is spot-om with his explanation. Here's a slightly different spin on it that might help.

Somone could hire me to fly my own airplane around, and I would no need a 135 certificate. It would be perfectly legal, because I am not carrying persons or property for hire. Why somone would pay me to fly myself around is another question, but it would be perfectly legal.

That is what the charter company is doing, being paid to fly an empty airplane from base to point A, with no persons or property. Thus the provisions of part 135 are not applicable.

I would challange you to find a regulation that would *prohibit* flying an empty airplane for hire without a 135 certificate.
 

atpcliff

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Hi!

The recommended re-write of -135 will change this. If a company is -135, then they will operate -135 on ALL legs. The tail-end ferry, or -91 leg to pick up someone/something, has been removed.

Hopefully, the changes to -135 will happen sooner rather than later.

cliff
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