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What Is "For Hire"?


Well-known member
Nov 28, 2001
Total Time
During my PPL checkride the examiner asked me if we needed a landing light for night flight. I said yes, because flight instruction is "for hire".

But he said no, only Part 135 or 121 (or I guess other pax flights) need landing lights at night.

I didn't want to argue with him so I didn't say anything.


Well-known member
Jan 24, 2002
Total Time
A bit confusing isn't it.

The FAA uses the terms "for hire" and "holding out" as equals. Flight instruction falls into a nebulous commercial use not for carriage of persons.

The big thing the FAA is trying to monitor or regulate is someone who "holds himself out" as a carrier of passengers. That is you try to derive money by supplying transportation to someone else. A CFI gets paid but its not for transporting you from one place to another - he/she gets paid to teach you to fly.

So in dancing on the head of the pin and other legal matters you need to be careful. If you want to totally confuse yourself - consider this:

The plane you rented for your check ride was required to have a 100 hour inspection - why - because it was being used for a "commercial" activity. But the plane does not require the working landing light because it wasn't used "for hire". Hmmmm.

Congrats on your PPL!

Rich Man

Aug 12, 2002
Total Time
Absolutely right!

First and foremost, Congrats and wellcome to the sky!!!

He is right, your activity fell into a commercial activity called Flight Instructing, or flight schools, which are not conducting for hire operations.

Any time you engage in the cariage persons or property for the purpose of making a buck, that is for hire.

Carriage, as in a form of transportation, fun rides, or anything like that. the purpose in flight trainig is to make a pilot out of you, not to take you places....

hope this helps out!