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Letting pax handle the controls

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Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby Buter » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:21 am

Not sure where to put this but it should fall under the CFI remit so I'll start here and it can be moved if need be.

Purely some theoretical questions. I'm operating a 206 on a commercial sightseeing flight, can I legally let a pax sitting in the co pilot seat (cuz my operation is doing awesome and the other seats are full too!) handle the controls? What about if I were a CFI? Would I have to be a certified SES instructor? Could you actually state publicly that if you're out on a sightseeing tour you can 'have a go at flying'?

Thoughts?

Cheers

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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby RKittine » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:19 am

What FARs are you theoretically operating under? Regardless I would not advertise that you would be offering passengers to fly the plane if you are not an instructor or if you are operating under and number of FARs.

Plenty of operators flying legal single pilot opertions will put passengers in the right seat. I used to do a lot of Part 135 Charters, some with guys that wanted to get flight time. Those got set up and logged as dual instruction, not Charter.

There is No Seaplane Instructor Certificate. If your a single engine Instructor and have a Commercial Single Engine Seaplane Rating you can teach.

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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby KlausNW » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:40 pm

For another pilot to handle the controls on a revenue flight they must be a commercial pilot. If you are checking a new pilot out to work for your company, you or one of the companies pilots need be a 'Check Airman'. The Check Airman designation is achieved after check rides with the FAA. Other words, the FAA has stiff rules preventing anyone other than the designated pilot/pilots from operating 100 percent of the flight.

The legal way for a person other than the pilot to take the controls, advertise flight training and allow for the other students (observers) to do a ride-a-long. If everyone on board has a log book and you are a CFI with a Seaplane rating everything is legal. You do everything just like a normal flight lesson including basic initial introduction to being a student to all who are riding along.
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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby Buter » Mon Mar 31, 2014 5:19 pm

Thanks very much, guys.

Pretty much as I would have guessed. Even though the intent is harmless, when you see it in print it takes on another life altogether. "Unqualified passenger operating the controls on a revenue flight".

Kinda makes me feel silly even asking.

I think I will just do what the flying club here does - offer a trial flight with an instructor. The trial flight will just happen to take place where others go to do sightseeing. The most popular training flight here is one that tours the D-day landing beaches in Normandy.

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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby jjbaker » Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:12 pm

Two things. [1.] Please never feel silly for asking. For every one that has the guts to ask, there are 999 who won't, and [2.] you're flying a completely different piece of airplane in a completely different environment. I am sure if you posted a picture of your office, some of us may have some "silly questions".

The desire to have unqualified passengers operating the controls is not too far from what many airline captains probably secretly wish for, looking towards what fills that right seat, especially if those unqualified passengers look hot... :lol:

Generally anything under Part 135 means letting no-one but properly qualified crew members required for the operation of the flight/ aircraft touch anything other than an emergency door handle. If you, for example, took a student along for a revenue (135) flight and the return was empty under Part 91, of course you can provide instruction (some exclusions apply), just not on the part of the flight covered by 135 regs.
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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby KeithSmith » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:39 pm

Here are the applicable regulations for part of your question:

§ 135.113 Passenger occupancy of pilot seat.

No certificate holder may operate an aircraft type certificated after October 15, 1971, that has a passenger seating configuration, excluding any pilot seat, of more than eight seats if any person other than the pilot in command, a second in command, a company check airman, or an authorized representative of the Administrator, the National Transportation Safety Board, or the United States Postal Service occupies a pilot seat.

§ 135.115 Manipulation of controls.

No pilot in command may allow any person to manipulate the flight controls of an aircraft during flight conducted under this part, nor may any person manipulate the controls during such flight unless that person is -
(a) A pilot employed by the certificate holder and qualified in the aircraft; or
(b) An authorized safety representative of the Administrator who has the permission of the pilot in command, is qualified in the aircraft, and is checking flight operations.
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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby KeithSmith » Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:03 pm

You should avoid those "let's pretend it is instructional flight" operations as a way to mask the real intent. There are several reasons for that.

The FAA has seen it before and doesn't like it.

Your competitors will be very happy to call and complain to the FAA about what you are doing.

After an accident, the passengers are NOT going to be your friends and anything that wasn't 100% on the up and up can come back to hurt you.

After an accident, your insurance carrier is going to look for a way to avoid paying the claim. You might be giving them the excuse they are looking for.


DISCLAIMERS: I'm thinking in terms of a US operation and foreign operations may change things. Also, I'm not a REAL seaplane pilot. Just a guy who holds a seaplane rating.
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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby TriPacer » Tue Apr 01, 2014 10:07 am

Those are all really valid points, Keith. I'm of the opinion that if it even smells fishy, the FAA and Insurance companies will do their best to squash it. Which makes things much less fun, of course, but I guess it's the world we live in...
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Re: Letting pax handle the controls

Unread postby KlausNW » Wed Apr 02, 2014 3:10 am

I don't want to push the grey area in the rules too hard but, Fractional's are a manipulation of the training flight regulations.
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