incidental ?

futurepilot

New Member
alright I'm studying up for my private pilot oral, and I got to the privileges and limitations, one of which says,"may act as PIC of an aircraft with connection to a business only if it is incidental to that business, and does not carry passenger or property for hire." and so I'm a little confused as to the definition of incidental to pilots, or if anyone has a example situation to explain that'd help too, thanks
 

mtsu_av8er

Well-Known Member
Basically, if you're a doctor, and you have a business meeting in Las Vegas, you can fly to Vegas for the meeting. You could have the meeting with or without the aircraft, but the aircraft just makes it easier.
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
Or in my case. I work for a law firm as a Paralegal. My firm can pay for the aircraft and I fly it to a meeting/discovery/inspection whatever, but I'm not being paid as a pilot - I'm being paid to do my normal paralegal duties.
 

triplec76

Well-Known Member
Okay, so here is a question. I used to work for a company that did contract work for FedEx and ABX. If they had a piece of freight that needed to be somewhere right away, would I be able to fly it there and still be paid an hourly wage? What about renting an FBO aircraft for the work? When I was asked to do this I said no, because I wasnt 100% sure on the regs regarding it, but now that you bring it up...........
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Okay, so here is a question. I used to work for a company that did contract work for FedEx and ABX. If they had a piece of freight that needed to be somewhere right away, would I be able to fly it there and still be paid an hourly wage? What about renting an FBO aircraft for the work? When I was asked to do this I said no, because I wasnt 100% sure on the regs regarding it, but now that you bring it up...........

[/ QUOTE ]
Hmm, smells like Part 135 to me. Doesn't really matter how you are paid, hourly, whatever. The bottom line is the reason you are making the flight is to carry that package. That's transporting cargo. That's part 135. If you're talking about just renting one of the trainers from the FBO on your own and carrying the package, no. Can't do it. Legally. But I wouldn't tell.
 

PhotoPilot

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Okay, so here is a question. I used to work for a company that did contract work for FedEx and ABX. If they had a piece of freight that needed to be somewhere right away, would I be able to fly it there and still be paid an hourly wage? What about renting an FBO aircraft for the work? When I was asked to do this I said no, because I wasnt 100% sure on the regs regarding it, but now that you bring it up...........

[/ QUOTE ]

Carrying the package isn't incedental to the business, it IS the business! Incidental means, as mentioned above, that the flying has nothing to do with the money making.
 

triplec76

Well-Known Member
Thats what I thought and why I said no. I was never sure on it, but it just didnt make good sense to make that trip. Glad now that I didnt do it. Thanks guys.
 

cime_sp

Well-Known Member
Another example would be that you are a real estate broker trying to sell some acerage to a farmer. You could legally fly him around to show him the land. You are being payed and making money as a land broker.....not as a pilot. The fact that you took him flying instead of driving around the land is incidental
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Or, say you're me last year, and you were getting ready to take a trip down to Texas. You were selling advertising. You were supposed to start in Amarillo, then head down to Lubbock, and then Odessa, and then end in El Paso and drive back to Amarillo.

I said that I wouldn't drive that trip, but I'd fly it if they insisted that I do it. Well, it never happened, because they laid me off the week after that.

But if they did give me the okay, then that would have been incidental to my employment so it would have been okay.
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]


But if they did give me the okay, then that would have been incidental to my employment so it would have been okay.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hehe, you know it woulda been WAY more than okay. You woulda been one happy camper.


What aircraft did you propose using?
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
I would have flown whatever an FBO wanted to rent to me down there. It would have been cool to knock off the commercial requirement for a 250 mile trip on someone else's dime, you know?

I didn't really do much research into it, just threw it out there because there was no way in hell I was going to drive that trip!
 

ready2fly

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Or, say you're me last year,

[/ QUOTE ]
Okay - I'll play..... "I'm you last year...."


[ QUOTE ]
It would have been cool to knock off the commercial requirement for a 250 mile trip on someone else's dime, you know?

[/ QUOTE ]

I ALMOST had that very same opportunity (to do my Comm. x/c on the company dime) with a flight for firm business that they sent me on, but the trip ended up getting nixed.

I think, as in my example above, a company can pay for the rental so long as what you are doing is for them and they are not paying you as a pilot.

In my case, I would have been paid my normal salary as a paralegal. I just would have been using one of my other skills for the sake of the firm.

In that respect, I believe it's legal.
 

MidlifeFlyer

Well-Known Member
It's one of those concepts that is intentionally subject to a case-by-case interpretation, FWIW, my personal FAQ on it.

"Only Incidental to that Business of Employment"

FAR 61.113(b) permits a private pilot to fly for compensation or hire for business or employment purposes if "the flight is only incidental to that business or employment;"

The FAA could have created a rule that prohibited all compensation for flying without a commercial pilot certificate and a Part 135 operating certificate, and it would have been easy. But the FAA doesn't operate in a total vacuum and from a policy standpoint it's kind of unreasonable to stop people from sharing the costs of a joint trip or getting reimbursed for taking a personal airplane on a business trip rather than an airline, train, bus or car.

Given that policy decision, how would =you= go about phrasing a rule that was less that 1000 pages long, was absolutely clear and covered all of the creative ways that people can find to get around rules they don't like. I'd say it's impossible.

So we end up with 61.113 which permits compensation for a private pilot for a business flight that "is only incidental" to the business. Notice that it doesn't say that this activity is "not" for compensation or hire. The rule recognizes that it is for compensation or hire, but says it's okay.

Let's go back to policy for a moment. Bear in mind the primary policy behind the rule. When the business =is= flying, the FAA wants the higher levels of protection of a commercial certificate and when the business is =public flying= the FAA wants the higher levels of protection afforded by Parts 135 and 121.

The view the FAA has regularly taken is that in order to qualify under the "merely incidental" exception, the activity has to =clearly= be incidental. Close questions will be resolved against the pilot. The FAA will look at and apply a number of different factors, none of which by itself answers the question all the time.

Take that business trip. If if a private pilot decides to fly to a business meeting rather than drive and some of his co-workers say, "Wow, that would be cool! Can we come along?" it's probably okay. Just one of a number of ways of getting there. Usually. But do it when you don't have to be at the meeting, or every month, or have the boss start giving only a 1/2 travel day instead of a full one because of the efficiency of flying, and it's probably no longer "merely incidental".

On the other hand, even a one-shot deal can be enough if you "need" an airplane in order to do the job or if the airplane use is a significant cost center. Aerial photography, pipeline patrols, and using an airplane as one method of delivery of goods for resale are examples where the use =becomes= the business rather than being "merely incidental" to it.

But, because of the nature of the beast (people, not the FAA), unlike some other FARs where there are clear (although sometimes confusing) answers, this is one of those areas that will almost =always= be decided on a case-by-case basis. And there will be anomalies, such as the time that the Alaska FAA Region permitted guides to fly patrons to their lodges on the basis that the flights were "merely incidental". The FAA ended up issuing a special notice to stop that one.

The best description of the analysis comes down to "If it quacks like a duck..." Or another way of putting it might be, if you say to yourself, "Hmm. If I do it =this= way..." you probably =won't= get away with it.
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Let's go back to policy for a moment. Bear in mind the primary policy behind the rule. When the business =is= flying, the FAA wants the higher levels of protection of a commercial certificate and when the business is =public flying= the FAA wants the higher levels of protection afforded by Parts 135 and 121.


[/ QUOTE ]



But when the business is =government flying= the FAA may want nothing at all.

Just to muddy the waters.

[ QUOTE ]
The view the FAA has regularly taken is that in order to qualify under the "merely incidental" exception, the activity has to =clearly= be incidental. Close questions will be resolved against the pilot. The FAA will look at and apply a number of different factors, none of which by itself answers the question all the time.

.... if you say to yourself, "Hmm. If I do it =this= way..." you probably =won't= get away with it.

[/ QUOTE ]


Hmm, probably won't get away with it....if caught.

Not advocating FAR violation here.

But how in the heck they gonna catch you? I mean, I know people have been caught, but that's usually when they try to operate a continous illegal operation. How in the world would they EVER find out something like that if it happened rarely? Heck even if there were a problem the likelihood would be slim.

Hmm, maybe one of those "vee haf ways......." deals now that I think about it.

There is a particular airport around where I live that was run for years by a guy with a basic small town airport setup. Fuel, charts and training. The guy retired a couple of years ago and I was in the building with a buddy of mine nosing around before the new FBO took over.

We opened a closet door and there was a freaking STACK of logbooks piled in there. I bet there were over 200 of them. We started thumbing through them and every single one we looked at had one flight listed in it. The old FBO guy had been doing charter flight without a 135 Cert. and had fudged it by filling out a logbook for every flight calling it instruction!
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]

I ALMOST had that very same opportunity (to do my Comm. x/c on the company dime) with a flight for firm business that they sent me on, but the trip ended up getting nixed.

I think, as in my example above, a company can pay for the rental so long as what you are doing is for them and they are not paying you as a pilot.

In my case, I would have been paid my normal salary as a paralegal. I just would have been using one of my other skills for the sake of the firm.

In that respect, I believe it's legal.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmm, don't believe, KNOW. You have every right to do as you've described. I can't see why "pay as a pilot" would ever enter the picture.

Even consider this scenario. Let's say you have a varying pay scale. When you're actually working you make Y dollars per hour. When commuting to and from jobsites you are paid X dollars per hour. You then make a flight as you've described. At face value, when you picked up your check next pay period, part of that pay would be for the time that you were functioning as a pilot. But I'd still not hesitate for a second to do it. And I'd never for an instant feel that I was "pulling one over" on the FAA.

There are interpretations of the FAR's. The FAA (and NTSB) have a whole team of lawyers whose job it is to look at the laws and the particular ways they might be circumvented or "loopholed" and they write opinions on these issues (hehe, I guess as a paralegal I'm really telling you something new here aren't I!
).

And even certain FSDO's will interpret the laws differently. This isn't as common as it used to be, but before it was quite possible that a particular action was allowed by one FSDO and not by another. I know that when looking at things like aircraft certification and major modification there are still particular FSDO's that people prefer to use because of more lenient interpretations.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
I think in his case, there is no way his flying could be considered anything other than incidental to his job. His job was as a paralegal, and flying was just a way to get to where he needed to go.
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
I think in his case, there is no way his flying could be considered anything other than incidental to his job. His job was as a paralegal, and flying was just a way to get to where he needed to go.

[/ QUOTE ]
And I would agree with you wholeheartedly.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
And I would agree with you wholeheartedly.


[/ QUOTE ]

Cool, man! Now let's hope that the boys at the FAA agree -- cause they're the ones who really count.

By the way, keep on posting those pics and stories. They are great!
 

agcatman

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
[ QUOTE ]
And I would agree with you wholeheartedly.


[/ QUOTE ]

Cool, man! Now let's hope that the boys at the FAA agree -- cause they're the ones who really count.


[/ QUOTE ]

I'm sure they would.

You know, in a way they get a bad rap. It's like cops. One bad one and it's easy to get pissed at them all. Of course I wasn't too happy with the last one that gave me a ticket either. But hey, I WAS speeding.

Anyway, when I first started flying, I was a bit intimidated by the mention of the Feds and believed a lot of the negative stuff.

But, in my experience, they are really nice guys and gals. They have a job to do and you have to respect their position. And they have always been more than fair with me. It's not a totally uncommon thing for me to hear from them on complaints. As a matter of fact I dread when they call, I can't help it, it's like getting called to the Principal's Office. My mind starts whirling, oh man, what have I done, oh man, oh man. But they explain what the problem is, I tell them why the complaint is bull and that's the end of it.

Think of it this way: if you don't do anything wrong you've got nothing to worry about. If you screw up and get caught, don't blame it on the Feds. They didn't make you screw up. You did that on your own. So don't blame them.

And when you talk to them, treat them with respect. Always.

Like my dear old mama tells me, "boy, always make sure you got clean underware on." Which is good advice but not relevant.

"You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar," she says too. And, in all seriousness, that is one of the most important things I've ever learned in my life.

When I tore up my green Thrush up I got the dreaded letter for a 609 (I think that's right anyway) reride.

Something to the effect of "the administrator has determined that your qualifications to act as a commercial pilot are in question".

Who, ME?

How humiliating.

But I called the FSDO and scheduled the reride. The inspector showed up at my place and I went out to meet him. Turns out it was the same guy that gave me my initial CFI helicopter ride.

"What the hell did you do Stephen?" he asked.
"Uh, crashed," I said.
"Do you know what you did wrong?" he asked.
"Uh, yeah," I said.
"You gonna do it again?"he asked.
"Uh, no," I said.
"Okay then," he said. "Lets go over to the plane."
So we went over to my leased aircraft. He said "well, you know you gotta be retested."
"Uh, yeah," I said.
"Okay, well get in, fire it up, make a low pass for me over your strip and come back in," he said.
"Uh, okay," I said.
And so I did.
I shut down and climbed out.
"You made it!" he said.
"Uh, yeah," I said.
"You gonna do something stupid again?" he asked.
"Uh, no," I said.
"Okay then," he said.
He signed the paperwork.
"Uh, Tim?" I said.
"Yeah Stephen?" he said.
"Uh, thanks," I said.
He just looked at me and laughed. "Stephen, don't be a knucklehead, okay?"
"Uh, okay," I said. And I figured that I probably oughta say more. So I added, "uh, I won't."
And I didn't. Or at least not for another five years. But I haven't mentioned that here.
 
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