Making Freelance CFI's Outlaws...


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Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

There is a pending ordinance change at my home airport (St. George, UT) that will restrict all commercial activities that do not comply with "minimum commercial standards" as outlined by the airport manager. These requirements state in part that no freelance flight instruction may take place. It must be done by a entity who meets all of the requirements below.

1. Buisness licence.
2. Specific authorization from the airport advisory board to operate as a flight school.
3. Office space of at least 900sq. feet which must be attended at least 8 hours a day during normal buisness hours, M-F.
4. Insurance requirments of : Aircraft Liability: $1,000,000 CSL, Public Liability and Property Damage: $1,000,000 CSL, Products Liability/Completed Operations $1,000,000 CSL, Student and Renters Liability $100,000 CSL, Worker's Compensation Employer's Liability : Statutory Limit.
5. Own or lease at least two aircraft for flight instruction and rental.

There are more but these are the big ones. So at sgu, you won't be able to go to your buddy for a flight review. If aircraft owners want any kind of instruction, they have to go to the FBO and use their airplanes and CFI.

Whether or not they can enforce this is another issue. The airport manager is very adamate about this though. His intent in his own words are "to make this a bigger and better airport". He has only been the manager @ sgu for a few months (he previously managed KCOD) . The airport advisory board has approved all of this (big suprise ) and has submitted it to the FAA and the City counsel for review.

Most of my flying comes from freelancing. I do not own, lease, or rent any aircraft or property. I do occasionaly contract to another flight school, but they too will be no more after this. Aircraft owners come to me for instruction, and this BS if it passes will put me out of buisness. There are two other freelance CFI's that I know of at sgu. One of the other "bandits" is a 37,000 hour retired UAL 747 cpt. who instructs as a hobby in his very nice 172 and just charges to cover the cost of operating the plane. We and our students have perfect safety records, no enforcement actions, etc... This is not a safety issue. There is someone with a terrible safety record though, it was the FBO and fortunately they are no more. But this ordinance is aimed to screw the little guys and send all the buisness to the 'new' FBO.
Is this kind of thing going on at any other airports?


P.S. Anyone fly out of COD?
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Sounds like a total vat of BS.

Doubt it would stand up in court but the problem is the people it's screwing probably have very little in the way of resources for taking it to court in the first place.

If it's a publicly owned airport I honestly don't know how he/they can do this as you are not violating any FARs by freelancing and they can't honestly believe their rules will supercede the CFRs.

In the end, if it is enacted and somehow enforced - I mean seriously what are they going to do ask every departing flight who's on board and what the purpose of their flight is and what about transient flights - most people will high tail it to the next closest airport.
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Yeah, I don't really know how it will improve the airport. It might encourage some freelancers to have to group into their flight school definition, maybe, probably not.

It's a lot easier just to go to the next airport as you say.. Can't see how that helps.
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Get this info to AOPA and/or EAA and see what they have to say about it.

The tricky thing here is that cities etc are allowed (if I recall correctly) to regulate the businesses at the airports as they see fit. The grey area comes in (as someone else pointed out) that if this is a public airport (which it sounds like it is) then they really can't regulate who uses it and for what. To add another wrinkle to this, I would think that the FBO's have full reign over their planes, and may be supporting this as a way to get some cash flowin' in.

I think (and I'm no lawyer) that it'll come down to this. This stuff will just make it hard on the FBO's (even though I could see where this might be advantages to them), because in the end it may drive pilots away from that airport. I mean, it sounds like I coulldn't fly in on dual cross country with my freelance CFI from another airport. Which means I'm not buying fuel from the FBO, paying landing or tie down fees, and in general just not spending any money at that airport.

Then again...the FAA is the end all be all when it comes to regulating aviation activities, and learning to fly -- be it from an FBO or you're buddy who's a CFI -- is an aviation activity first and a busniess activity second.

To be anal about it in the accounting world a business is defined as an economic entity that has a profit objective. So if you go up with your CFI buddy and he endorses your log book, but doesn't charge you anything that's soley an aviation activity and it doesn't appear that this would fall under this reg. Of course if your buddy does want to get paid he could drive you to and from the airport and charge you when he drops you at your home. Then all you paid for was a ride to and from the airport. Just don't let any money change hands at the airport.

In the end this is all just speculation. I'd definately get this off to the AOPA and see what they have to say. Something tells me their general counsel will make a few phone calls to SGU and this will be a distant memory unless they want to get the type of publicity that Chicago is getting right now.

My two cents.

Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Can't happen. If it does pass, the FAA should shoot it down. If they don't, someone will sue (like someone always does) and it'll be set against the precident of M’Culloch vs. Maryland (R2F or someone else big on supreme court cases correct me if I'm wrong) which said that the federal government supercedes local and state governments in law making. In that case it was a state government trying to tax a federal bank to death. The federal government didn't like that and set the case law in the 1800's and it's been a basis that our federal arraingment of government has used ever since. If you really want to get into it, you could go as far as to say that's what really makes the federal government so much stronger than state and local governments. It was obvious from the way the consitution was written that the framers wanted a strong national government, but that really kicked it into gear. But I digress...

That being said, the FAA has the power to regulate air commerce, hence it is a federal law and hence it over-rides any state and/or local laws. With that, your airport manager can't legally create local laws that would in any way regulate air commerce, which would be happening by describing very clearly who can make money from the airport. My guess is that the FAA will kill the idea pretty quick, I don't think they like to give up power.

The only way I can see this going through is if it's already been done before, but even that can get shot down and shot down quickly at that.

WOO! I don't have a useless major, I finally used something from one of my classes!


JOhn Herreshoff
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

It happens, San Carlos Airport in the SF Bay Area did this. If the airport ops guys see any ads on the boards pertaining to instruction that is not from an FBO on the field they will remove it. They do not permit freelance instruction. However, if you know an a/c owner you probably can do it w/o getting caught. It is part of the beauty of flying these days, everytime you turn around there is some rule or reg. that almost always hurts the little guy.
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

The FAA know that's happening? I'll bet it is not legal, though that's my guess.


John Herreshoff
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

The airport is a municipality, owned by the city. As far as I know, it is perfectly legal for them to impose rules, ordinances, etc. on the airport and businesses as they see fit. Is it right? Hell no! But what can we do about this? In the situation here, it will require the persuasion of the city counsel by both sides. The vocal minority of pilots and instructors versus the FBO, airport manager, and ultimately the city. There is a wild card here though. Skywest. Skywest is the most influential and powerful business in town and arguably in the state as well. As of right now, it appears that they are on our side.Whether or not they choose to get involved is yet to be seen. As it is now though, we don't have much firepower in comparison. This ordinance proposal has been kept very quiet. It has been documented for well over a week, but yet I have been at the airport everyday for last month and I just hear about it today and that was only because I am friends with the manager of the FBO. I am quiet certain that a majority of the aircraft owners on the field are unaware of the ordinance proposal. This, I believe is their (AP manager/advisory board/FBO) intent . I think their trying to push this through the city counsel without too much of an uproar from their adversarys, the uninformed. After all, if they have the numbers and the money and the power, they can't lose, right? And of course, it is much more difficult to appeal this sort of thing after it has been decided and put into affect.

I am doing everything I possibly can to get the word out. Also, I have called AOPA and they told me that if the airport is owned by the city theres not much AOPA can do. It would seem to me that they would at least make a little noise about it. Maybe I just need to find the right people to talk to at AOPA. BTW, what does it take to get AOPA rollin on this stuff? Do I need petitions, pressure from other members? Any suggestion are appreciated.

rage on.
Thanks for your replies.

Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Read my post again; a local government can not supercede a federal government. The FAA is part of the federal government, and they are the only people that are given the rights to regulate air commerce. That principle alone is why we can't have background checks to recieve flight training in Michigan because it was interfering with air commerce. A state government was trying to supercede a federal agency, and you can't do that.

If someone brings a suit against the airport should this pass, it will go down and quickly at that.


John Herreshoff
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Thanks John, I sure as hell hope you're right. Check this out:
"In the event these Standards, as they now exist or are hereafter amended, conflict with applicable Federal Aviation Regulations, the latter shall be deemed to control."
That is from the Ordinance in its current form. This whole thing has to do with regulating business at the airport, on the ground. It says nothing about what happens in the air. I don't know how this would be directly interfering with or regulating air commerce. Yeah, the feds supercede state, local, etc., but within that hierarchy those bodies can and do make laws that are more restrictive and/or not present at a higher level. But I sincerely hope you are right and the FAA shoots it down.
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

I've had many an heated discussion over this issue at several airports for years. Even been kicked off a few for using auto fuel, free lancing, and just being a rebel in general. Airports seem to think they have the right to impose minimum standards on any business enterprize that takes place at their airports.

I'm starting a flight school soon with my 152 in conjunction with a local avionics shop/pilot supply store. When I met with the owner of the business who wants me to do this, I explained that allowing free lance instructors to use the aircraft is the way it needed to be if I was going to be involved. He was very supportive of my ideas but is worried the airport manager won't approve of his plan. We will find a way to make it work...
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...


Gene Whitt filed a law suit in the state of California that makes it illegal for airports to ban freelance instruction. Email him and I'm sure he can give you all the details and hopefully be of some assistance.
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

It seems to me that all "new" airport managers are nazi's
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Curious last tuesday in SGU who was in the skyhawk that made the challenger go around?

You with preimer flight school?
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

Here's the $20,000 question though.

Say the "ordinance" passes - and BTW there are plenty of things city governments do that are illegal as hell but no one challenges them because they don't know city government can't do whatever it is they did - how can they enforce it? In other words, what is the punishement for violating the ordinance?
Re: Making Freelance CFI\'s Outlaws...

If the ordinance passes would all freelance flight instruction OPERATIONS be banned? So if a CFI and his student were to take off from another airport outside the city or state, and land at this airport as part of a round robin cross country flight, would that technically be illegal as far as the city is concerned? They would have to publish that fact in the airport guides or it would definitely be unenforceable.