Chartering a small aircraft as a passenger, not a pilot


#1

I’ve done my research but can’t find an answer. Any advice on the below would be greatly appreciated, especially if you can provide company names and websites.

I’d like to fly my girlfriend up to her mom’s place near Clear Lake, CA. The results of my research for aircraft charters from the Bay Area airports near me (HWD, [flightaware.com/live/airport/KLVK]LVK, and [flightaware.com/live/airport/KCCR]CCR yielded aircraft no smaller than King Airs. These are slightly out of my price range by a few hundred dollars.

What I’m looking for is a cost of approximately $200 to $300 roundtrip. The flight would be from one of the Bay Area airports mentioned above to Lamson Field, Lakeport. a roundtrip distance of about 200 miles.

My guess is that a small twin (e.g. Seneca or Duchess) or a larger single (Lance, Cessna 206) would be in this price range.

An alternative would be to share expenses in a private aircraft. I have tried Pilot Share the Ride but haven’t had any luck. If there’s a private pilot in this area that would like to share expenses on a flight from here to there please send me a private message.


#2

Wouldn’t Buchanan Field be a bit of a drive since it’s north? So are you inbetween Livermore and Hayward?


#3

I’m actually closer to HWD in distance but LVK is not too much further away (depending on traffic) time wise.

CCR is about twice as far away as LVK timewise but I figure if I can get a good deal out of there then it would be worth it.


#4

I am no FAR lawyer, but I believe it is cheaper, and legal, to hire a pilot and then rent a plane from a school/club.

Get referrals for a solid commercial pilot (like an experienced instructor), and then rent the plane from somewhere he is not an employee.

There cannot be any cheaper way to go. Charters are usually double the hourly rate of this method if you can find one using a single at all.


#5

Damiross is not a pilot, so he wouldn’t be allowed to rent a plane himself. If the pilot wanted to rent the plane from another school/club he’d almost for sure still have to have a checkout, as well as having renter’s insurance and stuff, which would cost much more in the long run.
I don’t really have an answer for you, but I’d look at flight school’s websites in the area to see if they offer anything like that. I’d give them a call to see what they can do. Dami doesn’t care if the flight is legal as a charter or not, thats the pilot’s problem! :wink:


#6

I do know that the regulations state that the pilot and passengers can only share expenses when the pilot has only a private license. If the pilot was to be paid either to fly the plane or in not paying any of the expenses the feds could revoke his license.

My preference would actually be for a charter because I’d want to know the pilot and aircraft are properly certified.


#7

I do know that the regulations state that the pilot and passengers can only share expenses when the pilot has only a private license. If the pilot was to be paid either to fly the plane or in not paying any of the expenses the feds could revoke his license.

True, but if you happened to lose some money (approximatly the same ammount of the pilot’s expenses) and he just so happened to find it on the ground, it’s finders keepers is it not?


#8

Check with local flight schools. Some of them are set up for on-demand charter, even with Skyhawks. Or if you’re interested in getting a license eventually, perhaps a cross-country “lesson” could be arranged.

Cost will certainly be well above $300, though. Even renting a Skyhawk for $100/hr (probably much more) and paying $35/hr for an instructor/pilot (probably more) will be close to $500 round-trip.


#9

There is nothing in the FAR’s preventing the FBO from renting a plane to a non-pilot so long as he is not PIC. Yes, the FBO would have to meet their insurance requirements as far as the commercial pilot he hired. So long as the there is no connection between the FBO and the commercial pilot, then this is not a charter.

There was a story a couple years ago about an FBO who used this loophole to do charters, but they had a connection to the pilot so they got busted. The pilot has to be commercial rated, and not in any way connected to the FBO.


#10

Having worked very hard to get my Part 135 certificate, I am incredibly disappointed that so many people look for ways around the regs rather than attempting to comply with them. “If you happen to drop the amount of money on the ground and the pilot picks it up”? Come on! Here is the reality for those who care:

  1. You can only “share expenses” if the pilot has a legitimate reason to make the trip. The FAA has determined that time building is NOT a legitimate reason. They have also determined that an employee of a company can fly other employees to a meeting only if the pilot/employee is required to be at the meeting - otherwise, a commercial license is required.
  2. The FAA is cracking down (rightly) on the rent a plane/hire a pilot gimmick. Passengers have no assurance of the qualifications or training of the pilot. The plane may not be up to Part 135 specifications. Insurance might not be in place. The operator obviously is trying to get around the rules - dangerous business!
  3. $200 or $300 round trip is a pipedream to go anywhere on a legitimate Part 135 plane. Even a small twin will cost at least $2 per nautical mile. Most operators charge a minimum per leg to cover the taxi and climb costs. Singles can normally be used only for VFR charter operations. I just quoted a 125 nm drop-and-pickup flight in a Navajo: $1700+. And that’s cost competitive.

Pilots meed to encourage potential clients to be realistic about the cost of charter - it’s not for every one - and not promote ways around the system.


#11

Your right, that cost is competitive, which is why charter is such a small business.

After all, who is making all the money on that ride? The insurance man?

The whole thing is structured around making a profit at very few hours a month.

Assuming a 135 is safe is not a great plan either. Nothing personal (the fact you are on this thread is a good indication you are a good egg), but I been around the hangar long enough to know better than to think a 135 on the wall means much.


#12

Unless he’s a foreign national, like, well…, you!

Aircraft share this rule with US flag vessels.


#13

Agreed. Some 135 operators try to get around the rules sometimes (duty times, weight limits, use non-approved planes or pilots, etc). If the FAA is doing their job, they get stopped.


#14

well, I have sometimes wondered (if I was to win the powerball) whether I should then
a. buy into a fractional deal (Netjets), or
b. buy a Marquis jetcard (a bit cheaper), or
c. simply charter if I wanna fly somewhere


#15

There are always a few fly by night 135 operators out there which it sounds like what you are looking for, but if you get with a reputable chater company most of the cost hikes are incured because of the high standards of maint. performed and the price of training for the pilots and the sick prices of fuel,hotels,food,rental car’s,ramp fee’s,handling fee’s and in some places you even get charged for coffee and ice. People who arn’t in the know do not realise how raked over the coals a 135 charter company (a real one) can be, often times worse than the airlines. I think that the pilots have better training than the airlines, but all of the above mentioned is why the cost to customer is so high. I would suggest the bus.they arn’t held too much of a standard.


#16

Depends on how much and what kind of flying you would be doing.
100 hours or less in a year and charter is your best bet.
100-250 or so and factional ownership can be a good choice.
Beyond about 250 hours then ownership starts to be a good choice.