July 2012 Aviation Articles

Logging Time And Payment Of Expenses When You Are Flying With A Safety Pilot

In a recent Legal Interpretation, the FAA Office of the Chief Counsel responded to questions regarding the logging of pilot in command ("PIC") time and distribution of expenses when a safety pilot is used. The scenario presented involved two pilots, A and B, planning a Part 91 local VFR flight for the purpose of Pilot A satisfying instrument time or instrument currency requirements. Pilot A secured the aircraft (type certificated for one pilot crewmember), and Pilot B agreed to serve as a safety pilot during the portion of the flight that required a safety pilot. Both pilots held private pilot certificates and were qualified to act as PIC.

In addressing the logging of flight time, the Interpretation observed that FAR 91.109(b) prohibits a pilot from operating in simulated instrument flight without a safety pilot. Thus, during the simulated instrument portions of the flight Pilot B was a required crewmember. As a result, the Interpretation stated that Pilot B could log second in command ("SIC") time for the time in which Pilot A acted as PIC and was the sole manipulator of the controls during simulated instrument flight. It also noted that since Pilot A was acting as PIC during the simulated instrument portion of the flight, Pilot B would not be able to log PIC time under FAR 61.51(e). However, if Pilot B agreed to act as PIC for the simulated instrument portion of the flight, the Interpretation concludes "then Pilot B could log that time as PIC time under FAR 61.51 (e)(1)(iii) because he is acting as PIC of an aircraft for which more than one pilot is required under the regulation under which the flight is being conducted." Additionally, as the sole manipulator of the controls of the aircraft for which Pilot A is rated, Pilot A would also be permitted to log the time as PIC time under FAR 61.51(e)(1)(i).

With respect to the question of whether Pilot B would be obligated to share expenses for the flight, the Interpretation initially observed that FAR 61.113(c) prohibits a private pilot acting as pilot in command from paying less than his or her pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight with passengers. In the scenario presented, Pilots A and B were both required crewmembers during the portion of the flight that is conducted in simulated instrument conditions. As a result, the Interpretation concludes that if Pilot B acts as PIC only during the simulated instrument portions of the flight, Pilot B would not be required to pay a pro-rata share of the operating expense of the flight under FAR 61.113(c) since Pilot B would not be acting as PIC on a flight carrying passengers.

This Interpretation highlights the FAA's distinction between "acting" as PIC for a flight versus logging time as PIC by virtue of being the sole manipulator of the controls of the aircraft. As you can see, this distinction has a direct bearing on how a safety pilot, or any other pilot for that matter, logs flight time. Understanding this distinction will help ensure that you are logging your flight time correctly whether you are acting as, or flying with, a safety pilot.

Keep Those Older Business Jets Flying

EAA AirVenture 2012 has just wrapped up. If you were fortunate to have gone this year (sorry to say I was not), and I asked if you saw any antique airplanes, you might mention seeing a Waco, a DC3 or Ford Tri-Motor. But what about a Learjet 35A, Citation II or Hawker 700? Early serial numbers of these venerable business jets are well into their golden years as they all were in production during the late 1970s. These and many other business jets are well past age 30.

In our aircraft cost databases, we assume that all the business aircraft are maintained more or less the same way with new parts replacing old, worn out parts. As many operators of long-out-of-production aircraft are finding out, this is not the most cost effective way to keep these aircraft flying.

First off, availability of new parts for older aircraft is becoming harder to find. Some non-OEM vendors are no longer in business, or they have been acquired and merged into different entities. They do not keep production lines open year round or may only build spares as needed.

Overhauling of serviceable components is also getting harder to accomplish. Sure, you can overhaul a generator multiple times, but what about the holes for the mounting bolts? Over time, you can only use "oversize" bolts so often before the component case is no longer serviceable.

To say that avionics have evolved since the mode 1970s is an understatement! Many of these older aircraft use what we euphemistically call steam gages. And relative to today’s technology, that statement is not too far off. Repairing these older instruments is becoming more costly, as are replacements. Glass cockpit upgrades are available, but at what cost?

Perhaps the toughest choices come with the engines. The first and second-generation business jet engines are all into their second, third or fourth overhaul cycle. Guaranteed engine maintenance program rates reflect this with rates much higher than current generation engines. The cost to overhaul a pair of these engines can run to more than the cost of the aircraft itself. Even with fresh engines, a 35-year old business jet will not double in selling price.

Look at the very popular Citation II. According to the Aircraft Bluebook Price Digest (Summer 2012), the selling price of a 1978 Citation II is $650,000. The basic overhaul price is about $350,000 per engine. Add in some cycle-limited items like rotor disks and impellers and the price jumps to over $500,000 – each!

Overhaul a pair of run-out engines on your 35-year old business jet and you will be lucky to get 50% back if you sell it. There are just too many of theses aircraft available for sale and at very low prices.

I have talked with more than one operator of aircraft like these who will not, and cannot, pay for an engine overhaul. Instead they look for a similar model year aircraft with engines in good condition with maybe 1,500 hours remaining until overhaul. They buy the second airplane, swap engines and part the rest out. This recycling method is more cost effective for many of these older business jets.

I doubt values on these “vintage” jets will ever recover. So it looks like we will see a steady dwindling of whole aircraft as we see two aircraft make one flyable aircraft and so on. Keeping these older business jets flying is becoming more of an exercise of scrounging and cannibalizing versus one of replacing/overhauling.

Maintaining older aircraft in this manner requires time, and decreases the aircraft availability. You need to have two or three aircraft to keep one in flyable condition! It can be done, but it is better suited to a flier that can live with low utilization and decreased availability. So enjoy these aircraft now, because it won't be to many more years at Oshkosh before a Learjet 35 is parked next to the Staggerwing!

Commemorative Air Force to Showcase Multiple Aircraft at EAA AirVenture

Midland, Texas (July 18, 2012) - The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is excited to announce that more than 10 of its vintage aircraft will attend at EAA AirVenture 2012 in Oshkosh, Wis. "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," AirVenture will feature CAF performances new to the event as well as ride opportunities in the B-29!

The CAF's TORA TORA TORA is an aerial re-enactment of the bombing of Pearl Harbor complete with ground-shaking explosions and pyrotechnics that bring history to life for new generations. For the first time in CAF history, TORA performances will take place at AirVenture on Fri. and Sat., July 27-28. This is one of the most dazzling warbird performances flying today!

Throughout the week, the CAF's B-29 Superfortress FIFI will be available for Living History Flight Experiences at Outagamie County Regional Airport in Appleton. The Queen of the CAF Fleet, FIFI will be on display in the Phillips 66 Plaza Thurs. July 26 and Fri. July 27. Attendees can also purchase flights in the B-29 online at www.RideB29.com or by visiting the CAF Hangar 57 and Rides Tent located at the southeast corner of Phillips 66 Plaza. Other aircraft on display include*:

  • CAF Dixie Wing P-51 Mustang Red Nose and Douglas SBD Dauntless Lady in Blue
  • CAF Indiana Wing Fairchild PT-26 Cornell and Taylorcraft L-2A Grasshopper
  • CAF Devil Dog Squadron North American PBJ (B-25) Devil Dog
  • CAF Red Tail Squadron P-51 Mustang Tuskegee Airmen and RISE ABOVE Travelling Exhibit
  • CAF Wisconsin Wing T-6 and PT-26
  • CAF Minnesota Wing BT-13
  • CAF P-51 Gunfighter

In 1957, a small group of ex-service pilots pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang, beginning what is now called the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). With the addition of a pair of F8F Bearcats, the CAF became the founders of the Warbird Movement, an effort to preserve and honor our military history with the rallying cry to "Keep 'Em Flying!" Now, 55 years later, the CAF is the premier Warbird organization, operating 156 vintage aircraft in Honor of American Military Aviation. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has more than 9,000 members and its fleet of historic aircraft is distributed to 74 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information on the Commemorative Air Force and its aircraft, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.

*Aircraft participation subject to change due to weather, maintenance or other circumstances.


Flying Eye Hospital Returns to EAA AirVenture and ORBIS to Announce Details of MD-10 2013 Launch!

Aviation enthusiasts are abuzz with the upcoming EAA AirVenture Convention - the world’s largest airshow – taking place July 23-29, 2012 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This year, ORBIS International’s Flying Eye Hospital (FEH), a literal hospital with wings, returns to AirVenture for the third time and on an unprecedented scale.

The FEH will be the largest plane at the airshow and the only offering a behind-the-scenes look at the interior of an aircraft. Visitors can tour the FEH, which is a result of a unique and lasting alliance forged between the medical and aviation industries. The specially designed and converted DC-10 aircraft allows the ORBIS team and Volunteer Faculty to provide hands-on training to local eye care professionals and convey the latest medical knowledge to treat patients and restore sight.

ORBIS will be holding an onsite press conference on Wednesday, July 25th at 1:00pm CT to discuss the organization’s mission to save sight worldwide as well as plans to replace the existing FEH with a new and improved MD-10 aircraft in 2013.

Please save the date and we will be following up with more details very soon.

More details on ORBIS are available at www.ORBIS.org.


Mechal Weiss at [email protected] or (646) 201-3733
Lindsay Evans at [email protected] or (646) 234-0011

Absolute Poppycock about taking the Bus!

First the Railway System, then Buses, now Business Aviation, but if you believe half of what the Obama administration wants you to believe, they will have you thinking that they have gone back to Buses exclusively for all of their political campaign travel.

White House policy has for decades always allowed the use of military aircraft by currently seated politicians for official business, as long as the White House Counsel’s Office rules that the proposed flights qualify based upon scheduling, communications or security issues. The kicker is that it is still okay to use a military aircraft even for non-official business as long as the U.S. Government is reimbursed. The rate is calculated by using the going rate for a commercial coach ticket on the airlines, plus one dollar.

The reimbursement rules did change in 2010. For non-military aircraft used by U.S. political figures for campaigning travel, must now pay the pro rata charter rate for travel on private aircraft (fair market value of the normal and usual charter fare or rental charge for a Comparable-aircraft-of-comparable-size.)

Air-Force One and Marine-One are both military aircraft and come under the same guidelines followed by the White House Counsel’s Office. The full direct operating cost of Air-Force which is reported by the Pentagon as being $181,757 per hour is never recaptured regardless of what the purpose and reason of travel is.

Air-Force One currently flies on average, every-other day which is less than when George W. Bush was president because former Air-Force One captain, Colonel Mark Tillman Air Force retired, reported that he flew more than 200 flights a-year for the former President.

The assertion that the 44th President of the United States is now taking the Bus instead of Air-Force One is pure poppycock, and even though I lean towards the signature by-line that a friend of mine uses on all of her email messages: “This Fall -- Fire 'Em All. ReElect -- No One!!” I am however very encouraged by the fact that Presidential Candidate, Mitt Romney is a Marquis Jet Card user who flies on NetJets regularly as well as being a regular charter customer for a Cessna Citation CJ4 and other aircraft in-and-out of Beverley, Massachusetts. I have a feeling that if elected, Mr. Romney will continue to be a user of our Business Aviation Industry, rather than an Abuser like the current fellow.

The politically correct statement made by most politicians that they ‘take the Bus instead of a Business Jet’, is truly a bogus. Anyone that believes this, or worse yet wants this, are in my mind an enemy against this great country. As I have stated previously at this, my Blog at Globalair.com: “The United States Invented the Airplane. Aviation was born in the U.S.A. in 1903. Aviation is a very American Industry. The United States has led the World as the foremost producer of Business, General Aviation, Airliner and Military Aircraft. The largest fleet of Business and General Aviation aircraft also exists in the United States. This country also still has the largest economy on this planet. Contrary to what many Socialist and Ignorant thinkers and orators might try and make the general public believe; it is fact number one that the liquid that flows through the economic veins of this country is Jet A1.

It is about time that all American Citizen’s learn about these facts so they can begin to take on as their own, the pride that this industry has always known but has never been recognized for, that: “The roots of the Global Aviation Industry is 100% All-American; and Aviation is absolutely Vital to the Economic Prosperity of all American Citizens.”

So why would any intelligent person choose to take the Bus instead of a Business Jet? Regardless of how you feel about wealth, personally I like rich people because 100% of my income is derived from them, thus it is natural for me to defend them, and I promise you that I will-always be a defender.

As a parting side-note to all aircraft owners, it might be important for you to know that under cfr 14, FAR 91, subpart 321, which is titled: “Carriage of candidates in elections.”


(a) As an aircraft operator, you may receive payment for carrying a candidate, agent of a candidate, or person traveling on behalf of a candidate, running for Federal, State, or local election, without having to comply with the rules in parts 121, 125 or 135 of this chapter, under the following conditions:

(1) Your primary business is not as an air carrier or commercial operator;

(2) You carry the candidate, agent, or person traveling on behalf of a candidate, under the rules of part 91; and

(3) By Federal, state or local law, you are required to receive payment for carrying the candidate, agent, or person travelling on behalf of a candidate. For federal elections, the payment may not exceed the amount required by the Federal Election Commission. For a state or local election, the payment may not exceed the amount required under the applicable state or local law.

(b) For the purposes of this section, for Federal elections, the terms candidate and election have the same meaning as set forth in the regulations of the Federal Election Commission. For State or local elections, the terms candidate and election have the same meaning as provided by the applicable State or local law and those terms relate to candidates for election to public office in State and local government elections.

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