AirPooler wants FAA clarification on ride-sharing interpretation

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Steve Lewis, co-founder and CEO of AirPooler, says the FAA’s announced interpretation of flight-sharing-costs is causing confusion among pilots and urges the agency to clarify what it means.

The FAA’s position, he said, is based on a 1963 ruling that was reversed the following year. Lewis said the FAA is now calling cost sharing “compensation”and should cite examples on which its ruling is based.

“Our primary goal,” he said, “is to get the FAA to clarify it position and state exactly what it means.”

AirPooler is an online site that provides a way for pilots and non-pilots to easily find one another to share expenses on flights the pilots would be doing anyway.

The letter to AirPooler from FAA did not tell the company to stop its work or to close, according to Lewis.

He noted that his company is getting “hundreds of calls and letters” from members asking for a clarification of the FAA’s position.

The entire general aviation industry has a huge stake in the cost sharing issue and the FAA’s confusion is stifling it, Lewis said.

He said both he and the co-founder of AirPooler have extensive experience in travel issues, having run several companies.

Comments

  1. I own 2 Ercoupe’s (in long term restoration) and I’m a 1/3rd owner of a Cherokee 180. I’m a Private Pilot and I often take people flying. The idea that a Private Pilot/Owner is exceeding his rating by letting someone else pay for the gas is naïve. Depending on the cost of fuel, it costs me about $70.00 per hour for fuel and engine reserve in the Cherokee and it will be about half that in one of the Ercoupe’s. If you really sat down and did the math on what it really cost me to fly that plane it would be many multiple’s of that and that’s not counting what I paid for the plane initially. I don’t as a rule ask for anything as I need to fly to stay current anyway but if someone slips me a 20 towards gas, I take it. It doesn’t happen very often.
    Two things come to mind when I think about this issue: A Private Pilot with enough flight hours is always one flight test away from being a Commercial Pilot and the old adage, If you want to make a small fortune in the aviation business you have to spend a large fortune.

  2. I think where this is going is an amendment to 61.113 that specifies that pilots may not hold out and must have a common purpose–things that are in letters of interpretation but not in the CFRs for pilots to see/learn and read.

    And maybe Airpooler/flight-share companies get their exception too, and maybe they don’t. The one thing that this discussion has shown us is that pilots don’t know what is in all these letters of interpretation and NTSB rulings if it is not also in the CFRs.

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