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26 October 2009


Thanks John

Firstly, I think that your question needs a little clarification.

I think that you are referring to the situation where a non-commercial pilot hires an aircraft (from a club, for example) and wishes to share the cost with passengers.

As we all know, UK rules do not allow a mere PPL holder to fly for 'hire and reward'.

There is, of course, a secondary issue of whether the aircraft itself may be flown for hire and reward.

When I was a member of a UK-based syndicate, the aircraft could not be flown for hire and reward as it was registered in the 'private' category rather than 'public transport' which would have been more expensive in both insurance and maintenance costs.

There was, however, a concession which allowed us to pay a Qualified Flying Instructor for check flights or training, provided that the most recent maintenance was to 'public transport' standards (i.e. done by a licenced engineer).

Rules in this area are notoriously difficult to pin down and we worked on the assumption that it was not possible to share costs with passengers unless they happened to be part-owners of the aircraft.

I too, would be interested to know the position in France.

Sadly, we don't seem to have made much progress on the cost-sharing position in France as there seems to be widespread culture of 'ignorance is bliss' with regard to the finer points of French legislation.

However, having consulted 'guru' Mike Grierson on the matter, I am now much clearer on the UK position.

As I understand it:

In the UK, cost sharing allows payment to be made by passengers towards the cost of the aircraft without it being regarded as public transport.

The arrangment is limited to 4 people, including the pilot who must pay the appropriate share.

Therefore, the pilot's contribution depends on the number of passengers, as follows:

1 passenger, pilot pays 50%
2 passengers, pilot pays 33.3%
3 passengers, pilot pays 25%
More than 3 pasengers, pilot pays 100%

It seems that we were being over-cautious with our UK syndicate arrangements though the passengers could usually be relied upon to 'spring' for lunch at Le Touquet or wherever.

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