I'm really struggling with this definition of `advertising` for private flights in the ANO.
I am a enthusiastic pilot who also happens to be a web designer. I want to build a website that lists the most exciting flights I've been on with friends and then explains the trips in a nice way with pictures (I like building websites). It then lists how much it would cost if 3 of us were splitting the costs, or 4 of us etc, etc. I want to do this because generally I find that if I say to people `do you want to go flying?`, the give me blank expressions. If I say, `do you want to go to France because it's like this and we'll visit the shops and eat at this restaurant`, then they go yes please!!
So, I want to build a nice website that explains what is possible but where all we are doing is splitting the costs equally, as per the ANO.
Now, to make sure it's not a `public website`, which clearly would be in breach of the ANO, it would be behind a login system. I would only give a login password to my friends. If any member of the 'public' stumbled across it, they would simply get rejected by the system.
While in principle I can't see what's wrong with this, we are talking about the law here. In the ANO it says that you are only allowed to promote flights within a flying club. I have searched the web but I can't seem to find any clear definition of `flying club`? If my website is password protected and therefore only accessible by my friends, is that a `flying club`? or do I have to charge them £1 each to be a `member`?
The final point is that the ANO says it can only be promoted within the flying club's "premises". Well obviously this is 2012 and since the invention of websites does that mean that the website is the `premises`? After all, only my `members`/ my friends would be able to see the `promotion`.
Any thoughts on this because it just seems crazy that the only way you are allowed to entice friends with the excitement of flights is by doing a masonic style handshake and a nod-nod-wink-wink? I want to enjoy flying
that the only way you are allowed to entice friends with the excitement of flights
So your purpose is clear, you wish to entice friends for excitement! That is precisely what the ANO is trying to prevent. If you advertise a flight within a Flying Club, then there is a fair probability that people who frequent the premises of a flying club will be aware that the level of risk associated with private flying is higher than you might expect on a public transport flight. They can therefore make a reasoned judgement as to whether they travel with you as a passenger or not.
A club may have a website, but your website clearly is not a flying club site.
I agree with your drift, Whopity, but is there any case law on this?
IMHO, IANAL, etc, but I don't think the CAA is going to fall over itself to rush to Court to test this one, because there is a fair chance that a www-based club is a club like any other.
The world is changing all the time. I hate Fa**b00k and Tw1tter with a vengeance (kids would be so much better off making real friends, and wasting less time and their parents' money on their phones) but grab 1000 teenagers and ask them if their Fa**b00k community is real or fake...
The "seat sharing" websites are obviously advertising cost sharing, primarily. Many (most?) rental-level PPLs will not do any flight unless they can cost-share, and the schools offer a very limited opportunity for digging out passengers. The cost share is agreed off the site, by email.
There has never AFAIK been an attack by the CAA on seat sharing websites.
That said, the OP should be careful because under the UK Civil Aviation Act there is no passenger liability unless the pilot is found negligent, so any injured passengers have a huge financial incentive to lie about the preceeding financial arrangements; if they can show that the pilot did something illegal they will get a payout, and if they are not pilots themselves they have nothing (no license) to lose by perjury because they can always claim they are not aviation people and do not understand the ANO... So if I was cost sharing I would probably do it in a manner which leaves a record on the ground of the agreed arrangements.
A lot of people cost share by doing it only after landing, but that doesn't solve the problem.
I am N-reg so cannot cost-share anyway, so I don't.
A flying "blog" itself is a non-issue; I have trip writeups here. No invitation to cost share is implied.
Interesting point but if you have a disclaimer that they have to click to enter the website that says that they agree that this is a private flight operating under private rules with me your friend and therefore is not regulated under public transport...blah....blah is that ok? Would this be the same as accepting the T&C of any website?
I'm just trying to play with ideas here because there's got to be some way of doing it. If we were down the pub we would say, `come with me, it's great`, so why can't you put it on a non-public website that only your friends have access to?
I resisted any involvement with f****k for years, but eventually became a devout convert.
Flying isn't my only hobby, and I make no secret of a strong interest in martial arts. As it happens I just spent half of this weekend having a great time at an Aikido seminar which was largely organised through f*****k with discussions about who was going, where we would train, who was teaching - etc. I can't honestly see much difference between a private f*****k page or website for a small martial arts community and a small flying community. And once it exists, the people know and do stuff together, to hell with it, call it a club.
but if you have a disclaimer that they have to click to enter the website
Would this be the same as accepting the T&C of any website?
Lets be honest, nobody reads that bullshit or takes any notice of it, you simply click to bypass it.
The CAA is not pro-active in these matters however; it does advise the government on safety issues and rules associated with them. Come the day you have an accident, you will find that your friends are not quite as friendly as you thought when they try and sue you or your estate for their injuries or losses. I have been an expert witness in one such case and they can get quite messy. The rules are there to help you and the primary issue is cost sharing; why else would you want to entice friends to go flying other than to reduce the cost to you? Just remember in doing so you expose yourself to an element of risk and some clever lawyer who makes his money out of your missfortune will use everything in the book to prove its your fault.
risk associated with private flying is higher than you might expect on a public transport flight
Being pedantic maybe? But your above statement is not quite correct! The accident rate on private corporate jets is far lower than on AOC operated jets! Yes I am sure the same is not true taking your mates flying around in a single engine aircraft but you need to look at like for like and the equivalent would be a commercial pilot taking your mates around in a single engine piston under an AOC ???
Does a private pilot taking his friends up for a free flight mean that those friends know the risks more than the same friends paying for it? Does that make your friends on the free flight less entitled to protection by the law on safety grounds?
Why do they not just come clean and say its just pure and simple protectionism.
What always amuses me is the dial XYZ to win a holiday of a life time just answer the following question! Is the capitol of the UK 1 Bristol? 2 Brighton? 3 London? What some people do to make something illegal legal? But if the legal boxes are ticked they are ticked!!!
Whopity I agree all is fine till its not! Your friends become non friends when they are lying in A&E with a broken Neck. But do not be so sure with a perfectly legit private flight taking your mates for a free flight as you are bound to have done something wrong or if not? You will have as soon as the lawyers get involved.
How interesting. It's friends, but some of them I don't see that often.
I just thought that putting up a description and some pictures would make it much easier to explain where we could go, as they could pick what they were interested in. When people ask me, I tend to end up with excited verbal diarrhea as I explain hundreds of possibilities and bore them. Although perhaps I should keep my mouth shut in future, unless I'm found to be promoting aviation outside an official flying club `premises`
But, I see the point about what happens if something happens.
What an unbelievably sad state of affairs though, that we can't risk sharing our hobby with others. It really doesn't bode well for the future of GA. Cue sombre music.
Does a private pilot taking his friends up for a free flight mean that those friends know the risks more than the same friends paying for it?
Not at all, but those who frequent flying clubs are probably going to have more idea than those who select a flight on a website. If they pay for it, its public transport and then you pay for a higher level of risk management (Protectionism). Not to be confused with cost sharing but will the average friend understand the difference.
Genghis has it right.
Oh..what I meant was with the risk of being sued by friends.
If you are dead and they are dead, their relatives may see your estate as a big red apple.
I tend to end up with excited verbal diarrhea as I explain hundreds of possibilities and bore them
I think I would keep it simple. In the days before I would try and get an idea about where the weather is likely to be, and give options for a few places or airfields suitable, within your financial boundary. Dont give too many possibilities. In my experience it doesnt matter if it is SouthEnd, Skegness or just a meander around the local area and a few circuits. They will be happy.
If you have the chance to get a bit of the money ££ back, great, but I think if you want to start offering routes, websites, disclaimers and get decent compensation for it, then I would head down the CPL route.
There is a blackline where something becomes illegal running up to that black line are shades of grey. The blackline itself can be grey but I am sure you do not want to be the test case run through the courts. Hence the more away from that blackline you are and the lighter the shades of grey the more your likely to be safe. But do not for one minute consider that even in a perfectly legit private flight with your pals not paying a penny that you are totally safe because you are not if something goes seriously wrong! Some operate a limited company to protect themselves and their assets but even those are not 100% secure. You are a target whether the flight is legit or not! The only safe way is if you own nothing or so little that its not worth the cost in chasing you as the potential spoils at the end wont meet the lawyers costs! Even in a private flight with no cost sharing I would still suggest a document warning of the dangers of private non commercial flight and that your PAX have been made fully aware and appreciate those dangers and that they accept full responsibility for any damage to themselves and regardless of how the accident occurs that they do not hold you responsible in any way or manner. Get it drawn up and signed on any flight!
As I see it, the issue here is whether one can advertise cost-shared flights on a website, when the ANO says they may be advertised only within a flying club.
I don't think anybody is suggesting that the cost sharing percentages would be exceeded - that would be straight illegal public transport. Yes of course it goes on, all the time, but is a separate issue.
As regards genuine friends, not many of them will be genuine friends if they have lost their legs and stand to pick up a £1M passenger liability payout by claiming that they had agreed to contribute something exceeding the cost sharing maxima Or, of course, if they are dead and then their estates will be going after you and will be completely happy to strip you bare (vis. Graham Hill, etc), leaving you with just the legal minima for a personal bankrupcy (underpants, cutlery, not a lot else).
Even when there are no injuries at all, a spiteful associate can drop you in it. There is a well known helicopter pilot/instructor who got done for illegal flying, only because he had a dispute with a customer, the customer shopped him to the CAA, and the accused chap was an upright individual and admitted it (personally I think he should have just said the payment was for "ground school").
Getting back to the "website = flying club" I don't think this will ever be settled until (or if) somebody gets done, and I bet you anything the CAA will not want to test this, because if they do, and lose (which I reckon they would) then it would open the floodgates to all kinds of illegal charter, booked via the internet where nobody will be able to keep tabs on it. As things stand, you have the FUD of the "flying club" and nobody wants to see if they can push it.
It's like whether a GPS can be used in place of a DME. The ANO uses the words "distance measuring equipment". Now, we all know that a GPS cannot give you the distance to a point I bet you the CAA will never want to test this one, because if they lose (which I reckon they would, unless your lawyer is really useless) they will end up with a US-style universal GPS-DME substitution precedent. OK, we all know that de facto that is already the case in RNAV airspace but.....
The ANO is very badly drafted, as is much UK legislation. My interpretation of what it means (as a law professor) is that no information or advertising about this particular flight can be published (with the flying club exception).
The obvious way to proceed is to give details of past flights, explaining how much they cost. This can't be seen as advertising of a future flight. If your friends and acquaintances then want to arrange a future flight with you, this gives them some idea of costs but won't infringe.
What won't work is: "I'm flying to X next Saturday, anyone want to share the trip and costs". This is unlawful, outside the club environment, even if you don't calculate the costs up front.
The purpose of the law is to prevent you running something that is like a passenger service, with the schedule set out in advance. Read the ANO with this in mind.
Sophistry about websites being premises, or a closed group of (passenger) friends being a flying club, is not worth bothering with. I looked into this type of approach when advising on an internet lottery in 1995, and took the view that no court was likely to be impressed!
As always, this is a general analysis and not advice about your website (which I haven't seen). Plus, my opinion is worth precisely what you paid for it.
What concerned me about this thread is the underlying motivation. swflyer really wants his friends to contribute towards his "excitement" by paying part of his costs. What makes him think that passengers will be excited by flying with him? Most will be slightly nervous and apprehensive, after all, they don't know how good he is, how long has he been flying? The number of no shows for trial flights is an indication of how some people regard flying in a light aeroplane which in the main is more terrifying than exciting.
He would be better off going on trips with club members where they can share their experiences, knowledge and costs. At least they are all aviation enthusiasts to start with. Taking up a reluctant passenger is no fun for the pilot either.
If you say: want to come to France next weekend, it will cost you a third of the hire charge and landing fees and I expect the flight to be two hours and landing fee to be #20, then "club noticeboard" on the "premises" only.
Otherwise you are getting into passenger carrying, and so against the ANO.
However, come and join our club and then you might be able to come on experiences like this: ie last weekend we went to France, there were three of us in the aircraft and it cost a third of two hours flying and a #20 landing fee... the weekend before we went to Belgium... the month before we went to Holland...
Once actually bone-fide members of a club, whether or not you then circulate "items of interest" that are on the club noticeboard to members via email.... then that is getting darker grey. Don't know which of the 50 shades!
Of course, with the www it is really no different than phoning the club steward or CFI and saying: are there any adverts for trips on the club noticeboard and can you read the details to me!
But as my pal says: cutting edge is bleeding edge!