Old 1st Feb 2019, 17:46
  #930 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: The middle
Posts: 368
Originally Posted by vanHorck View Post
On Facebook just now saw an advert for a Pilatus for dry hire, no mention of an AOC, G-reg. Renter to organise fuel and the pilot, insurance (which one) for the plane owner. Interesting blog also on the webpage.https://flexifly.co.uk/hire-agreement/ , I had to think about this thread, even though a turbine is better than piston. I happen to be a lapsed PPL, but many unsuspecting non-pilots may not know the additional differences between a charter and dry hire. Is it safe enough?
There are two questions to answer when you ask is it safe enough? Personally I believe you would be safer in a 30 year old PA31 (or C421 if you wanted to fly higher above some of the weather), provided the aircraft was properly maintained, the pilots properly qualified, experienced, and current (including single engine currency), and the aircraft wasn’t overloaded so that it could climb in the event of an engine failure on take-off. The proponents of single engine turbines may disagree, but I’m offering an opinion.

The second question is is it safe not having an AOC? Again this is personal opinion, but many years ago by coincidence I was employed to fly the C421 which has been mentioned in this thread, before it was owned by Cool Flourish, and flew it for about 300 hours. We didn’t have an AOC, but I had a CPL/IR, about 5000 hrs total experience, and a type rating on the aircraft (in the days before MEP class ratings for commercial pilots). Every flight with company passengers was flown on an IFR flight plan, I was not expected to operate the aircraft for longer than about 10 hours a day, and most importantly everyone who had use of the aircraft knew that instrument approach minimas would be rigidly adhered to, the aircraft would not be overloaded, and that I had the final say if a flight happened or not.

At the same time a certain large AOC operator, which I will not name, would regularity send it’s PA31s off in appalling weather, either scud running or blatantly flying in IMC on VFR flight plans, off airways, to avoid paying en route navigation charges. So to answer VanHorks question, there is no reason that a non AOC operation is inherently less safe than an AOC operation, at the end of the day safety doesn’t necessarily depend on the amount of paperwork generated by the flight ops inspector, but on the attitude of the person or persons at the controls of the aeroplane.

In a properly maintained Malibu, with a properly qualified and current pilot, this flight from Nantes to Cardiff should have been as safe and simple as any IFR flight in a pressurised single piston can be. Take off, climb IFR on airways to flight level 200 above the weather, cruise for an hour and a half and fly a simple ILS approach into Cardiff, probably with most of the flight coupled to the autopilot. The reason that didn’t happen was because it was organised and operated by a bunch of cowboys, the AAIB report will be longer and contain more eventual detail, but that’s the reason for this tragedy.

Last edited by excrab; 1st Feb 2019 at 18:05.
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