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Legality of a PPL holder being paid

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Legality of a PPL holder being paid

Old 6th May 2019, 13:17
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Legality of a PPL holder being paid

Hi all,

Just some context, the company I work for specialises in home-based outgoing patient rehabilitation. Working with occupational therapist, physios and many allied health professionals we bring the therapy to their homes. As there is a demand for rural areas without these treatments I have been put forward an idea of being the pilot to transport necessary therapists on rare occasions to rural areas. To my knowledge and input from my flying club, as a PPL holder, we are not allowed to issue invoices for the service of the trips, full stop. However, cost-sharing is allowed. What are the legalities of being paid a bonus or an increased income (higher than cost sharing ) for the service of this transportation for business use?

Kind Regards
Pecterinium is offline  
Old 6th May 2019, 15:23
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You will probably find that there would be a problem with workers comp...they seem to think it is safer to drive long distances.
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Old 6th May 2019, 20:57
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If the business owns the plane itself, or leases/hires it, you certainly can get paid as a private pilot.

You might run into trouble with their insurance though. They may dictate a CPL as a minimum for transporting company employees.
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Old 6th May 2019, 23:27
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Originally Posted by Pecterinium View Post
Hi all,

Just some context, the company I work for specialises in home-based outgoing patient rehabilitation. Working with occupational therapist, physios and many allied health professionals we bring the therapy to their homes. As there is a demand for rural areas without these treatments I have been put forward an idea of being the pilot to transport necessary therapists on rare occasions to rural areas. To my knowledge and input from my flying club, as a PPL holder, we are not allowed to issue invoices for the service of the trips, full stop. However, cost-sharing is allowed. What are the legalities of being paid a bonus or an increased income (higher than cost sharing ) for the service of this transportation for business use?

Kind Regards
Pecterinium,
I very strongly recommend you and the company consult the company's legal advisers, and suggest to them they talk to a fellow practitioner with aviation experience.
It is all in the context and the DETAIL that you will find the answer ---- to get it wrong can be much more than just an embarrassment to you and your employer --- and this is not a trivial issue.
Yes, it can be done under the proper framework, but get it wrong and the penalties for you and the company can be very big $$$$. Particularly in Queensland, it is quite easy to wind up a guest of the Government for an extended period.
Tootle pip!!
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Old 6th May 2019, 23:44
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I agree insurance will be the issue if you are transporting other people for work. Workcover policies usually stipulates air travel must be by RPT or at the very least by a charter operator with all the required insurances and AOC etc,and often by IFR twin aircraft.
That said though you may be able to source separate insurance to cover everyone. Many LAME's in the bush fly in to repair stranded aircraft so it must be able to be done. As for invoicing your employer for the flight better to just claim a travel cost refund. That way he can still claim it against his tax as it is a legit deduction on running his business but don't mention the mode of travel. The tax office don't need to know or care if you drove, walked or flew as long as it can be proven you attended the site for work purposes and the cost is reasonable.
Plenty of tradies have gone before you on that score.
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Old 7th May 2019, 03:35
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You have no common purpose with the therapist. You wouldn't be visiting that person without them. If you were a therapist yourself you could fly yourself there and claim back the cost as the flight is incidental to your employment. But if you are being paid to fly them this is no longer a private operation. Here is the definition:
Civil Aviation Regulations 1988, Part 1, Regulation 2
(7A) An aircraft that carries persons on a flight, otherwise than in
accordance with a fixed schedule between terminals, is employed in a
private operation ifa) public notice of the flight has not been given by any form of
public advertisement or announcement; and
(b) the number of persons on the flight, including the operating crew,
does not exceed 6; and
(c) no payment is made for the services of the operating crew; and
(d) the persons on the flight, including the operating crew, share
equally in the costs of the flight; and
(e) no payment is required for a person on the flight other than a
payment under paragraph (d).
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Old 7th May 2019, 07:23
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I have always understood that a PPL cannot fly for hire and reward and the legal definitions of hire and reward are such that anything except pleasure flying with non fare paying passengers, or flying for one's own benefit only, (to and from work) are excluded. A lot of Personal Accident insurance policies will exclude flying other than on commercial charter and scheduled services and you will be inviting a shed load of additional premium if you want to position employees to work as passengers on an aircraft flown by a PPL.
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Old 7th May 2019, 07:55
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Many companies, for example pastoral companies fly their staff and goods around the country. These are private operations and as such can be flown by a private pilot who is employed by the company, albeit usually in another capacity. You cannot fly contractors or goods not owned by the company. As others have said that does not mean insurance companies will accept that. If your passengers are not employees of your company you won’t be able to carry out the flight.
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Old 7th May 2019, 13:32
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Originally Posted by custardpsc View Post
You have no common purpose with the therapist. You wouldn't be visiting that person without them. If you were a therapist yourself you could fly yourself there and claim back the cost as the flight is incidental to your employment.
Apologies but I admit I wasn't clear in my original post, I am a physiotherapist my self in the eastern states. Having multiple therapists on site we can be cost-effective and can cover more jobs than if I was flying my self in a 172.

Originally Posted by DrongoDriver View Post
If the business owns the plane itself, or leases/hires it, you certainly can get paid as a private pilot.

You might run into trouble with their insurance though. They may dictate a CPL as a minimum for transporting company employees.
Could you please elaborate on your first statement regarding the payment as a PPL if the business owns the plane.

Thanks all for the advice as it's a very interesting topic. As I said I was brought up the idea from a senior therapist but at this stage, it's just an idea floating around in the company. I would still love to hear all the advice that you can give.

Pecterinium
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Old 7th May 2019, 22:42
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CAR 206:

ďan aircraft that is flying or operating for the purpose of, or in the course of:
(i) the personal transportation of the owner of the aircraft;
....
shall be taken to be employed in private operations.Ē

Part 61.H says a PPL enables you to be PIC of an aircraft engaged in private operations. Canít find anything about payment. Works the same with corporate jets, I guarantee the job title for those blokes is ďcorporate pilotĒ and they certainly get paid despite it being all private ops.

If the business buys the aircraft themselves then they are the owner of the aircraft (there are cases where a lesee also fulfils this requirement). Then you can also take advantage of a whole heap of tax benefits as well. Current depreciation is 20% from Year of Purchase so handing over 150k for a 182RG/Baron/etc. can be handy tool for your accountant. Furthermore, all your training to become competent in the new aircraft (adding new type endorsements, flight reviews etc.) is tax deductible as well.
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Old 7th May 2019, 23:31
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Particularly in Queensland, it is quite easy to wind up a guest of the Government for an extended period.
Why???
Works the same with corporate jets, I guarantee the job title for those blokes is “corporate pilot” and they certainly get paid despite it being all private ops.
How many corporate jets are flown by a person who only holds a PPL?

The crux of the matter is "can a person holding a PPL fly the company aircraft on private operations carrying company personnel and get paid as a pilot?"
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Old 7th May 2019, 23:50
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Originally Posted by 601 View Post
Why???

How many corporate jets are flown by a person who only holds a PPL?

The crux of the matter is "can a person holding a PPL fly the company aircraft on private operations carrying company personnel and get paid as a pilot?"
From my understanding, corporate jets are flown by CPL/ATPLs due to insurance and experience requirements. Doesnít change the fact that theyíre private ops and the pilots get paid as pilots. Moreover, if the bosses son/daughter/mistress got a PPL and wanted to fly his plane, is there a legal argument to stop the company paying them as crew?

Furthermore, I know of a few Aussie pilots that fly N-reg corporate jets and all they have is a FAA PPL validation from their Aus licence and an instrument rating. Different regulatory structure I know, but I would hope the principle is the same. Wishful thinking!
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Old 8th May 2019, 00:31
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As a PPL you can not be rewarded (paid) to fly.

Very simple and clear cut - the mistress or not of the boss - No pay for flying!

In your employment you can use your bosses tools (a aircraft) to carry out jobs (treat patients) and that includes if he/she owns it or not (many cases if you look it up, a bank is the listed owner). Nothing stops you from taking other people on that flight either as long as they are not paying for the flight - that would be a charter and neither you or your boss can do that (you being a PPL and boss would need an AOC).

I have used a friends Baron and a friend with a PPL to fly myself and an insurance assessor to an accident for evaluation. The assessor was fully aware about the PPL pilot & I informed the assessor that I would be invoicing him for the fuel (as I did/do not pay for the aircraft 4 hr use).

We fuelled for the required return flight, and after we got back the assessor said fill it up, so the aircraft owner got some extra fuel in the end.

We had a large pool of different aircraft owned by a number of people that had businesses, all aircraft were used on a fuel only basis among the group with a number being PPL pilots shifting staff. If both businesses had jobs in the same towns it was common to carry each others staff in a larger aircraft and split the fuel.

The way the OP first posted - that could be in Queensland, a breach of the new Labour Hire Laws depending on how it was structured = very very expensive $391,650 company penalty.
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Old 8th May 2019, 00:35
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601,
Why Queensland?

Because an aircraft is included in the definition of a vehicle in the Queensland Criminal Code (or whatever its proper name in the Deep North) and the state police get involved in matters related to aircraft, including when CASA have decided that a matter should not be taken further.

One such matter, of which I am aware, resulted in a jail term for the PIC. There was no accident or injury involved, just events related to the alleged low level operation of the aircraft. Queensland also has its own civil aviation legislation, although it is probably not relevant to this case.

Pecterinium,
pprune is NOT the place for rock solid legal advice, as several posts on this thread, already, repeat well know gross misunderstandings of aviation law. As soon as you see such phrases as " I understand" or "I am given to understand" I can almost predict what comes next.

And, of course, it is not just "the regulations", it is a little matter of case law and precedent.

Tootle pip!!

PS: Drongo Driver ---- In the US it is very clear (and the regulations are very different to Australia) a pilot with less than a CPL cannot receive compensation in any shape or form as a pilot. A PPL taking his (or her) P-51D to an airshow cannot even accept a can of Coke and a hamburger.
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Old 8th May 2019, 01:28
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More on point: As a private operation, you're either required to have all passengers share in equally the costs or not at all (ie. flight entirely at PIC's expense). Now here's the scenario: you're taking up a mate and his two young kids (6 and 4.5 years old) for a city orbit. It feels alright to me to say that he and I share the costs 50% - 50%. While the CAR however do not provision for the age or the weight of the passengers, it would feel highly awkward for me to have to tell him that we are required to split 25% - 75%. It feels equally strange that the only other "legal" path would be for me to pay for it all by myself.

You can make an argument that the father and I both weigh around 80 kg while his two daughters are maybe 20 kg and 30 kg all up. Therefore "equally sharing costs" could be interpreted as the three of them accounting for 60% of the payload, hence a 40% - 60% ratio.

Does anyone have any experience on legal and fair costs splitting applied to private operations?
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Old 8th May 2019, 01:32
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Been thinking about this subject as I used to do similar in the past by hiring an aircraft and flying myself to jobs only in my case was self employed and had no passengers. Workcover no longer covers workers to travel to and from work ( got removed years ago) only while at work or travelling between jobs. Tens of thousands of tradies,cleaners,care workers etc use their own transport between jobs every day and are reimbursed by either a daily allowance or by the km, if you used an aircraft it would be by the hour.
So your employer says to you...Pecterinium I need you to go visit Mr X and treat him at whoop whoop and be there at 10am. Don't care how you travel there, will leave it up to you. You hire a C172 from the local Aero Club and do the trip. You have traveled there before start time so Workcover doesn't come into it. You finish work at Whoop whoop and travel home. You have not been paid as a pilot that's in your time. You pay for the flight and get reimbursed from your employer.
As for the passengers...They get told the same thing and if they wish can hitch a lift with you. Entirely up to them ( some nervous nellies may choose to drive) again entirely up to them. No payment is made by them it is a private flight. Same as a CSF flight.
As for bonuses etc that is up to your employer and has nothing to do with flying. Thousands of workers are paid extra as team leaders, leading hands etc and have been since the Industrial revolution. Same as if he wants to pay everyone a full days salary for 4 hour work. Nothing new there, plenty of tradies been told to go home early due variety of reasons and still get paid the full day.
Insurance cover is the main concern. I have an aircraft now and the Insurance policy does not cover the pilot (me) only the passengers. The liability is nothing like an RPT liability either. AOPA years ago used to have an agreement with certain Insurance Companies for Pilot cover. Don't know if still available but your employer may want to buy separate insurance to cover such flights in case of an accident. Same as car travel in that respect.
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Old 8th May 2019, 01:43
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There appears to be confusion between a Private Operation and the privileges of a Private Pilot. A Private Operation simply means there is no requirement to hold an Air Operators Certificate. (AOC). It does not mean can therefore be flown by Private Pilots. A Company or Organisation conducting Private Operations are still flown by Commercial Pilots with a current class one medical certificate and appropriate endorsements and ratings. No insurance company, that I am aware will cover such an operation operated by a Private Pilot.
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Old 8th May 2019, 01:43
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Firstly, I agree you shouldnít make any commitments before speaking to an aviation lawyer. And definitely donít take anything on PPRuNe as rock solid advice.

That being said, I have a bit of experience with a similar situation of yours in Aus and the company spoke to an FOI who cleared it as a private operation. Now the pilots they currently use are contractors (I.e. not full-time) but they are paid as pilots. All deemed kosher by the authorities.

Iím still waiting for a regulation that says a PPL cannot be paid for flying. Jump pilots get paid. Pastoral pilots get paid. Why wouldnít an aircraft flown in the same category of operation be able to pay its pilots as pilots?

Originally Posted by LeadSled View Post
PS: Drongo Driver ---- In the US it is very clear (and the regulations are very different to Australia) a pilot with less than a CPL cannot receive compensation in any shape or form as a pilot. A PPL taking his (or her) P-51D to an airshow cannot even accept a can of Coke and a hamburger.
Well LeadSled thatís 50% true. In the US they seperate the source of the aircraft and the source of the crew. If both come from the same origin then yes, they canít be paid. If they come from two different origins then crew certainly can get paid.

If the company owned an aircraft then came to you separately and asked you to fly it. You would get paid for it. Itís one of the reasons their corporate aviation puts us to absolute shame.

Source: Part 61.113 - Private Pilot Privileges and Limitations
ďA private pilot may, for compensation or hire, act as pilot in command of an aircraft in connection with any business or employment if:

(1) The flight is only incidental to that business or employment; and

(2) The aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire.Ē

In Australia though, itís murky waters. Itís possible, but run it past an aviation lawyer first. Regardless, I think youíll find insurance requirements to be the major hurdle.
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Old 8th May 2019, 05:31
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DrongoDRiver,
Re. FAR 61.113, must be read in conjunction with the determinations of the FAA Principal Counsel. It is not light bedtime reading.

Re. "Cleared by an FOI" ---- this has no standing in court, as an organisation in Queensland found out. A small museum was taking members for a ride is a DH 82A, "for free" when they renewed their annual membership, all "cleared" by an FOI.
Unfortunately, another FOI disagreed, and despite all attempts to negotiate a settlement, the org. wound up in court, at great expense, and lost, the court decided that it contravened CAR 206.

As to the original post, get competent legal advice, which you will NOT get from other than an aviation specialist, who knows the often arcane case law.

Tootle pip!!
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Old 8th May 2019, 05:38
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Originally Posted by mostlytossas View Post
Many LAME's in the bush fly in to repair stranded aircraft so it must be able to be done. .
Mostly,
Are you really certain that "becasue it's done, it must be legal" (my paraphrase of the above) is legally watertight??
Tootle pip!!

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