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Should EASA introduce "common purpose"?

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Should EASA introduce "common purpose"?

Old 26th Feb 2019, 21:22
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Should EASA introduce "common purpose"?

On the thread of the Cardiff football player accident, there is a lot of talk of "grey commercial" flights, where posters suspect "cost sharing claims" are abused for flights against reward.
The FAA allows the same but insists (and where necessary checks) that the pilot and cost sharing passengers have a genuine common purpose, ie they are friends or family on a joint trip.

I think this is a good principle as it will in my opinion prevent PPLs from getting into situations where there are additional pressures to execute a flight in situations of time pressure, weather ambiguity etc.

Therefore I am in favour of EASA introducing and enforcing the requirement of "genuine common purpose" as a requirement in case of cost sharing. I do not think limited financial capacity in enforcing this should be a reason not to do it. It would also align FAA and EASA regulations.

What do you think?
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 03:28
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Originally Posted by vanHorck View Post

It would also align FAA and EASA regulations.

What do you think?
If you seek alignment of regulations regarding "common purpose" perhaps you could cite any FAA part 91 or part 61 regulation that requires common purpose for cost sharing. To the best of my knowledge there is no such regulation. Maybe what you want is for EASA to form an opinion that is aligned with a little known FAA opinion. That falls a long way short of alignment of regulations.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 09:55
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Common purpose is a test for the validity of a cost-shared flight advocated by the FAA in a well known legal opinion, but it doesn't form the basis of regulation. The only real alignment of regulation that one might advocate is for EASA to align to the FAA's requirement that the pilot pays an equal portion of direct operating costs.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 10:36
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Does anyone know why EASA removed the equal shares restriction in the first place?

I thought that most? of the various NAAs had this restriction previously, because it's a fairly obvious way of effectively cutting out a lot of grey areas, while also demonstrating the intent behind the actual laws.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 12:32
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Originally Posted by 2Donkeys View Post
Common purpose is a test for the validity of a cost-shared flight advocated by the FAA in a well known legal opinion
It maybe well known to those who have followed that Cardiff player accident thread but I disagree that it is well known. I have held FAA CPL and CFI ratings for nearly 40 years and had never heard of "common purpose" test for cost sharing before reading about it in that accident thread. I have asked other experienced pilots and they had never heard of it either.

Opinions should have no place in defining the rules pilots are expected to know and comply with. If it is a requirement it should be in the regulations.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 13:01
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Just go back to the previous UK CAA requirements!

Pilot pays at least an equal share of the costs.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 13:19
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Originally Posted by EXDAC View Post
It maybe well known to those who have followed that Cardiff player accident thread but I disagree that it is well known. I have held FAA CPL and CFI ratings for nearly 40 years and had never heard of "common purpose" test for cost sharing before reading about it in that accident thread. I have asked other experienced pilots and they had never heard of it either.

Opinions should have no place in defining the rules pilots are expected to know and comply with. If it is a requirement it should be in the regulations.
I think that part of the problem with what you are saying EXDAC is that like the UK, the US legal system is based on common law. This means that the regulations, on which you base your point, are themselves based on a number of common law definitions. For example, you will not find in the FARs a definition of Common and Private Carriage. These are terms that are fundamental to the privileges of US pilot licences, but they are common law terms that are simply inherited in regulation rather than being re-defined. The FAA was forced to publish FAA Advisory Circular 120–12A in 1986 because so many people were confused about the terms.

The Common Purpose Test, as it is known is also derived from common law - which is why you don't find it in the regulations. The fact it is not explicitly in the regulations, does not make it any less part of the law. This point is made well in the ruling FLYTENOW vs FAA should you be interested (available online in a variety of places).
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 13:22
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Originally Posted by asyncio View Post
Does anyone know why EASA removed the equal shares restriction in the first place?.
Je n'ai aucune idée. C’était peut-être un peu gênant pour les aéroclubs d’un grand pays centre-ouest?

Common purpose is not supported by the safety case.* Do I feel more pressure to complete a flight if you have to get to an important meeting than if both of us have to get to an important meeting?* I could easily envisage a change in the rules to equal shares, however.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 13:41
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Couldn't a similar safety case argument about cost share be made? *Do I feel more pressure to complete the flight if it costs me £30 instead of £60?*
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 13:54
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I don't think it is that particular flavour of safety case that is imagined here. The FAA in applying the regulations they do are seeking to avoid private pilots performing flights that might otherwise require commercially licensed pilots. They, I presume, believe that such flights offered to the public by commercially licensed pilots operating under Part 135 (or similar) is safer than flights being offered by PPLs.

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Old 27th Feb 2019, 14:00
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Originally Posted by Mariner9 View Post
Couldn't a similar safety case argument about cost share be made? Do I feel more pressure to complete the flight if it costs me £30 instead of £60
Indeed it's fundamental to the case for cost-sharing that the marginal cost of doing the flight vs cancelling it is positive. If you cancel you save money. By contrast, a commercial operator loses money (the margin he would have made, over and above the direct cost) if he cancels a flight, hence extra regulation is required for commercial beyond what is required for a purely private or cost-sharing flight. (That's not the only reason for regulating CAT more strictly than private flights, but it's one of them).
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 14:18
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Originally Posted by bookworm View Post
Je n'ai aucune idée. C’était peut-être un peu gênant pour les aéroclubs d’un grand pays centre-ouest?
As I work for a large French institution, I can confirm that tendancy to burn the rest of the world down, rather than give ground on a trivial issue that could otherwise be easily worked around*

*
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 14:34
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Originally Posted by 2Donkeys View Post
They, I presume, believe that such flights offered to the public by commercially licensed pilots operating under Part 135 (or similar) is safer than flights being offered by PPLs.
And that's the other aspect. There is an expectation of the level of safety offered by commercial air transport.

While a consenting adult should be permitted to make a choice as to whether they wish to be exposed to a particular level of risk, they need to have a way of knowing what that level of risk is. Otherwise we would just ban aviation for GA pilots and passengers alike unless we could reach the standards of the airlines. As long as the passenger knows what they're getting themselves into, they should be permitted to choose to take the risk, just as the pilot does.

But the expectation that operations under Part 135 (or for that matter an EASA AOC for single pilot ops in a light aircraft) radically transform safety is somewhat illusory. Here are the scores on the doors for 2002-2017 from the NTSB:

Part-121 scheduled: 0.03 fatal accidents per million flight hours
Part-121 non-scheduled: 0.96 fatal accidents per million flight hours
Part-135 commuter: 1.54 fatal accidents per million flight hours
Part-135 on-demand: 3.6 fatal accidents per million flight hours
GA (Part-91): 12.3 fatal accidents per million flight hours

So Part-135 on demand is 100 times less safe than Part-121 scheduled, but a factor of 3-4 safer than GA.

One could argue that the factor of 3-4 is worth having, but do we really believe that passengers boarding a Part-135 on demand flight know they're 100 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than on an airliner?

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Old 27th Feb 2019, 15:36
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Originally Posted by bookworm View Post
And that's the other aspect. There is an expectation of the level of safety offered by commercial air transport.

While a consenting adult should be permitted to make a choice as to whether they wish to be exposed to a particular level of risk, they need to have a way of knowing what that level of risk is. Otherwise we would just ban aviation for GA pilots and passengers alike unless we could reach the standards of the airlines. As long as the passenger knows what they're getting themselves into, they should be permitted to choose to take the risk, just as the pilot does.

But the expectation that operations under Part 135 (or for that matter an EASA AOC for single pilot ops in a light aircraft) radically transform safety is somewhat illusory. Here are the scores on the doors for 2002-2017 from the NTSB:

Part-121 scheduled: 0.03 fatal accidents per million flight hours
Part-121 non-scheduled: 0.96 fatal accidents per million flight hours
Part-135 commuter: 1.54 fatal accidents per million flight hours
Part-135 on-demand: 3.6 fatal accidents per million flight hours
GA (Part-91): 12.3 fatal accidents per million flight hours

So Part-135 on demand is 100 times less safe than Part-121 scheduled, but a factor of 3-4 safer than GA.

One could argue that the factor of 3-4 is worth having, but do we really believe that passengers boarding a Part-135 on demand flight know they're 100 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than on an airliner?
Lots of scope for playing with the NTSB's statistics as I know you are well aware. The gap changes if one takes into account the number of fatalities as opposed to the number of fatal accidents, for example.

Probably a little off topic though.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 16:05
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Advertised cost-sharing is illegal in US-registered aircraft regardless of the licence under which the flight is operated. This eliminates common purpose from the argument.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 16:29
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Originally Posted by 2Donkeys View Post
Lots of scope for playing with the NTSB's statistics as I know you are well aware. The gap changes if one takes into account the number of fatalities as opposed to the number of fatal accidents, for example.
As a passenger boarding an aircraft, I care only about the likelihood of me surviving the journey. If I die, I don't care how many people die with me.

If you start to consider the effect of aircraft size, the gap actually widens: if I'm one of 100 pax on an airliner on which one person dies, I've still been involved in a fatal accident, even though I have a 99% chance of surviving that fatal accident. My chances of surviving a "fatal accident" (an accident in which at least one person died) in a Lance or Twin Comanche are rather worse.

Or put another way, if you want to look at total fatalities in the numerator, the correct denominator is not flight-hours but passenger-flight-hours. Either way you cut it, GA looks worse not better.

If you look at the rates per mile rather than per hour, GA again looks worse because it's slower.

Only if you look at the rates per flight is there a little solace for GA, because our flights tend to be shorter on average than the 1.8 hours of a Part-121 scheduled carrier. Per flight, we may well be only 100 times more at risk than an airliner, compared to 400 times more at risk if you count hours.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 16:47
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Originally Posted by bookworm View Post
As a passenger boarding an aircraft, I care only about the likelihood of me surviving the journey. If I die, I don't care how many people die with me.

Which is why you are less interested in number of fatal accidents (ie accidents in which at least one fatality occurs), and you are concerned about the total number of fatalities per unit of measurement.

But either way, this is considerable drift from the question posed by the OP.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 16:55
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Originally Posted by 2Donkeys View Post

The Common Purpose Test, as it is known is also derived from common law - which is why you don't find it in the regulations.
My issue is not that "common purpose" is not defined, rather that the regulations on cost sharing do not say that a common purpose test should be applied. How would anyone familiar with Section 61.113 know that a common purpose test is required? Yodice used to write legal commentary for AOPA Pilot magazine. In the below referenced article on cost sharing he makes no mention of common purpose. He only says that the pilot should have a purpose for making the flight other than carrying the cost sharing passenger. That would seem to imply that, back in 1992, the common purpose test was not well known.

http://cospilot.com/documents/Pilot%...20expenses.pdf

Thanks for the references though. That case makes a very interesting read.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 17:09
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Originally Posted by EXDAC View Post
He only says that the pilot should have a purpose for making the flight other than carrying the cost sharing passenger. That would seem to imply that, back in 1992, the common purpose test was not well known.
I would say that in those few words, he pretty much nails a key aspect of the common purpose test. The flight had better not be for the sole purpose of taking the passenger to the destination.

Common Purpose as a test predates air travel, and owes its origins to much earlier forms of transport. It perhaps merits an AC in the same way as the 1986 example I gave above.
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Old 27th Feb 2019, 18:44
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Originally Posted by 2Donkeys View Post

I would say that in those few words, he pretty much nails a key aspect of the common purpose test. The flight had better not be for the sole purpose of taking the passenger to the destination.
I agree. However, that seems quite different from the position that the pilot and passenger must have the same (or common) purpose for making the flight.
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