"In furtherence of a business"

Paul Hamilton is one of the first persons to become a DPE (Designated Pilot Examiner) for sport pilots. As a full-time author and sport pilot expert, he writes books and produces DVD's for Aviation Supplies and Academics (ASA). Now Paul has graciously agreed to answer your questions here. Thanks Paul! For more information about Paul, please visit www.Paul-Hamilton.com and www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com.

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Pawlander
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"In furtherence of a business"

Postby Pawlander » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:16 pm

In 61.315 (c)(3), the FAR's prohibit acting as PIC of a light-sport aircraft "In furtherance of a business."

I had always assumed that meant you could not use the plane in a business where the plane was integral to the work being performed, like aerial photography, pipeline patrol, crop dusting, etc., but you could use it for business travel.

But I recently was reviewing the 2008 Nall Report and it included definitions (page 34) attributed to the NTSB that describe personal and business use:

Personal – Flying by individuals in their own or
rented aircraft for pleasure or personal transpor-
tation not in furtherance of their occupation or
company business.

Business – The use of aircraft by pilots (not re-
ceiving direct salary or compensation for piloting)
in connection with their occupation or in the fur-
therance of a private business


Now, my question:

I take business trips by car or airline and my company reimburses me for the costs. Does the cited FAR prohibit a pilot exercising light-sport privileges from taking a similar trip in a light-sport aircraft if the costs of that flight are to be fully reimbursed by the company? Does such a trip constitute 'in furtherance of a business?"

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rfane
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Re: "In furtherence of a business"

Postby rfane » Sat Jan 30, 2010 11:40 pm

Pawlander wrote:I take business trips by car or airline and my company reimburses me for the costs. Does the cited FAR prohibit a pilot exercising light-sport privileges from taking a similar trip in a light-sport aircraft if the costs of that flight are to be fully reimbursed by the company? Does such a trip constitute 'in furtherance of a business?"


In furtherance of business implies that the flight is needed to get the business done. Such as flying parts to a location where they are being installed, and being paid to do so. The travel itself to a business meeting is not in furtherance of business. It is merely another form of travel. Being reimbursed travel expenses is fine. Being paid to fly yourself, others, or cargo is not.
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FastEddieB
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Postby FastEddieB » Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:13 am

The latest AOPA magazine has an article on this very subject:

http://www.aopa.org/members/files/pilot/2010/february/counsel.html

You may have to be an AOPA member to view it.

If that's a problem I can scan it and post it, but only with the site owner's permission (copyright issues).
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Pawlander
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Postby Pawlander » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:15 am

Thanks, Roger and Eddie. Your interpretations are consistent with what has always been my understanding with respect to private pilot privileges. I just assumed the same interpretation applied to sport pilot privileges, but now I am not sure.


The actual FAR language for sport pilot privileges is different than what is specified for private:

61.113 (private pilot) may conduct the flight if "The flight is only incidental to that business or employment."

61.315 (sport pilot) may NOT conduct the flight in a light-sport aircraft if the flight is "In furtherance of a business."


The wording is different. What I am trying to determine is whether the different wordings are just two ways of saying the same thing, or if the limitations for light sport are different from the limitations for private when it comes to flights incidental to a business.

That AOPA article (thanks for the tip, Eddie; I hadn't read that far in the magazine, yet) actually raises even more concern. The 2009 FAA Chief Counsel's interpretation (with respect to private privileges) seems to place a lot of emphasis on the "incidental to" language in justifying company reimbursement for a private pilot, and that language is missing for sport pilot privileges.


Any thoughts on this, Paul?

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Postby Doss79 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:43 am

But even so, you can never be fully reimbursed for your travels. It must not be more than 50%, no? So your business can only reimburse you for half of of the expenses.

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Pawlander
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Postby Pawlander » Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:13 am

A private pilot can be reimbursed fully under the conditions discussed above and in the AOPA Pilot article.

The only question I have is whether the same applies to sport-pilots and those with higher licenses but exercising the privileges of sport pilots.

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:32 pm

as Pawlander stated:
The actual FAR language for sport pilot privileges is different than what is specified for private:

61.113 (private pilot) may conduct the flight if "The flight is only incidental to that business or employment."

61.315 (sport pilot) may NOT conduct the flight in a light-sport aircraft if the flight is "In furtherance of a business."

These are big differences.
If you are a private pilot flyin with your drivers license as a medical that means you are operating as a sport pilot with:
61.315 (sport pilot) may NOT conduct the flight in a light-sport aircraft if the flight is "In furtherance of a business."

If you want to be on the safe side fly as a private with 3rd class medical for anything related to a business.

I would give my interpretation but that is all it would be. I am going to leave this to the AOPA and their legal staff/attorneys who would help us back up their opinion.

Personally, I tend to interpretat the rules to give us more freedom but I am not the final say. This is one of those gray areas.
Paul is a Sport Pilot CFI/DPE and the expert for ASA who writes the books and produces the DVD's for all pilots flying light sport aircraft.
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Pawlander
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Postby Pawlander » Wed Feb 17, 2010 9:21 am

I found three relevant FAQ's on this subject on EAA's SportPilot.org site, and they back up Paul's advice. They are clearly of the view that you cannot make a business-related flight (meetings, etc.; reimbursed or otherwise) in an LSA if you are a Sport Pilot or if exercising Sport Pilot privileges.

--
http://www.sportpilot.org/questions/afm ... faqid=1649

Question: I live about 100 miles from my company and am interested in purchasing a lsa to travel to work. Can a lsa be written off as a business expense?

Answer: The FAA has no specific restriction, provided you hold at least a private pilot certificate. A sport pilot certificate holder cannot fly in the furtherance of a business. Consult your tax advisor to determine if your use would be a tax-deductible business expense.

--
http://www.sportpilot.org/questions/afm ... ?faqid=981

Question: I am a PPL w/ current medical. Can my S-corp buy an SLSA as a business expense where I use it not for carrying passengers but for making insurance inspections in other locations.

Answer: There is no specific restriction in the operating limitations of an SLSA that would preclude its use as transportation to a business location so long as the pilot is operating above the sport pilot level. So long as you are not carrying persons or property for compensation or hire you would be OK

--
http://www.sportpilot.org/questions/afm ... faqid=2211

Question: I am a current LSA student pilot. If, when I get my certificate, I were to use an LSA aircraft to go to a business meeting but did not take the aircraft operating costs off as a business expense, would that be in violation of the use of the LSA certificate?

Answer: Yes, sport pilots are not allowed to fly in the furtherance of a business.

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Postby FastEddieB » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:02 pm

Randy,

My impression has always been that simple commuting is NOT "in furtherance of a business".

Much like you can expense mileage when a car is used in a business, but generally not commuting miles. IOW, flying to see a client would be out - but flying to work would be fine.

But you raise a good point, and I was not aware of the different language between Private and Sport Pilot limitations.

Looks like we need an FAA definition of "in furtherance of a business".
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Postby drseti » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:48 pm

FastEddieB wrote:Looks like we need an FAA definition of "in furtherance of a business".


Feel free to wave a red flag in front of the FAA if you wish, Eddie. I'm not about to!

Here's another, rather frightening aspect of the same discussion. I am a CFI. I run a flight school. It is a business. With a lapsed medical, I am exercising Sport Pilot privileges. Does this mean that I can not operate a flight school? If I give flight instruction for hire, am I not flying in furtherance of a business? If this is so, why on Earth would the FAA ever have authorized a CFI-SP designation? Don't they realize that CFIs (with or without a medical) typically charge for their services?

Paul Hamilton, I'd appreciate your take on this.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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Pawlander
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Postby Pawlander » Thu Feb 18, 2010 7:58 am

Flight instruction is separately authorized in 61.413, so you are authorized that particular business use under your Sport Pilot Instructor certificate, not under your Sport Pilot certificate.

For those of us who are not instructors, I think the takeaway here is if you are ever asked during a ramp check, or you have an incident of any kind, be sure that the purpose of your flight is "I was flying over to XXX for a $100 hamburger" and not "I was just on my way to a business meeting over in XXX."

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Furtherance of a Business?

Postby lledsmar » Thu Sep 30, 2010 11:46 pm

I rarely have any need to travel for business but I do struggle to understand this rule because FAA doesn't clearly define what they mean by "furtherance of a business" and it seems to be left open for debate. I love riding my motorcycle as much as flying. If it's a beautiful day and I have an opportunity to ride my motorcycle (or bicycle, boat, skateboard) to work or related appointments etc., I am only using the mode of transportation as enjoyment for myself with no intent to further a business. A business does not benefit any further whether I crawl or fly if the mode of travel is for sport, enjoyment, recreation and at my own cost.

On the other hand if I attempt to use my sport pilot certificate with the intent to gain some sort of advantage in business...example: to visit more clients in a given amount of time or to expand my geographical area “further” by flying vs. driving ...I am obviously abusing my sport pilot privileges in the furtherance of a business because there is clearly an advantage being gained.

Here's another twist....If my company buys me an airline ticket to travel for business this would be considered business travel. However, since I am required to go on this trip anyway I decide to have a little fun on the way...I upgrade out of my own pocket for a seat in first class or I decide to take friends and family with me or I decide to drive instead and maybe take a few days vacation around the business related activity to see the sites OR FINALLY... I decide to fly my sport plane because I just got my SPC and love piloting an aircraft. Other than the requirement to be at the business meeting... none of the other things I might decide to do have anything to do with the furtherance of a business. They are opportunities to do things I enjoy while making the trip.

Comments?
lledsmar

ArionAv8or
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Postby ArionAv8or » Fri Oct 01, 2010 8:17 am

With the way it is worded I don't know that anyone will have the answers for this one but my interpretation of the ruling would be Sport Pilots CANNOT make ANY flight where there is a reasonable expectation that business may be furthered as a result of that flight. Fly to see a friend but don't fly for ANY business purpose and you will be fine.

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dstclair
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Postby dstclair » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:12 am

If your company is going to reimburse you for the travel, then this would be a business expense to the company and, hence, in furtherance of a business.

If you are traveling to a location for business AND pleasure and were not being reimbursed, you could make the case that business was incidental to your vacation.

I think it's anyone's guess if you fly yourself on a business trip and eat all the costs yourself. FastEddie has the right approach -- if asked you are always flying for pleasure (aren't we all :D )

ArionAv8or's position is conservative and will keep you well within the bounds.

I tend to push on the 'reasonable expectation'. If the mode of transportation is incidental to business, then it really can't be furthering the business.
dave

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dstclair
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Postby dstclair » Fri Oct 01, 2010 9:39 am

Did a little FAA searching. This opinion is somewhat interesting:

http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/hea ... urgess.pdf

The interesting part is what the FAA determined was incidental to the business. If you read several other opinions, the FAA typically views the mode of transportation to a business meeting as incidental to the business itself. I don't know about reimbursement of expenses (as an SP), though.

And, no, none of these are specific to pilot's exercising sport pilot privileges but the analogy is quite close. I'd interpret that the FAA would allow an SP to operate an aircraft as a means of transportation to a business meeting
dave


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