"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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lledsmar
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Furtherance of a business

Postby lledsmar » Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:06 am

After reading the new posts this simple thought came to me:

If the flight isn't required or necessary for the purpose of business/profit then it is not furthering a business.

If the flight IS required and necessary for the purpose of business/proit then it IS furthering a business.

I don't think they'd make a rule that they can not enforce and I think there would have to be an obvious signs that sport pilot flights are being used for business purposes to be investigated for it.
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theskunk
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Postby theskunk » Fri Mar 16, 2012 12:52 am

I recognize that this is an old topic, but I'm going to be getting my ticket soon-ish, and I'd like to make sure that i'm in the clear on this.

It seems to be a rather large gray area, i'd just like to know what everybody else's experience has been thus far (i.e.: in the past two years).

My scenario is this:

I absolutely LOVE to fly. If i can fly to/from a meeting here or there, in situations where I could have just as easily have driven, but i enjoy flying (and avoiding traffic in the DC/Charlotte areas!)

I'm actually not allowed to expense private GA flight for expenses toward flying to business meetings, so i'd really be paying somewhat of an out of pocket expense, but could then expense a rental car/etc at the end of the flight.

I've emailed my instructor, and he seems somewhat indifferent, but i'm concerned that i'd get ramp-checked arriving at an airport, and popping out in slacks and a polo its pretty obvious i'm not after the 100.00 hamburger. I actually asked a few people recently, and i've had people on both sides of the fence. What say ye?

Jack Tyler
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Postby Jack Tyler » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:19 am

Skunk:

This topic illustrates - among other things - that the SP & LSA industry is still pretty immature, as are the nitty-gritty details surrounding SP privileges.

I think I could make a case that most actions each of us takes, each & every day, is furthering a business. (Are you not furthering the business interests of the FBO when you land after a flight and buy their gas? And don't you have a vested interest in that FBO's business being sustained? Where to you draw the line?) Of the posts I read here, FastEddie's summary (repeated in essence by several dstclair posts) seems the best reasoned:

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

But you fundamentally are not asking an IRS Code question; you are asking a FAR question that might/might not have IRS implications. Where does the expertise exist for these two interwoven subjects? This is a good example of how AOPA's legal services rider can be so useful to a pilot and/or a/c owner. Instead of getting the FAR language simply repeated to you (again), you'll have access to someone who has experience with and a perspective on aviation case law, IRS rulings and prior FAA actions. $33 will give you that kind of consultation...and then provide a year's worth of consultations on other issues such as the review of your co-ownership or purchase agreement or the liability limitation language used by your new insurance carrier. As Paul suggests, rather than looking for the FAA to define one's world, see what aviation case law and IRS rulings suggest about the legal meaning of 'furtherance of a business'. Put more simply: I'd suggest your best option is not to mine forums for the answer to your Q but 'hire a lawyer with relevant experience'. AOPA's service is one way to do that - cheaply.
Jack
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theskunk
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Postby theskunk » Fri Mar 16, 2012 9:25 am

Jack -- I think thats the best response to this that I've ever seen!

Ironically enough, my 'daily commute' is to see the clients when i'm on the road (our internal website actually lists rdu airport as my office now!).

I'll give them a call (need to renew my membership anyways) and then see what else i can do to get my questions answered.

I'll report back with what they say.

Thanks!

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Paul Hamilton
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Postby Paul Hamilton » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:08 am

As I have learned in the past, do not ask the FAA for something in writing for a gray area you want leniency. It will typically go to the lawyers in DC and it can be the most stringent getting rid of the gray area. Even AOPA and the FAA is just an opinion until it is challenged. At least with an AOPA opinion they are most likely to be on your side.
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.
See www.SportAviationCenter.com www.Sport-Pilot-Training.com and www.BeASportPilot.com to Paul's websites

jnmeade
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Postby jnmeade » Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:24 pm

Does this mean that I cannot fly my CTSW over my farm and make any observations that I might use later in farm management? Such as notice a place where I'd missed spraying some weeds? If I see a cow and calf in distress am I prohibited from noting it? If I take a picture of my farm can I use it later in designing a waterway plan?
Of course, SSS applies in all these activities.

Jim Stewart
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Postby Jim Stewart » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:04 am

I guess the correct answer is that you should get your PP rating so you don't have to worry about these things. That's what I did.

OTOH, if you take off with the intentions of making a pleasure flight and see a cow in distress, I don't see a problem with acting on it. After all, the flight was a pleasure flight and the observation was incidental. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

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dstclair
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Postby dstclair » Sat Mar 17, 2012 10:06 am

Unfortunately, a sport pilot decided to formally request an opinion from the FAA on this topic: http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/pol_adjudication/agc200/interpretations/data/interps/2011/Gilbert.pdf

The gist:
Although the flights described in your letter appear to be incidental to your employment and
the business being conducted, you indicate that the flights will be undertaken not only for
sport and recreation but also to provide transportation for a business purpose. Under the
provisions of § 61.315(c)(3),such flights, even if incidental to your employment or the
business you intend to conduct, and not required by your business or employment would be
considered in "furtherance of a business," Accordingly, you may not conduct the flights you
describe when exercising the privileges of a sport pilot certificate. I


Not the answer I would interpret but now that it's been asked, policy has been made :(
dave

lledsmar
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Look at the bright side...

Postby lledsmar » Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:23 pm

There are other recreational forms of transportation that could "incidentally" get you to your client's city... motorcycle, boat, bicycle, running shoes... if it is your passion you can do it!

PS....If your a true pilot and want to commute....can you purchase an ultralight and use it for business travel? Sure its a little longer flight but isn't that what its really all about?
lledsmar

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:12 am

theskunk wrote:I absolutely LOVE to fly. If i can fly to/from a meeting here or there, in situations where I could have just as easily have driven, but i enjoy flying (and avoiding traffic in the DC/Charlotte areas!)


Skunk, this is exactly the scenario that the FAA rules were meant to preclude! The issue is not compensation, but rather pressure. When you have a meeting to attend, you're on a schedule. This may tempt you into flying when perhaps you shouldn't have. The Sport Pilot seeking a $50 hamburger is under no such pressure, since presumably the hamburger will still be there tomorrow, if today is not perfect for flying.

It's a safety thing, and frankly, I agree with it.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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drseti
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Re: Look at the bright side...

Postby drseti » Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:15 am

lledsmar wrote:There are other recreational forms of transportation that could "incidentally" get you to your client's city... motorcycle, boat, bicycle, running shoes... if it is your passion you can do it!


The difference here is that motorcycle, boating, bicycle, and running licenses aren't issued with an explicit prohibition against use in furtherance of a business. If you choose to jog to a business meeting, there's not going to be any government bureaucracy empowered to take away your jogging license! :wink:
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
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lledsmar
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Incidentally...

Postby lledsmar » Sun Mar 18, 2012 10:35 am

My boss (knowing very little about aviation rules) asked me just last week if I could fly us a short distance rather than taking the airline. I then instructed him about the sport vs. private pilot differences. His initial summary was... "so it's ultimately some extra night training and a medical certificate that doesn't guarantee to me that your healthy?" Then came the typical scenario questions... "What if you happen to take me on a recreational cheese burger flight on a Sunday and we talk business during lunch or by sheer coincidence we meet some people at the restaurant we end up selling to?" I said "well then I better hope that the FAA isn't sitting at the next table." Long story short, from an outsider's perspective he thought the whole thing was complete insanity that a sport pilot with hundreds or thousands of hours can not fly for a business reason but say a new 16yo private pilot with 50 hours can? He summed it up with "I'm glad they don't regulate golf!"
lledsmar

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deltafox
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Postby deltafox » Sun Mar 18, 2012 11:08 am

I think one reason for the rule is "get there itis". If your boss has made the arrangements and the weather is a bit iffy, would you be compelled to take a flight you might otherwise avoid?
Dave

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GravityKnight
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Re: "In furtherence of a business"

Postby GravityKnight » Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:01 pm

deltafox wrote:I think one reason for the rule is "get there itis". If your boss has made the arrangements and the weather is a bit iffy, would you be compelled to take a flight you might otherwise avoid?


I think you and a few others have hit the nail on the head. This is their reasoning for the different limitations of a sport pilot license. We are only supposed to fly when it's nice, and not feel pressured into flying anytime.......

However.. when I look at the difference between getting your PP vs SP... the checkride differences, the training differences etc. The mentality that a PP is that much more prepared to fly in bad conditions vs. a SP is pretty silly. A couple hours of night flying and a few minutes under the hood doesn't somehow magically make you an expert in bad conditions.... And considering you can operate as a PP in a LSA, it isn't the difference in plane capability either.

So.. it makes sense.. and then actually it really doesn't make sense.... FAA for you :)
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drseti
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Re: "In furtherence of a business"

Postby drseti » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:23 pm

GravityKnight wrote:A couple hours of night flying and a few minutes under the hood doesn't somehow magically make you an expert in bad conditions.


No, but apparently, having a current third class medical certificate does. :?
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US


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