Privileges and Limitations

Type rating Requirements, Additional Training, and Endorsements (FAR 61.31)

  • A type rating is required for:

    •  Large aircraft (maximum certificated takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds) (except lighter-than-air),

    • Turbojet-powered airplanes,

    • And a few other exception aircraft specified by the Administrator

  • Additional endorsements and/or training are required for the following activities:

    • Acting as PIC in a high performance aircraft

      • An aircraft with an engine rated to produce 200 HP or more

    • Acting as PIC in a high altitude aircraft

      • A pressurized aircraft with a service ceiling or maximum operating altitude (whichever is lower) above 25,000 feet MSL

    • Acting as PIC in a complex aircraft

      • an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller.

    • Acting as PIC in a tailwheel aircraft

    • Towing a glider (FAR 61.69)

      • Requires at least a private pilot certificate,

      • A logbook entry from a certified instructor stating the pilot has received ground a flight training in specified procedures,

      • at least 100 hours of pilot-in-command time in the aircraft category, class, and type, if required, that the pilot is using to tow a glider,

      • And within the preceding 24 calendar months at least three actual or simulated glider tows while accompanied by a qualified pilot, or at least three flights as PIC of a glider towed by an aircraft.

Responsibility and Authority of the PIC (FAR 91.3)

  • The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.

Private Pilot Privileges and Limitations (FAR 61.113)

  • You may not act as PIC of an aircraft that is carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire

  • You cannot be paid to act as PIC except when:

    • In connection with any business or employment if the flight is only incidental to that business or employment and the aircraft does not carry passengers or property for compensation or hire 

    • You share the expenses You may not pay less than the equal share of the operating expenses of a flight with your passengers, as long as the expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or rental fees 

    • If you are an aircraft salesperson and have at least 200 hr. of logged flight time, you may demonstrate an aircraft to a possible buyer 

    • You may act as PIC of an aircraft used in a passenger-carrying airlift sponsored by a charitable organization for which passengers make a donation if all of the following apply:

      • The sponsor of the airlift notifies the Flight Standards office at least 7 days before the flight and provides the Flight Standards office with specific info

      • The flight is conducted from a public airport or an airport approved by an FAA inspector 

      • You have logged at least 200 hr. of flight time 

      • No aerobatic of formation flights are conducted 

      • Each aircraft used is certified in the standard category and complies with the 100 hr. inspection requirement 

      • The flight is made under VFR during the day 

Check out this Advisory Circular from the FAA about what form of compensation you can receive. It outlines in more detail and answers questions in a way they may be phrased by an examiner. 

Relevant excerpts from Advisory Circular 61-142 (AC61-142) “Sharing Aircraft Operating Expenses in Accordance with 14 CFR § 61.113(c)”

Section 5 - Definitions:

5.4 Compensation.

Receipt of anything of value that is contingent upon the pilot acting as pilot in command (PIC) of an aircraft

5.6 Operating Expenses.

Costs directly arising from the use of an aircraft for the purpose of air navigation including piloting the piloting of aircraft with or without the right of legal control (as owner, lessee, or otherwise)

Section 7 - Expense Sharing under 61.113(c):

7.1 Sharing Expenses.

A private pilot may not pay less than the pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight with passengers, provided those expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or rental fees. A pilot exercising private pilot privileges who accepts any reimbursement that exceeds the pilot’s pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight would be paying less than the pilot’s pro rata share, and thus would be violating the limits of the expense-sharing provision of § 61.113(c). Additionally, § 61.113(c) permits reimbursement of expenses only from the passengers on the flight.

7.2 Allowed Expenses.

The only operating expenses that may be shared are specifically listed in § 61.113(c). Those expenses are fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or aircraft rental fees.

7.3 Prohibited Expenses.

Any expenses not specified in § 61.113(c) must be paid by the pilot. Examples of these include, but are not limited to, aircraft maintenance, aircraft insurance, aircraft depreciation, and navigation charts. 

Section 8 - Compensation:

8.1 Explanation of Compensation.

Compensation is the receipt of anything of value that is contingent on the pilot operating the aircraft; i.e., but for the receipt of the compensation, the pilot would not have taken that flight. Compensation does not require a profit, profit motive, or the actual payment of funds. Reimbursement of expenses, accumulation of flight time, and good will in the form of expected future economic benefits can be considered compensation. Furthermore, the pilot does not have to be the party receiving the compensation; compensation occurs even if a third party receives a benefit as a result of the flight.

Section 9 - Common Purpose:

9.1 General.

As previously stated, the FAA has consistently interpreted § 61.113(c) to mean

that a private pilot have a common purpose with his or her passengers and have his or her

own reason, other than the receipt of compensation for the flight, for traveling to the

destination. The existence of a bona fide common purpose is determined on a

case-by-case basis depending on the facts and circumstances of each individual case.

9.2 Destination.

In assessing whether a pilot is operating consistently with the

expense-sharing provision, the FAA considers whether the pilot has his or her own

reason for traveling to the destination. When the pilot, not the passenger, chooses the

destination, it suggests that the pilot is not simply transporting passengers for

compensation. The common destination satisfies the common purpose test even if the

pilot and the passengers have different business to conduct at the destination. For some

time, the FAA has indicated that, in order for a common purpose to exist, the pilot must

have his or her own personal need to fly to that destination, i.e., his or her own particular

business to conduct at the destination. Therefore, when the pilot has no particular

business to conduct at the destination or the flight is only for the purpose of transporting

passengers, no common purpose exists. The common purpose test can be stated as “but

for the receipt of compensation, the pilot would not have taken that flight.”

Example 1:

A friend asks a pilot to fly him to another city to pick up a new car

he ordered and offers to share the expenses of the flight. The private pilot agrees,

as he is not doing anything else and would enjoy the flight. As the passenger

chose the destination and the private pilot does not have a purpose of his own to

be in the other city at that time, this is an example of a situation where no

common purpose exists. Therefore, expense sharing would not be allowed under

§ 61.113(c).

Example 2:

A pilot plans to fly his plane to a wedding on Long Island. He is

transporting passengers whose destination is also Long Island, but they are

heading to a basketball game. As the pilot dictated the destination and both the

passengers and the pilot have personal business on Long Island, a common

purpose exists in these circumstances.

Section 10 - Holding Out:

10.1 General Discussion.

It is important that private pilots who want to share expenses do not “hold out” to the public, or a segment of the public, as willing to furnish transportation to any person who wants it.

10.2 What Constitutes Holding Out?

“Holding out” is accomplished by any means that

communicates to the public that a transportation service is indiscriminately available to

the members of that segment of the public that it is designed to attract. There is no

specific rule or criteria as to how holding out is achieved. Instead, holding out is

determined by assessing the available facts of a specific situation. Advertising in any

form raises the question of holding out. Historically, pilots have been found to be holding out when advertising services via rolodex, brochures, newspapers, magazines,

telephone directories, posters, and website/internet postings.


When money or anything of value is exchanged for transportation, the public expects,

and the FAA demands, a higher level of safety for the flying public. A pilot may invite

passengers for expense-sharing flights; however, a pilot should be guided by whether he

or she is reaching out to a defined and limited group comprised of people with whom he

or she has an ongoing, pre-existing relationship (e.g., family, friends, or close

acquaintances). Generally, the FAA would not consider a mere loose acquaintance to be

part of a defined and limited group, which is a principle that may have added relevance in

the age of social media.

Example 1:

A private pilot wants to post a note with the specific time and date she is traveling to Long Island on a fixed-base operator (FBO) bulletin board in order to carry two additional passengers in exchange for pro rata reimbursement of expenses under § 61.113(c). Such advertisement on a bulletin board may be acceptable, as long as it targets a limited and defined audience as discussed in paragraph 10.2.1 above.

Example 2:

Mr. Smith, a private pilot, plans to fly to Boston, MA to get fresh lobster for a lobster boil he is having in Cleveland, OH. He publishes an ad in the local Cleveland area newspaper seeking one to two passengers to share expenses on the trip to Boston. He receives several responses and selects his passengers based on the order he received responses to his ad. Mr. Smith’s advertisement in the local Cleveland area newspaper would be considered holding out to a broad segment of the general population. Further, his acceptance of the first two passengers that responded to the ad indicate a willingness to transport anyone who wanted to travel to his destination.

Example 3:

A small neighborhood book club has set up a private Facebook group and only members of the club who are approved by the board are allowed to join and see posts. A member of the club posts that he or she is piloting a plane to the beach for the day and is asking if any other members would like to join and share expenses. Here the group is limited and defined, and the FAA would likely not consider this pilot to be holding out.

Section 11 - Summary:

11.1 Sharing Expenses.

Pilots may share operating expenses with passengers on a pro rata basis when those expenses involve only fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or rental fees. These exceptions are themselves further limited. In assessing whether an expense-sharing flight is properly conducted under the exception in § 61.113(c), the FAA considers whether the pilot and passengers have a common purpose and whether the pilot has held out as offering services to the public. The “common-purpose test” anticipates that the pilot and expense-sharing passengers share a “bona fide common purpose” for their travel and the pilot has chosen the destination. Communications with passengers for a common-purpose flight are restricted to a defined and limited audience to avoid the “holding out” element of common carriage. 

Other Limitations

  • Dropping Objects (FAR 91.15)

    •  An object may be dropped from an aircraft only if reasonable precautions are taken to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.

  • Formation Flight (FAR 91.111)

    • Formation flights may be performed only after prior arrangement with the pilot in command of each aircraft in the formation.

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