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Two tricky questions that relate to flying with boatpix


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Okay so I'm trying to figure out how Boatpix gets around these two issues.

 

1. The flights are conducted with a CFI on board, so the CFI logs PIC for acting as the instructor and the rated pilot logs PIC for "being the sole manipulator of the controls", BUT the rated pilot only manipulates the controls half the time and takes pictures for half the time. So shouldnt he only be allowed to log half the time as PIC?

 

 

2. Ive also heard they do time building taking boat photos with non commercial private students. How is this possible if the flight is being used as a commercial flight to sell photos, and the student is getting compensation by getting a discounted rate.

 

Does all this gel, curious to hear others opinions....

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Okay so I'm trying to figure out how Boatpix gets around these two issues.

 

1. The flights are conducted with a CFI on board, so the CFI logs PIC for acting as the instructor and the rated pilot logs PIC for "being the sole manipulator of the controls", BUT the rated pilot only manipulates the controls half the time and takes pictures for half the time. So shouldnt he only be allowed to log half the time as PIC?

Thats correct, although I'm sure the students are logging all of it as PIC.

 

2. Ive also heard they do time building taking boat photos with non commercial private students. How is this possible if the flight is being used as a commercial flight to sell photos, and the student is getting compensation by getting a discounted rate.

 

Does all this gel, curious to hear others opinions....

It depends on how you interpret the flight. On the one hand, what you said is true, the student is compensated with a discount on flight time. On the other hand, since the student is only flying half the time, and thus only permitted to log half the time (assuming they only log half), why is paying for half the time compensation?

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I don't work for boat pics, or train w/ them, but from what I've read/heard, I don't think it is consideration a commercial operation.

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I don't work for boat pics, or train w/ them, but from what I've read/heard, I don't think it is consideration a commercial operation.

 

Of course it's a commercial operation. You are flying around, taking photos of boats, intending to sell those photos. If they weren't taking photos, would they be out flying? Would they get the discount? The "student" is receiving a discount for flight time, in exchange for allowing photos to be taken to be sold, thus the "student" is being compensated for flying.

 

The ONLY way for it to be legal is if the "student" is ALWAYS taking photos while the commercial pilot is flying AND the "student" does not log the time he/she isn't flying. In that case, the time the student was flying was NOT a commercial operation; just a regular training flight paid for by the student. The discount wouldn't actually be compensation since the student isn't flying the entire flight, but is being billed for the entire flight.

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SOOOO, IF i was flying with a student, he snapped off a quick photo of his buddy's business for the fun of it, THEN went and sold his photo to his buddy. it is not commercial work, its flight instruction. anyway, according to the site, they are both commercial pilots.

 

http://www.helicopteracademy.com/

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SOOOO, IF i was flying with a student, he snapped off a quick photo of his buddy's business for the fun of it, THEN went and sold his photo to his buddy. it is not commercial work, its flight instruction. anyway, according to the site, they are both commercial pilots.

 

http://www.helicopteracademy.com/

 

It is a commercial flight, but since you (the CFI, and commercial pilot) were flying when the photo was taken, it's fine. If it were the other way around, not so fine.

 

In other words, if you (the commercial pilot) snapped the photo while the private or student pilot flew and the photo was sold AND the private or student pilot was somehow compensated then it would not be legal.

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It's Tom from BOATPIX. If anyone has any questions they can call me at 561-346-2816. I had two CFI's flying this weekend near Titusville/Merritt Island and some people questioned whether they can both log the time so the questions about non-commercial pilots doesn't apply as we are talking two cfi's. We offer $150 an hour timebuilding where you are a rated pilot and flying with a cfi. Suppose that you take off from Miami, Ft Lauderdale, West Palm, Pensacola or Jacksonville and I send you to Key West for a photoshoot. Suppose that every hour you come across one boat and the private pilot photographs the boat while the CFI flies. Okay, so this takes about 20 seconds. The rest of the time the private pilot is flying the helicopter and logging it as PIC while the instructor is logging dual given. So in this case, the private logs three hours and the helicopter flies three hours and three minutes and there is no harm. The website for this is www.r22.us and we advertise on all websites. I regret that people say: "That whole thing just seemed sketchy to me. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is." when they don't even know anything about this.

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I have flown for BOATPIX in the Seattle area, and had the same questions you all have! I even verified the the time logged with the local DPE and he didn't have a problem with my log book. I highly recommend flying with BOATPIX, not just for the hour building but for the awesome flying experience you will get doing real commercial maneuvers. So stop complaining and start time building.

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I regret that people say: "That whole thing just seemed sketchy to me. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is." when they don't even know anything about this.

 

I'm not trying to insult your operation, but I have enough experience in life to know that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The biggest thing that strikes me as odd is that if combining non-commercial time-building/flight instruction with a commercial operation is completely legit, why aren't other people doing it? Right now enrolments at a lot of schools are down. My school just got rid of 2 ships. Why aren't the schools that are losing business offering these lower rates?

 

You're right... I don't know much about this. I'm stating an opinion that it SEEMS sketchy and too good to be true. If it is all on the level, it's a great deal. I've just seen too many rip-offs in the flight training industry to take things like this at face value.

 

J-

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I don't know anything about the BOATPIX business model, but anything that helps offset the cost of operating a helicopter while gaining flight experience sounds like a good idea to me.

 

QUOTE (heli323 @ Feb 28 2009, 23:36 )

2. Ive also heard they do time building taking boat photos with non commercial private students. How is this possible if the flight is being used as a commercial flight to sell photos, and the student is getting compensation by getting a discounted rate.

 

I think your question is based on a false premise - that a private pilot can't be engaged in any commercial activity while flying. Here's your homework assignment: read FAR 1.1 for the definition of Commercial Operator and note that there is no definition for "Commercial Flight". Now read FAR 61.113 for the privileges and limitations for a private pilot. In both instances, the defining characteristic is "carrying persons or property" for compensation. Yep, PPLs are prohibited from carrying "persons or property" for hire. Who's the pax in this case? the CFI? What's the cargo- the camera? But the camera isn't being delivered anywhere, it's just being used to record an image. And during the time that the camera is in use, if the scenario presented here is accurate, the CFI is flying, not the PPL.

 

Furthermore, IMHO, it's stretching the definition of "compensation" to consider a lower than usual rental rate to be "getting paid to fly", but I'm sure you could find lawyers who would argue over that (for about $300 and hour, that is...).

 

As far as logging time as PIC when you're actually manipulating the controls of a camera, well, technically if you're out on a dual training flight and the instructor takes over control of the ship to demonstrate a manuever (or recover from one poorly executed :P ), then that time shouldn't be logged as PIC, now should it? If it really is just a few minutes during the flight no one in the real world is going to get that nit-picky. :blink: Kphansen4 has the right idea- if in doubt, check it out - with the DPE you'll be taking your check ride with.

 

More homework: read FAR 119, which tells you what you can do as a Commercial pilot without being covered by a part 121 or 135 certificate. The list is pretty short, but it does include aerial photography FWIW.

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I think your question is based on a false premise - that a private pilot can't be engaged in any commercial activity while flying. Here's your homework assignment: read FAR 1.1 for the definition of Commercial Operator and note that there is no definition for "Commercial Flight". Now read FAR 61.113 for the privileges and limitations for a private pilot. In both instances, the defining characteristic is "carrying persons or property" for compensation. Yep, PPLs are prohibited from carrying "persons or property" for hire. Who's the pax in this case? the CFI? What's the cargo- the camera? But the camera isn't being delivered anywhere, it's just being used to record an image. And during the time that the camera is in use, if the scenario presented here is accurate, the CFI is flying, not the PPL.

 

Are you saying that arial photography is not considered a commercial operation? I don't have my FAR handy right now, but I really want to check into that. From what I was always taught, if you are getting paid or compensated to fly, that is a commercial operation. The gray area I'm seeing is that the commercial operator is paying less than a pro-rata share of the operating expences and, as has been stated, manipulating the controls while the action being paid for by the client is taking place. Also, the intent of the flight is for taking pictures of boats for profit... Doesn't the intent of the flight play into it as well?

 

I definitely agree with the idea (and am going to when I get a chance) of talking to a DPE about this. If it's fully on the level and will cut off some cash when I'm trying to rack up time towards my commercial licence.... GREAT!

 

J-

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So long as they are both commercial pilots, then there is nothing wrong with what they are doing.

 

If one is a private or a student, then they are technically in violation of the regs. However, as Tom states, that is for all of 3 to 5 minutes of each flight, so who cares. For whatever reason, the FAA doesn't seem to care because Tom has been doing this for a long time, and if they didn't like it they could stop him pretty easy.

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Are you saying that arial photography is not considered a commercial operation?

 

No, that's not what I'm saying. I sorta segued from the Boatpix issue over to what a Commercial pilot can or can't do to make the point that some operations that require a CPL (like pipeline patrol, cropdusting, flight instruction, and aerial photography) are in a different category than transporting an unsuspecting lil' ol' lady and her 2 grandkids over the river and through the woods, and even if you have a commercial license, there can be other requirements to be met before you can accept money for flying . Now if a PPL were to take a non-rated pilot along as a photographer along on a flight in order to take photos to offer for sale, then yeah, that's a "commercial operation" and would be a violation of FAR 61.113 IF the private pilot gets paid.

 

But how about this scenario: Your next-door neighbor has a business selling greeting cards with scenic photos on them that he has taken. In the course of conversation you ask if he's ever done any aerial photography. He says no, but he'd really like to try it out, so you arrange to take him (and his camera) up with you. The flight is a huge success, and he gets some unique pictures that he turns into a very popular and profitable line of greeting cards.

So, he comes back to you and offers to pay you to take him up on a recurring basis to get more photos. I believe that per 61.113 ©, as a private pilot you can accept up to 50% of the cost of the flight (expense of operating the aircraft), but you can't take any money or other compensation for acting as PIC. This could be a great way to help defray some of the expense of your flying and give you neighbor a barn-burner of a deal on photo flights.

 

None of this, however, applies to the Boatpix scenario as described in this thread. There, you basically have a dual training flight with occasional breaks to take pictures. The whole flight (for the "student") should be logged as dual received, and all the time spent actually flying gets logged as PIC. For the instructor, it's all PIC time, and all except the photo taking minutes would be dual-given. See 61.151(e). If indeed, as Tom from Boatpix says, it's just a few minutes per flight hour spent taking pictures, then I stand by my earlier statement that in the real world nobody's going to make a fuss about logging the whole flight as PIC/ Dual Received, but that's what you have to verify with your DPE or other authority in question.

 

JEHH:

If one is a private or a student, then they are technically in violation of the regs.

I think you're wrong about that - can you specify which regulation they would be in violation of? If the "student" (PPL, student pilot, CPL or guy-off-the-street) is taking the pictures, then the CFI, who is a commercial pilot, is flying the helicopter and where's the violation? If the "student" is flying, it's dual received and PIC for PPL and above. Other than the question of logging PIC vs. dual-received time, what's the issue?

 

 

So to Tom from Boatpix, I say more power to you! If I were looking to build PIC hours and lived in an area where Boatpix operated, I'd jump on it! (Well, I would except for the R-22 Deathtrap part of it, but that's for another thread... :rolleyes: )

 

BTW,

If you're sitting at a computer, you have all the FARs right in front of you:

 

http://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/faa_regulations/

 

and you also have the entire AIM: http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air...ons/ATpubs/AIM/

 

and the Rotorcraft Flying Handbook:

http://www.faa.gov/library/manuals/aircraf...a-h-8083-21.pdf

 

and thousands of other resources, too, so let's not have any excuses like

I don't have my FAR handy right now,
B)

 

Sure, I prefer to read a printed copy and smear it up with highlighter, but in a pinch you can always get the Gospel on-line.

The best way to get to know the regs is to use them; whenever a question like this comes up, try to look up the relevant reference and read it until you understand it. It will make a big difference when you get to the oral portion of your next checkride, and will tend to keep you out of hot water throughout your flying career.

 

***Edited 3/7/09***

More information has caused me to reconsider the above photography scenario. Read my post from 3/7/09 below.

-HP

Edited by helicodger pilot
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Point taken. I guess it's just my sceptical nature getting the best of me. Its not going to stop me from asking around, but I have to admit, you guys do have quite a few points I can't argue. Most people doing shady s*** won't advertise it all over the internet.

 

J-

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Point taken. I guess it's just my sceptical nature getting the best of me. Its not going to stop me from asking around, but I have to admit, you guys do have quite a few points I can't argue. Most people doing shady s*** won't advertise it all over the internet.

 

J-

 

Justin- we have debated this subject before, maybe 2 years ago? Anyway, the only real issue is the new pilot wanting to gain hours. I think in the real Boatpix world, its the CFI taking a lot of shots as well, so the new pilot gets a fair amount of the time as PIC. If its the new guy taking all the shots you can't book any of that as PIC (I wouldnt waste my time talking to a DPE or FSDO...if your hands are not on the controls, you ain't flying). And, if you can only book 30-50% of the time as PIC, then is it really worth the discount ?

 

Gotta admit though, its always been a great debate.

 

Goldy

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I read something about a private pilot that got prosecuted because the hours in his logbook constituted compensation - in other words they were trying to work around the system and they didn't pay him money but he didn't pay for aircraft rental so the logbook hours were deemed to be his pay. I'm pretty sure I read it on AOPA somewhere but I be danged if I can find it. I don't know about aviation law but it seemed fitting to this discussion, something to think about anywho.

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I read something about a private pilot that got prosecuted because the hours in his logbook constituted compensation - in other words they were trying to work around the system and they didn't pay him money but he didn't pay for aircraft rental so the logbook hours were deemed to be his pay. I'm pretty sure I read it on AOPA somewhere but I be danged if I can find it. I don't know about aviation law but it seemed fitting to this discussion, something to think about anywho.

 

 

I think the thing that would make all the difference there would be if they payed for the ENTIRE rental or a pro-rata share. That's spelled out pretty clearly in the FAR.

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Where does it say anywhere, what you have to charge for a rental fee. There is nothing of that nature, because of that you cannot use the argument that the student is being compensated for a reduced price.

 

 

It says that as a private pilot you can't pay less than a pro-rata share of the operating expenses. If you're up with one other person, that means you need to pay at least half of fuel, oil, and rental.

 

J-

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Where does it say anywhere, what you have to charge for a rental fee. There is nothing of that nature, because of that you cannot use the argument that the student is being compensated for a reduced price.

again not a lawyer here and I really wish I could cite the reference but tell that to the guy who got hung on the wall by the FAA :)

 

personally I think the fact that Tom has been doing this for however many years speaks for itself.

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Rouge's mention of reading something on AOPA reminded me of the monthly article in AOPA Pilot magazine called "Pilot Counsel". It's written by John S. Yodice who's been an aviation lawyer for umpty-zillion years and actually knows not only the regulations, but how the FAA (usually) interprets them. So I searched on the AOPA.org website for "pilot counsel compensation" to see what Mr. Yodice might have written about the subject. My search returned 106 articles that discuss the issue of flying for compensation or hire! Must be a hot topic in other places besides VR. :o I haven't read them all, but I read through enough of them to come to two immediate conclusions:

 

1. The FAA is very strict and unforgiving about the "flying for compensation or hire" rules for both private and commercial pilots, and

2. the FAA and NTSB often interpret the FARs in ways that us mere mortals would never expect.

 

Sooo, while I stand by what I said about the Boatpix deal being legal, after reading some of the case studies in "Pilot Counsel" I think my scenario about taking your photographer neighbor up for photo shoots could conceivably get your license suspended, based on what Mr. Yodice has to say about the FAA's interpretation of "commercial activity". (Lame excuse follows: :rolleyes: ) I first learned the FARs 40 years ago and sometime later took a 25 year break from the aviation industry. Boy, have times changed. </lame excuse>. Once again we have an example where free advice is worth what it costs...

 

The "Pilot Counsel" columns are really well worth the time to read through and he covers a lot of different topics from the viewpoint of "look what this guy did that resulted in a violation".

Unfortunately, this content is in the "members only" section of AOPA.org so you have to be a member to access it. Another good reason to join AOPA!

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I have seen you guys argue this before, lol... No one seems to think the FAA considers this to be a "Pay For Training Deal" like you find in the fixed wing world. Granted those training packages are for Commercial Rated Pilots. But still, you have guys with 300 hrs paying to be co jo on a charter or cargo or what ever else fixed wing. There used to be many options from several schools with many hour packages to choose from.

 

Just on example:

Pay for Training Link

 

Statistic from Air Line Pilots Association

non major First Officer is age 35 with 3 years of service and makes $33,000
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