You Want the Truth? FAA seeks more honest behavior, less leasing

Kent S. Jackson | June 3, 2016
The FAA is revising advisory circular AC 91-37A, Truth in Leasing, dated Jan. 16, 1978. Why? The regulation that the AC explains, FAR Part 91.23 has not changed.  Moreover, the FAA isn’t revising the basic premise behind the FAR and the AC. They simply want truth in aircraft leasing: “There are aviation companies certificated to offer charter air service; however, there are also dozens of other companies or individuals who have no air carrier or operating certificate but who are willing to violate the law by evading safety requirements. Before you sign for a charter air service, ask to see their air carrier operating certificate issued by the FAA.”

Part 91.23 and the soon-to-be AC91-37B are intended to explain the leasing alternative to char. A “dry lease” is the lease of an airplane witout crew. The problem is not how a dry lease is written. The problem is how a dry lease can be used by a nefarious operator. If someone offers an airplane with a dry lease and then offers to fly that leased aircraft as well, the lease is no longer “dry.”

The rule hasn’t changed and the problem hasn’t change. The FAA has often ignored illegal operators because its agents have been fully occupied inspecting the legal operators. When the FAA does catch a pilot flying illegal charter, the penalty has been revocation. Not a warning, not a suspension, but a career death penalty. The agency does seem to be stepping up enforcement based on one of its press releases issued last fall in which it proposed a $154,000 civil penalty against three companies and the individual who controlled those companies, for allegedly conducting illegal commercial flight operations. But the again, the penalty was only “proposed.”

It is difficult to find instance in which the FAA…

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