Hours over Summer Break

Hello, My son is a Freshman at an accredited 141 University who will finish his Freshman Year with his Instrument rating. He flies at our local airport when he comes home for break and over the Summer. He belongs to a flight club and pays only 99.00 hr which is less expensive from what his college charges.

All friends and family enjoy taking flights with him to local airports, fly-by past the house, and introductory flights etc… My thought as a parent trying to fund this overwhelming cost for a flight student, is to do the following this Summer:

Offer flights for friends, acquaintances, contacts, etc… for people and have them pay for the flight. Obviously he is a year shy of his commercial, but why not take advantage of his ability and have him get some “free” hours this Summer. I would handle the finances and leave him out of the equation.

Really don’t want to challenge the FAA on this, but if everything financially is done by me, what is the harm. Just need a break over the Summer so the money he makes on the line service goes to School vs his summer flying, could be financially beneficial.

Any thoughts would be great. Next year he will be heading to the beach for some banner towing, but this year I think this will help.

Love this forum and appreciate all feedback.


Totally understand the raising cost. Not a lawyer, but I would recommend only “charge” your family and friends 49% of the flight.

Great Thought Ryan!!, 49% could be a loop hole to explore… Appreciate the feedback!!


That is not good advice, it needs to be “an equal share” and at that is still a really bad idea.



I would strongly recommend against this. Your son would be very close to operating as a commercial pilot, but without the license. Charging for rides, even at cost, is not allowed. At a very minimum, your son would need to pay at least an equal share of the expenses. Either way, I would stay away from this. Your son has minimal experience and in the unfortunate event that something happens, you are opening yourself up to huge liabilities.

I would consult with an aviation attorney before going down this path.


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Here’s a nice piece from the AOPA of the subject:

Personally I wouldn’t go anywhere near it. Getting creative with the FARs at the beginning of your career is never a good idea. I can imagine an interesting conversation before a checkride as to the nature of ALL these short local flights? Airline application question #1: Have you ever violated an FAR?


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Thanks for all the great feedback. I guess it is best to steer away from my idea. My son was against the idea from the start, however I am the one trying to fund this overwhelming amount of $ for his education.

I am sure it will get better as he progresses through his commercial, and CFI down the road, but his hands seem pretty tied with only his IFR.

If anyone has any ideas on picking up some hours over the summer, I am all ears.

Thanks again,


Other than the occasional banner towing job, it can be very hard to find entry level flying positions, the exception to this being a CFI. I think that you will find that until your son has his CFI, his options will be limited.



I’m currently working on my ground school for my PPL so I am not as qualified as the others answering you; but I am sure FAA regulations state your son cannot be paid as a pilot and is only able to ask his passengers as a whole to cover no more than 50% of operation costs. It is just for compensation, not profit. But hey, maybe his friends will put an unrelated thank you money in a birthday card a few months down the road.

Hi Cameron,

Thanks for reaching out. Yes it looks we will just have to deal with it until he finishes his Commercial after his Sophomore year. We have hooked up with a couple Banner towing companies at the shore which will provide over 300 hours over the Summer. In addition, he will work on his CFI which will give him some hours at college, and a few bucks in his pocket.

Wish you all the best on your training,


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