single-engine air taxi service

A friend and I have been discussing by email Jim Fallows’s ideas about the new generation of small planes and the possible emergence of an air-taxi industry to compete with the airlines. My friend raised the question whether it is legal to offer an air-taxi service using single-engine planes. This is a new one on me. Does anyone know whether the FARs require that air-taxi services be offered solely in twins?

A friend and I have been discussing by email Jim Fallows’s ideas about the new generation of small planes and the possible emergence of an air-taxi industry to compete with the airlines. My friend raised the question whether it is legal to offer an air-taxi service using single-engine planes. This is a new one on me. Does anyone know whether the FARs require that air-taxi services be offered solely in twins?
For what it is worth, my recollection is that air-taxi services in single engine aircraft used to be limited to vfr flight. There was discussion about eliminating this restriction, but I think the vfr restriction is still in place. Best regards, Dave

Single engine, single pilot, IFR has been allowed for air taxi since Aug 1999.

Of course there are equipment requirements, pilot qualifications and operational regulations that that go well beyond our Part 91 rules.

Dave Shepard wrote:

For what it is worth, my recollection is that air-taxi services in single engine aircraft used to be limited to vfr flight. There was discussion about eliminating this restriction, but I think the vfr restriction is still in place. Best regards, Dave
Dave,
If I’m reading FAR 135.163 (“Equipment requirements: Aircraft carrying passengers under IFR”) correctly, single-engine aircraft in a Part 135 operation may indeed carry passengers under IFR. The only restrictions are as follows:
No person may operate an aircraft under IFR, carrying passengers, unless it has–
(a) A vertical speed indicator;
(b) A free-air temperature indicator;
© A heated pitot tube for each airspeed indicator;
(d) A power failure warning device or vacuum indicator to show the power available for gyroscopic instruments from each power source;
(e) An alternate source of static pressure for the altimeter and the airspeed and vertical speed indicators;
(f) For a single-engine aircraft:
(1) Two independent electrical power generating sources each of which is able to supply all probable combinations of continuous inflight electrical loads for required instruments and equipment; or
(2) In addition to the primary electrical power generating source, a standby battery or an alternate source of electric power that is capable of supplying 150% of the electrical loads of all required instruments and equipment necessary for safe emergency operation of the aircraft for at least
one hour;
(g) For multi-engine aircraft, at least two generators or alternators each of which is on a separate engine, of which any combination of one-half of the total number are rated sufficiently to supply the electrical loads of all required instruments and equipment necessary for safe emergency operation of the aircraft except that for multi-engine helicopters, the two required generators may be mounted on the main rotor drive train; and
(h) Two independent sources of energy (with means of selecting either) of which at least one is an engine-driven pump or generator, each of which is able to drive all required gyroscopic instruments powered by, or to be powered by, that particular source and installed so that failure of one instrument or source, does not interfere with the energy supply to the remaining instruments or the other energy source unless, for single-engine aircraft in all cargo operations only, the rate of turn indicator has a source of energy separate from the bank and pitch and direction indicators. For the purpose of this paragraph, for multi-engine aircraft, each engine-driven source of energy must be on a different engine.
(i) For the purpose of paragraph (f) of this section, a continuous inflight electrical load includes one that draws current continuously during flight, such as radio equipment, electrically driven instruments, and lights, but does not include occasional intermittent loads.

This paragraph almost sounds like it was written with the SR22 in mind!

(AOPA members can read the FARs on-line at at http://www.aopa.org/members/files/fars/http://www.aopa.org/members/files/fars/.)

Cheers,

Roger

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.
Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins
there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.
Chris

Dave Shepard wrote:

For what it is worth, my recollection is that air-taxi services in single engine aircraft used to be limited to vfr flight. There was discussion about eliminating this restriction, but I think the vfr restriction is still in place. Best regards, Dave

Dave,

If I’m reading FAR 135.163 (“Equipment requirements: Aircraft carrying passengers under IFR”) correctly, single-engine aircraft in a Part 135 operation may indeed carry passengers under IFR. The only restrictions are as follows:

No person may operate an aircraft under IFR, carrying passengers, unless it has–
(a) A vertical speed indicator;
(b) A free-air temperature indicator;
© A heated pitot tube for each airspeed indicator;
(d) A power failure warning device or vacuum indicator to show the power available for gyroscopic instruments from each power source;
(e) An alternate source of static pressure for the altimeter and the airspeed and vertical speed indicators;
(f) For a single-engine aircraft:
(1) Two independent electrical power generating sources each of which is able to supply all probable combinations of continuous inflight electrical loads for required instruments and equipment; or
(2) In addition to the primary electrical power generating source, a standby battery or an alternate source of electric power that is capable of supplying 150% of the electrical loads of all required instruments and equipment necessary for safe emergency operation of the aircraft for at least
one hour;
(g) For multi-engine aircraft, at least two generators or alternators each of which is on a separate engine, of which any combination of one-half of the total number are rated sufficiently to supply the electrical loads of all required instruments and equipment necessary for safe emergency operation of the aircraft except that for multi-engine helicopters, the two required generators may be mounted on the main rotor drive train; and
(h) Two independent sources of energy (with means of selecting either) of which at least one is an engine-driven pump or generator, each of which is able to drive all required gyroscopic instruments powered by, or to be powered by, that particular source and installed so that failure of one instrument or source, does not interfere with the energy supply to the remaining instruments or the other energy source unless, for single-engine aircraft in all cargo operations only, the rate of turn indicator has a source of energy separate from the bank and pitch and direction indicators. For the purpose of this paragraph, for multi-engine aircraft, each engine-driven source of energy must be on a different engine.
(i) For the purpose of paragraph (f) of this section, a continuous inflight electrical load includes one that draws current continuously during flight, such as radio equipment, electrically driven instruments, and lights, but does not include occasional intermittent loads.

This paragraph almost sounds like it was written with the SR22 in mind!

(AOPA members can read the FARs on-line at at http://www.aopa.org/members/files/fars/http://www.aopa.org/members/files/fars/.)

Cheers,

Roger

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.

Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins

there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.

Chris

I talked about this issue with my FBO manager when I was considering a Bonanza. I wanted to buy it and put it onto their lease-back to offset some of the costs. They were interested in the plane because it fit a nice niche for them but they said that it could be operated VFR only while carrying passengers for hire. Had to do with a bunch of redundant equipment and avionics. Now a Bonanza is no Cirrus but I would be suprised if the SRxx could be operated for hire in IFR conditions.

Clearly a Pilatus PC-12 can be used to carry passengers for hire in IMC and I don’t think the reason has anything to do with turbo-prop versus non turbo-prop. Can’t remember the equipment list but it was extensive.

Nick

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.

Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins

there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.

Chris

I talked about this issue with my FBO manager when I was considering a Bonanza. I wanted to buy it and put it onto their lease-back to offset some of the costs. They were interested in the plane because it fit a nice niche for them but they said that it could be operated VFR only while carrying passengers for hire. Had to do with a bunch of redundant equipment and avionics. Now a Bonanza is no Cirrus but I would be suprised if the SRxx could be operated for hire in IFR conditions.

Clearly a Pilatus PC-12 can be used to carry passengers for hire in IMC and I don’t think the reason has anything to do with turbo-prop versus non turbo-prop. Can’t remember the equipment list but it was extensive.

Nick

… under JAA rules, a PC-12 is not even allowed to do SE IR for hire. Probably my earlier remark up there was hence wrong since the regulations seemed to have changed recently in the US. I knew that SE IR commercially was possible for quite a while already in Canada, I didn’t know it’s been changed in the US too.

As for the turbo-props: It may well be that turbo-probs are allowed but pistons not, given that they are much more reliable … But I don’t KNOW that, just a thought.

Chris

As Far as I know PC12’s and Caravans can be operated Commercially and IFR carrying IFR. The now defunct Harbour Air of Tacoma WA did it in Grand Caravans

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.

Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins

there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.

Chris

I talked about this issue with my FBO manager when I was considering a Bonanza. I wanted to buy it and put it onto their lease-back to offset some of the costs. They were interested in the plane because it fit a nice niche for them but they said that it could be operated VFR only while carrying passengers for hire. Had to do with a bunch of redundant equipment and avionics. Now a Bonanza is no Cirrus but I would be suprised if the SRxx could be operated for hire in IFR conditions.

Clearly a Pilatus PC-12 can be used to carry passengers for hire in IMC and I don’t think the reason has anything to do with turbo-prop versus non turbo-prop. Can’t remember the equipment list but it was extensive.

Nick

… under JAA rules, a PC-12 is not even allowed to do SE IR for hire. Probably my earlier remark up there was hence wrong since the regulations seemed to have changed recently in the US. I knew that SE IR commercially was possible for quite a while already in Canada, I didn’t know it’s been changed in the US too.

As for the turbo-props: It may well be that turbo-probs are allowed but pistons not, given that they are much more reliable … But I don’t KNOW that, just a thought.

Chris

FAR 135.163 (Equipment requirements: Aircraft carrying passengers under IFR) seems to answer my original question (Could one operate an air-taxi service using single engine planes?). Glancing through Part 135, I was amazed at the breadth and depth of FAA regulation of this business. I don’t challenge the wisdom of all this regulation from a safety point of view, but it leads me to doubt that the Cirrus planes and planes like them are likely to spawn the air transport revolution that Jim describes in his book. It seems to me that the cost of complying with Part 135 plus the cost of insurance would certainly put the cost of taking a trip in a Cirrus air taxi way above the cost of taking the same trip through hub-and-spoke hell. Maybe the Eclipse jets are more promising in this regard. At best, it seems to me tha the Cirrus planes may turn more “civilians” into pilots.

Stephen Ashley

As Far as I know PC12’s and Caravans can be operated Commercially and IFR carrying IFR. The now defunct Harbour Air of Tacoma WA did it in Grand Caravans

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.

Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins

there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.

Chris

I talked about this issue with my FBO manager when I was considering a Bonanza. I wanted to buy it and put it onto their lease-back to offset some of the costs. They were interested in the plane because it fit a nice niche for them but they said that it could be operated VFR only while carrying passengers for hire. Had to do with a bunch of redundant equipment and avionics. Now a Bonanza is no Cirrus but I would be suprised if the SRxx could be operated for hire in IFR conditions.

Clearly a Pilatus PC-12 can be used to carry passengers for hire in IMC and I don’t think the reason has anything to do with turbo-prop versus non turbo-prop. Can’t remember the equipment list but it was extensive.

Nick

… under JAA rules, a PC-12 is not even allowed to do SE IR for hire. Probably my earlier remark up there was hence wrong since the regulations seemed to have changed recently in the US. I knew that SE IR commercially was possible for quite a while already in Canada, I didn’t know it’s been changed in the US too.

As for the turbo-props: It may well be that turbo-probs are allowed but pistons not, given that they are much more reliable … But I don’t KNOW that, just a thought.

Chris

IMHO, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because you won’t get Mr. Average Businessman to fly in a small single-engine airplane air taxi.

Sorry, but it won’t work if it’s not at least a twin or the size of a PC12.

It’s all a perception of safety issue … not really a rational argument but it doesn’t matter.

Chris

FAR 135.163 (Equipment requirements: Aircraft carrying passengers under IFR) seems to answer my original question (Could one operate an air-taxi service using single engine planes?). Glancing through Part 135, I was amazed at the breadth and depth of FAA regulation of this business. I don’t challenge the wisdom of all this regulation from a safety point of view, but it leads me to doubt that the Cirrus planes and planes like them are likely to spawn the air transport revolution that Jim describes in his book. It seems to me that the cost of complying with Part 135 plus the cost of insurance would certainly put the cost of taking a trip in a Cirrus air taxi way above the cost of taking the same trip through hub-and-spoke hell. Maybe the Eclipse jets are more promising in this regard. At best, it seems to me tha the Cirrus planes may turn more “civilians” into pilots.

Stephen Ashley

As Far as I know PC12’s and Caravans can be operated Commercially and IFR carrying IFR. The now defunct Harbour Air of Tacoma WA did it in Grand Caravans

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.

Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins

there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.

Chris

I talked about this issue with my FBO manager when I was considering a Bonanza. I wanted to buy it and put it onto their lease-back to offset some of the costs. They were interested in the plane because it fit a nice niche for them but they said that it could be operated VFR only while carrying passengers for hire. Had to do with a bunch of redundant equipment and avionics. Now a Bonanza is no Cirrus but I would be suprised if the SRxx could be operated for hire in IFR conditions.

Clearly a Pilatus PC-12 can be used to carry passengers for hire in IMC and I don’t think the reason has anything to do with turbo-prop versus non turbo-prop. Can’t remember the equipment list but it was extensive.

Nick

… under JAA rules, a PC-12 is not even allowed to do SE IR for hire. Probably my earlier remark up there was hence wrong since the regulations seemed to have changed recently in the US. I knew that SE IR commercially was possible for quite a while already in Canada, I didn’t know it’s been changed in the US too.

As for the turbo-props: It may well be that turbo-probs are allowed but pistons not, given that they are much more reliable … But I don’t KNOW that, just a thought.

Chris

IMHO, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because you won’t get Mr. Average Businessman to fly in a small single-engine airplane air taxi.

Sorry, but it won’t work if it’s not at least a twin or the size of a PC12.

It’s all a perception of safety issue … not really a rational argument but it doesn’t matter.

Chris

FAR 135.163 (Equipment requirements: Aircraft carrying passengers under IFR) seems to answer my original question (Could one operate an air-taxi service using single engine planes?). Glancing through Part 135, I was amazed at the breadth and depth of FAA regulation of this business. I don’t challenge the wisdom of all this regulation from a safety point of view, but it leads me to doubt that the Cirrus planes and planes like them are likely to spawn the air transport revolution that Jim describes in his book. It seems to me that the cost of complying with Part 135 plus the cost of insurance would certainly put the cost of taking a trip in a Cirrus air taxi way above the cost of taking the same trip through hub-and-spoke hell. Maybe the Eclipse jets are more promising in this regard. At best, it seems to me tha the Cirrus planes may turn more “civilians” into pilots.

Stephen Ashley

As Far as I know PC12’s and Caravans can be operated Commercially and IFR carrying IFR. The now defunct Harbour Air of Tacoma WA did it in Grand Caravans

It’s ok to fly IFR and commercially … but not together in SE aircraft.

Commercial IFR flights need to be on twins

there are a few countries that are exceptions to the rule, I think Canada is part of those.

Chris

I talked about this issue with my FBO manager when I was considering a Bonanza. I wanted to buy it and put it onto their lease-back to offset some of the costs. They were interested in the plane because it fit a nice niche for them but they said that it could be operated VFR only while carrying passengers for hire. Had to do with a bunch of redundant equipment and avionics. Now a Bonanza is no Cirrus but I would be suprised if the SRxx could be operated for hire in IFR conditions.

Clearly a Pilatus PC-12 can be used to carry passengers for hire in IMC and I don’t think the reason has anything to do with turbo-prop versus non turbo-prop. Can’t remember the equipment list but it was extensive.

Nick

… under JAA rules, a PC-12 is not even allowed to do SE IR for hire. Probably my earlier remark up there was hence wrong since the regulations seemed to have changed recently in the US. I knew that SE IR commercially was possible for quite a while already in Canada, I didn’t know it’s been changed in the US too.

As for the turbo-props: It may well be that turbo-probs are allowed but pistons not, given that they are much more reliable … But I don’t KNOW that, just a thought.

Chris

[damn, sorry about the useless message]

Actually, I disagree with you. Joe Average won’t fly an air-taxi that looks and feels like a little putt-putt death-trap.

However, a 6 place plastic jet is different enough from the current GA deathtrap image that a civilian would let himself be ferried about.

I’ll repeat my other comments about air-taxi (you can zone out now, I know I’m a broken record):

  1. We need infrastructure at regional airports.

    – a bank of taxi cabs or simplified car rental

    similar to the hertz/national walk-up-and

    drive-away concepts.

  2. It needs to become economical. One aspect is

    increased technology and reduced training to

    the eventual goal that your above average cab

    driver (read: a London TAXI driver) could make

    the transition to 135 air taxi driver. Right

    now, that’s not possible.

. We need to make the technology simple enough that your favorite local cab driver

Single engine, single pilot, IFR has been allowed for air taxi since Aug 1999.

Of course there are equipment requirements, pilot qualifications and operational regulations that that go well beyond our Part 91 rules.

Bob,

Am I correct in saying that these additional requirements/qulifications/regulations are as spelled out in FAR 135.163, or are there additional requirements?

Thanks,

Roger