Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 27

Operational Control and Pilots
Operational control, though always
held by the air carrier for Part 135
flights, is often exercised on a day-today basis by the pilots. It is important
that the designated Pilot-in-Command
(PIC) be aware of whether a specific
flight or series of flights is being
operated under Part 135 or Part 91.
The PIC should also be told which
entity has operational control of any
Part 91 flights — the air carrier or the
aircraft owner.
If a PIC fails to comply with the
certificate holder’s instructions, he
or she might be operating contrary
to Part 119 or Part 135 and could be
subject to certificate action by the FAA.
Let us consider an example. The
pilots of a particular air carrier have
been told to fly passengers on a Part
135 flight from Centennial Airport
to Cleveland Hopkins Airport. The
flight is subject to a short weather
delay at Centennial, and en route
the passenger asks if he can land
at Burke Lakefront Airport instead
to get to a meeting in downtown
Cleveland on time. Is the pilot failing
to adhere to the certificate holder’s
instructions if he lands at the new
destination? Probably not. If the PIC
is operating within the limitations of

the air carrier’s GOM and Operations
Specifications (i.e. the air carrier does
not specifically prohibit this sort of
activity, the runway is long enough,
the weather is good enough, the flight
does not extend the duty day beyond
legal limits, and other variables), this
is not an operational control issue.
This is a passenger request, and it can
be decided by the PIC.
What the FAA is specifically
looking for in this “failure to adhere
to the certificate holder’s instructions”
is more related to compensation
for air transportation. The FAA
is alert to scenarios in which an
aircraft owner arranges presumed
Part 91 flights, fills the plane with
buddies or business colleagues, and
with a wink and handshake accepts
compensation for the flight directly
from the passengers rather than
conducting the flight under Part 135
and having the air carrier manage
the compensation aspect. In some
of these scenarios, the flight crew is
(or should be) aware of the money
changing hands.
The bottom line is: an air
carrier’s pilots must know who holds
operational control of which flights or
series of flights; and, that for flights
under the air carrier’s operational

control, they work for the air carrier
alone. In some cases customer
requests can be met, but only within
the air carrier’s manual requirements,
policies, and procedures.

Part 91 vs. Part 135
There are many significant
differences between Part 91 and Part
135 operations. Part 91 provides
very general requirements to help
ensure safety in air transportation.
In Part 91 operations, the aircraft
owner and pilot(s) are responsible for
complying with Part 91 regulations
and maintaining a safe flight
environment.
Part 135 was written to help ensure
the safety of the paying public. It
creates a minimum standard level
of safety for air carriers providing
charter services. In Part 135
operations, the primary responsibility
for safety lies with the certificate
holder and pilot(s).
One of the most critical differences
is which entity is responsible for
operational control. In Part 91
operations, the aircraft owner is always
responsible for operational control.
In Part 135 operations, operational
control must be defined. The air
carrier MUST hold operational control
Continued on page 29

Aviation Business Journal | 1st Quarter 2013	

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Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013

Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - Cover1
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - Cover2
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 3
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 4
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - 5
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Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - Cover3
Aviation Business Journal 1st Quarter 2013 - Cover4
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