WASHINGTON (CN) - Private pilots who are exempted from the federal requirement that a commercial license is needed for flights for hire, because they volunteer transportation for non-emergency medical treatment, have asked for another exemption so they can get paid for it.
The pilots have petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to be able to accept reimbursement for some or all of their expenses while making "charity flights" involving non-emergency transport of people and organs.
The FAA has responded that a private pilot license is considered an "entry level" license and that federal law prohibits those carrying private pilot licenses from transporting passengers for money. That requires a commercial license.
"These private pilots are participating in an activity that would otherwise be prohibited," the FAA said.
The agency added, however, that, "The FAA has determined this activity can be conducted safely with limits applied to the (charity) organizations, pilots and aircraft. Beginning in 2010, the FAA issued several exemptions to charitable medical flight organizations granting relief from the requirements of [federal law]. The exemptions contain conditions and limitations that are intended to raise the level of safety for these flights."
The requirements include developing a pilot qualification and training program, using flight release documentation, filing an instrument flight plan for each flight, and higher aircraft airworthiness requirements.
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