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New Service Lets You Hitch a Ride With Private Planes For Cost of Tank of Gas

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the going-my-way? dept.

Transportation 269

v3rgEz (125380) writes "A new service, Airpooler, matches pilots with passengers looking to head the same way. Since it's not an officially licensed charter service, prices are limited to roughly the passengers' share of the gas, giving pilots a way to share the expense of enjoying the open blue and flyers a taste of their personal pilot."

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Just don't fly.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685823)

Over the ocean

Re:Just don't fly.. (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about 8 months ago | (#46685897)

That's better than into the ocean

No thanks (-1, Flamebait)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#46685841)

"and flyers a taste of their personal pilot.". That sounds... wrong. Or maybe the deal is "ass, gas, or gras"?

Re:No thanks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686191)

Well, now that we're airborn *ZIP* time for you to take a turn at the stick.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686193)

Mmmm..... tasty pilot, when you're stranded in the middle of desert for the 6th week :)

Re:No thanks (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 8 months ago | (#46686517)

I thought it was "grass" like as in pot. Maybe in French airports, foie gras is a currency you can use to pay for transport. Or do you mean "generally recognized as safe?" Because I'd take safety over... uh... ass or gas.

Re:No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686735)

Gras isnt necessarily Foie Gras (from a goose) it can mean anything fatty... just imagine rapper Rich Boy giving a "Dat Gras" approval...

Sounds scary (4, Insightful)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about 8 months ago | (#46685881)

I live near a municipal airport and based on the landings I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a private pilot certified on only a puddle jumper.

Re:Sounds scary (4, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 8 months ago | (#46685943)

Out of curiosity... do you feel differently about cars? (e.g. through services such as Uber and Lyft)

Having a private pilots license (5, Insightful)

bussdriver (620565) | about 8 months ago | (#46686129)

Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT. If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities. It is true when you compare apples to oranges driving is more dangerous; but if you want to even get close to a fair comparison you would compare jets to buses and you'd compare fatalities and injuries separately... since car accidents are far less likely to result in fatalities.

The FAA has strong rules about flying others around and the FAA never changes the regulations, they only add, never remove. The exchange of money at all for any connected reason is going to cause trouble.

Besides, if you thought the taxi lobby was a problem for ride sharing; you'd never even dare to mess with the airline industrial complex (which is so heavily subsidized, it is more of a scam than a market.)

Re:Having a private pilots license (2, Informative)

Immerman (2627577) | about 8 months ago | (#46686357)

I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street. The riskiest part of a flight is typically the take-off and landing, other than that the only real risk is equipment (or pilot) failure, which shouldn't be dramatically affected by the number of other planes in the sky. Obviously if you had 1000x as many planes in the air you'd need to get a little more aggressive about adhering to flight lanes, but adding additional lanes is almost free. The only thing you'd really need to change is increasing the number of airports to avoid creating dangerously dense spots of air (and runway) traffic.

It'd probably also help if we updated the antiquated and error-prone air-traffic control systems. I know there's several far more intuitive systems that have been designed, but I think they mostly haven't seen widespread deployment yet.

Re:Having a private pilots license (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 months ago | (#46686589)

The point is still valid: if something on a car fails, there is a very good chance you'll walk away from it. On an aircraft, not so much.

Re:Having a private pilots license (3, Informative)

mopower70 (250015) | about 8 months ago | (#46686629)

I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street.

You'd think that... but I imagine it's a lot like sailing. I sail on the ocean and even if there's only a handful of boats out there, there's a good chance you're going to come near one of them. Every airplane is dealing with the same flying conditions and a fairly limited number of destinations. You're generally going to want to take the shortest, most fuel-efficient path - along with every other craft up there. In theory there's lots of room to maneuver, but the odds of you occupying the same space as another craft going or coming the same direction are actually pretty good.

Re:Having a private pilots license (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 8 months ago | (#46686689)

Unless your boat is a submarine, there is a whole other dimension of avoid ability with air traffic - you can pass through the same X,Y as long as Z is different.

Is that a very good idea? No, but it will definitely do in an emergency.

Re:Having a private pilots license (2)

bussdriver (620565) | about 8 months ago | (#46686729)

Well, I wasn't intending to talk about MORE flying. I'm not one who supports heavy flying and don't think there should ever be flying cars either. (By the time any such thing is realistic-- if it would ever be-- robots should be doing it all for us. Unless energy is free, land transport is a cheaper use of energy.)

The point is, flying is really dangerous stuff. This is why so much care and precaution is taken and I think the pilot's exam includes enough complexity to double as an IQ test as well. As you likely have noticed, we let any moron drive a car. If we were as strict with cars they would be much safer. Regulation makes flying as safe as it is - but IT IS extremely dangerous by nature. Hell, before requiring checklists the pros made errors and the accident levels dropped 30-40% lower after adding them! No, we'd not have that impact with car checklists; it seems silly to consider it... that is because cars are simple.

In the air, plenty of things can go wrong. If something does, a landing will be attempted if at all possible-- in which case that crash will be during landing.

They've been working on new traffic control since I was a teen. It never moves forward; I don't know why... We could have computers take it all over today with probably fewer problems but then we'd wipe out a lot of jobs...

Re:Having a private pilots license (2, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 8 months ago | (#46686797)

I don't know, aside from a few mountains that mostly stay put there's nothing to hit in the air except other planes, and there's a LOT more room to maneuver than on the street. The riskiest part of a flight is typically the take-off and landing, other than that the only real risk is equipment (or pilot) failure, which shouldn't be dramatically affected by the number of other planes in the sky. Obviously if you had 1000x as many planes in the air you'd need to get a little more aggressive about adhering to flight lanes, but adding additional lanes is almost free. The only thing you'd really need to change is increasing the number of airports to avoid creating dangerously dense spots of air (and runway) traffic.

It'd probably also help if we updated the antiquated and error-prone air-traffic control systems. I know there's several far more intuitive systems that have been designed, but I think they mostly haven't seen widespread deployment yet.

Run out of gas in a car? Put put put putttt.... walk. Run out of gas in a plane? AerrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRR... CRASH! And that's the consequence of a benign failure mode. Imagine the swift and merciless outcome of a more dramatic failure like a spun bearing or broken crankshaft. Powered planes and gliders have basically nothing in common, even though the public likes to imagine that running out of gas in a plane means soaring gently until you land on a convenient 4-lane road or meticulously preened grass field.

Re:Having a private pilots license (4, Insightful)

RavenLrD20k (311488) | about 8 months ago | (#46687021)

even though the public likes to imagine that running out of gas in a plane means soaring gently until you land on a convenient 4-lane road or meticulously preened grass field

Ok, I get that a plane isn't going to glide as well as a glider that's designed for, well, gliding; but it's not going to drop like a stone either, unless you suck at buying planes and vetting designs. You control your airspeed with your pitch, and so long as you don't let it drop below the minimum airspeed to generate lift, you can keep a dead plane in the air for a while. Long enough that you can find someplace to put down where you'll get minimal damage for the area. Keep your head about you and keep from stalling the lift, always have an emergency landing target in mind, and so long as you haven't been hit by a missile you should be ok. Granted, it's probably not going to be the most gentile landing, and the likelihood that the plane will be able to fly again isn't too good unless you really get lucky on finding the perfect field/road/clearing to put down on, but that's why you keep emergency supplies on board for first aid, flares and rations... right?

Re:Having a private pilots license (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46687055)

Run out of gas in a plane? AerrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRR... CRASH!

You're an idiot.

The plane becomes a glider.

the public likes to imagine that running out of gas in a plane means soaring gently until you land on a convenient 4-lane road or meticulously preened grass field

Having done so, yes it does.

Re:Having a private pilots license (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46686811)

Your post is basicaly nonsense from top to bottom.
Perhaps you should attempt to make a PPL (private pilot license) first befire giving suggestions how to improve flight lanes and air traffic control.

Re:Having a private pilots license (4, Interesting)

bradorsomething (527297) | about 8 months ago | (#46686609)

If you do not hit something at the end of your flight, you have either been abducted by aliens or achieved orbit. Neither are good. It's how controlled that strike is that concerns people.

If you are using your CC to buy gas, (1)

Marrow (195242) | about 8 months ago | (#46686697)

then the pilot never touches the money and you are a friend/passenger.

Re:Having a private pilots license (2)

spmkk (528421) | about 8 months ago | (#46686699)

Cars are forgiving, the sky is NOT.

99% of the time that I'm flying a plane, I'm more than a mile from anything else in the sky and at least 1000 feet from anything on the ground.

99% of the time that I'm driving a car, I'm within 50 feet of another car and less than 10 feet from something else I can hit. And my car's not going all that much slower than a Cessna.

If as many people flew small planes as people drive it would not be as safe in terms of fatalities.

Well...that's kind of the point, isn't it? There AREN'T as many people who fly small planes as there are people who drive, and those people are generally far better trained/qualified. So sure, if general aviation was totally different than it actually is, it might not be as safe.

Besides, if you thought the taxi lobby was a problem for ride sharing; you'd never even dare to mess with the airline industrial complex (which is so heavily subsidized, it is more of a scam than a market.)

Meh. IMO this really isn't a threat to commercial aviation - not even private/charter commercial operators. I think this service is going to be brought down by a lack of adoption (insufficient demand) and a deficit of pilots (insufficient supply). There just aren't very many of us, even fewer who own planes, and fewer still who fly regularly. The aviation industry doesn't need to worry much about this.

Re:Having a private pilots license (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 8 months ago | (#46687031)

since car accidents are far less likely to result in fatalities.

Except for the ~40,000 every year.

Re:Sounds scary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686155)

No great love for taxis but that does seem like a business that should have some regulation and oversight.

If you happen to be driving from one town to another and arrange for a passenger that's one thing. Letting the passenger influence the destination, beyond a short distance from where you were going anyways, and hoping for a tip. Well that does seem to have crossed the line and commercial oversight would be fair.

Re:Sounds scary (2, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | about 8 months ago | (#46686515)

The real question is: does anything go badly wrong if things like Uber and Lyft are *not* regulated?

Turns out: not really. There isn't a plague of Uber drivers hauling passengers off to the boonies and robbing them. In my experience they're a lot friendlier and saner than the local cabbies.

Re:Sounds scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46687045)

The real question is: does anything go badly wrong if things like Uber and Lyft are *not* regulated? Turns out: not really. There isn't a plague of Uber drivers hauling passengers off to the boonies and robbing them. In my experience they're a lot friendlier and saner than the local cabbies.

And in the early days of the Internet security was not a big issue either. We are way too early to draw any conclusion. However history does offers a lesson. I'm sure the first taxis had friendly and sane drivers too, and regulation and oversight was eventually found to be necessary.

Plus there are the lawyers. Lets see what happens with passenger injuries and lawsuits too.

Re:Sounds scary (0)

geekmux (1040042) | about 8 months ago | (#46686233)

I live near a municipal airport and based on the landings I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a private pilot certified on only a puddle jumper.

I live near a major airport and based on the baggage inspections I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a major airline certified "safe" by the TSA.

You choose where the larger risk is, but let's not be delusional in our thinking that one is much safer than the other..

Re:Sounds scary (1)

timeOday (582209) | about 8 months ago | (#46686581)

You are dead wrong. Commercial aviation is FAR safer than civil aviation. The difference is so large that baggage inspections and terrorism in general aren't even significant to the discussion.

Re:Sounds scary (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 8 months ago | (#46687069)

To be fair, terrorism isn't significant to any discussion.

Except spending government money. Then it's great!

Re:Sounds scary (1)

spmkk (528421) | about 8 months ago | (#46687057)

I live near a municipal airport and based on the landings I've seen I'm not sure I would entrust my life to a private pilot certified on only a puddle jumper.

Honest question: have any of these landings that you've seen actually not been successful? Has there been even one that didn't end with the plane either taking off again or taxiing back to the ramp and its occupants getting out uninjured?

in your heart, you know Mojo is right (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 8 months ago | (#46687059)

"You gotta be insane to fly in small private planes"

um... (4, Funny)

edibobb (113989) | about 8 months ago | (#46685901)

I don't think I want to get into an unknown plane flown by an unknown pilot who needs to share the fuel bill.

Re:um... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46685979)

Admit it, you're just looking for an excuse to get crotch-groped again. ;-)

Re:um... (5, Insightful)

Bobberly (1677220) | about 8 months ago | (#46686017)

As a pilot, I'm not sure how to take your remark. I'm pretty sure the rigorous training and medical certifications I've completed will have you in much safer hands than the trip you take to the grocery store from your house. What are the requirements for driving a 3 ton vehicle these days, heartbeat and visit to the local DL office?

Re:um... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46686217)

Something goes wrong in a vehicle, the vast majority of the time you end up stuck on the road.
In a plane you are likely to die.

I've know a lot of pilots. Some a great, others are barely maintaining min standards, and their safety checking is...less then one would like.

Re:um... (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 8 months ago | (#46686937)

Something goes wrong in a vehicle, the vast majority of the time you end up stuck on the road.

Things go wrong much less in a plane, and when they do the plane has backups for most systems that have any likelihood of failing. Also, all of those systems undergo thorough inspection every year (even more often for rentals). So yes, when something serious goes wrong in a plane, it is far more difficult to safely "pull over" but the level of rigor preventing those bad things from happening more than makes up for it. On top of all that, it's not like anyone is stopping you from asking the pilot to show you his logbook prior to the flight.

Re:um... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686503)

I'm a pilot too. I know all too well how "rigorous" that training is and how arbitrary and silly the medical certificate can be.

I know multi-kilo hour pilots who have no clue how to handle hard IMC, inflight ice, over-water flights, soft/short field landings, or even do a weight and balance.

I also know some idiots who I will not allow at the controls of any airplane I am in, regardless of what certificates they hold. I have been flying for 25 years. There is a lot of deadly ignorance out there.

Re:um... (2, Insightful)

Hobadee (787558) | about 8 months ago | (#46686765)

Mod parent up!

As an armchair pilot, and aviation enthusiast, I've seen some "pilots" do some stupid stuff! Listening to ATC and hearing private pilots who barely know how to tune their radio is a little scary. While I'm sure GP is a great pilot, and lots of pilots are great pilots, the entry level for a private pilots license is fairly low. (If it weren't so expensive, I would have my license already - that's a *really* scary thought that someone would trust me with an airplane!)

Re:um... (3, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | about 8 months ago | (#46686525)

They probably let Dick Cheney drive, so you don't even need a heartbeat. (He's also prone to shoot people in the face, too.)

Re:um... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686737)

They probably let Dick Cheney drive, so you don't even need a heartbeat. (He's also prone to shoot people in the face, too.)

Hell, we KNOW they let Ted Kennedy and his whole damn clan drive.

Re:um... (3, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | about 8 months ago | (#46686649)

What are the requirements for driving a 3 ton vehicle these days, heartbeat and visit to the local DL office?

You forgot massive and unnecessarily burdensome documentation of your identity to help make sure college students, the elderly, and the working poor don't vote.

Re:um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686683)

What are the requirements for driving a 3 ton vehicle these days, heartbeat and visit to the local DL office?

In the US or in other countries? In France, for driving cars it's minimum 20 hours of driving lessons on dual command cars + a 30 minute exam.

Re:um... (2)

Kamiza Ikioi (893310) | about 8 months ago | (#46686065)

I don't think I want to get into an unknown plane flown by an unknown pilot who needs to share the fuel bill.

And you personally know all of the pilots before you board any plane?

Re:um... (2)

schlachter (862210) | about 8 months ago | (#46686119)

I allow Delta to vouch for their pilots, based on their domain expertise and interest in preserving their billions in capital.

I wouldn't trust your average yahoo who has a plane and license.

Re:um... (2)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | about 8 months ago | (#46686407)

> I wouldn't trust your average yahoo who has a plane and license.

Fortunately your average yahoo does not have a plane and a license. In Canada and the US (I can't speak for anywhere else) getting a pilot's license is not easy. It requires significant training, studying, and testing. Your average yahoo simply would not be able to cut it.

Re:um... (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46686905)

In fact getting a PPL in USA and Canada (and for that matter in Australia or south Africa) is very easy.
Try to get one in France or Germany, that is hard work and expensive.
For me it is cheaper to get a british PPL in the USA both in terms of money (including my travel to the school and my stay there) and time than doing the same in Germany. And: I may fly more planes!

Re:um... (5, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 8 months ago | (#46686303)

And you personally know all of the pilots before you board any plane?

On a commercial air carrier flight, I know that the pilot has been to recurrent training within the last six months (I think it is, maybe 12), has had a check pilot evaluate his performance within the same time frame, and has a second fully qualified pilot sitting in the other seat. He's had intensive simulator training to deal with a vast number of potential in-flight emergencies. I know both of them are fully IFR qualified in a fully IFR capable aircraft in case the weather deteriorates enroute. Both have 1st Class medical certificates which involve a lot more than "kicking the tires and peeing in a cup".

On a private flight, I'm pretty sure the pilot has had an hour of flight sometime in the last two years (a biennial flight review) and has made three landings that he could walk away from in the last 90 days (or heals really quickly). The airplane has probably been inspected sometime within the last year for airworthiness. But there is little overview by the FAA for those requirements. If he owns his own plane nobody really checks until the NTSB does the investigation after the crash. If he's renting then the FBO will probably make sure he's met the legal minimums. There's no easy way to tell rental vs. owner. And the medical? The last time the pilot may have seen any doctor was a decade or more ago*.

I fear this kind of ride-share is going to make the FAA look closer at the requirements for private pilots, not simplify them.

* sport pilot rules. All a pilot needs for a "medical" is a driver's license as long as he's not had an application for a medical certificate denied, revoked, suspended or withdrawn.

Re:um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686127)

Aircraft mech here. I'd kick in on the avgas or jet fuel bill.

Aviation fuel is expensive. This isn't like pitching in for gas money when you are a teenager.

Re:um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686421)

That isn't funny. That's actually insightful. I know more than a few pilots that I would never fly an airplane with even though I am a pilot myself.

I have seen my share of stupid pilot tricks over the years. Unless these service participants are held to commercial standards with at least part 135 compliant aircraft, I would just say no.

are the pilots allowed to group you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685907)

otherwise, how will it be safe from terrorists?

Potential FAA issues (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685929)

There are some severe legal questions surrounding this service. In a nutshell, the FAA considers anyone who advertises at all ("Holding out" as a provider in their terminology) as a charter service. The fact that it's limited to the passenger's share of the costs is not relevant as far as the FAA is concerned -- you need a valid commercial pilot's license and a 121 license to do this legally in the opinion of many.

Re:Potential FAA issues (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about 8 months ago | (#46686023)

Agreed. For non-commercial flights, you are not allowed to accept more than a share of the costs but there is more to the rule than just that and this service is swaying into murky waters.

Re:Potential FAA issues (3, Funny)

Richy_T (111409) | about 8 months ago | (#46686039)

Sorry, cloudy skies :D

Re:Potential FAA issues (3, Funny)

plover (150551) | about 8 months ago | (#46686447)

Well, it's still murky waters if random-pilot-of-the-day does it wrong...

Re:Potential FAA issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686091)

It'll be interesting to see how it plays out. When I was flying, I understood I could charge for the portion of gas, but not for anything on top, which made sense. I had never heard anything about the advertising aspect - but it'll really open the door on what is advertising? I mean, if I'm in a hanger, and I tell some folks I'm headed from KSEA to KLAX, and open to accept anyone who wants to chip in on gas, is that advertising? What if I'm at a party and I tell some friends were headed down to wherever, and they say they'd love to do that some time and I say well chip in for gas and you can do it this time! Is that advertising?

Advertising is spreading a message, and I think that there's no other way to do the gas share thing than to advertise. The FAA should stick with the not-for-profit rule. If I'm headed some way, and I want to let some strangers chip in for gas why shouldn't I be allowed to?

Probably the better thing though is to put some better rules around it... For example, requiring full disclosure about ones piloting history, air craft history, and certification status. E.g. "I just got my PPL last week - let's go fly into the clouds" yeah erm uhm no.

That said, given what happened with Asiana 214 and Malaysian 370, you might just be better off with an enthusiastic young pilot than the alternative... :-)

Passenger can not influence destination ... (3, Interesting)

perpenso (1613749) | about 8 months ago | (#46686099)

My understanding is that this is treading on very dangerous grounds with respect to FAA guidelines.

A "share" of the cost includes all expenses of the flight. Rental, fuel, etc. The pilot and passenger must each pay half of total expenses.

The passenger can have no influence on the destination. If the pilot is flying from A to B and the passenger tags along, OK. But if the pilot just wants hours and goes to B because the passenger needs to go there then I think there is an FAA regulations problem and the FAA will consider the flight commercial.

That said I am not a lawyer nor a FAA guidelines expert. All I know is what my instructor told me many years ago in ground school. "The person showing you their FAA ID is never ever there to help you. Never hand your license to the FAA official to help them read / inspect it, that can be considered surrendering your license if the FAA official wishes to interpret the act as such. Keep the license in your hand and move it closer to their face if they are having a hard time reading it, pull it away if they reach for it. If they ask for it tell them you will be handing it to your attorney and they can speak with him/her."

Re:Potential FAA issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686151)

There are some severe legal questions surrounding this service. In a nutshell, the FAA considers anyone who advertises at all ("Holding out" as a provider in their terminology) as a charter service. The fact that it's limited to the passenger's share of the costs is not relevant as far as the FAA is concerned -- you need a valid commercial pilot's license and a 121 license to do this legally in the opinion of many.

What are, some kind of big government communist?

Re:Potential FAA issues (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686163)

move the 'service' to Canada, tell FAA to go autofelatiate.

Re:Potential FAA issues (4, Interesting)

bobbied (2522392) | about 8 months ago | (#46686239)

There are some severe legal questions surrounding this service. In a nutshell, the FAA considers anyone who advertises at all ("Holding out" as a provider in their terminology) as a charter service. The fact that it's limited to the passenger's share of the costs is not relevant as far as the FAA is concerned -- you need a valid commercial pilot's license and a 121 license to do this legally in the opinion of many.

I would agree. As a private pilot, I can share costs with passengers, but I personally would limit that to people that I know and routinely associate with. NEVER am I going to haul somebody someplace for their benefit only, but if we are heading out on a weekend trip together and they want to help out with the fuel costs, seems that would not be a 121 situation and my private pilot license would be good enough.

I can NOT imagine how a smart phone app arranged ride would be OK with the FAA. Taking strangers up in hopes of getting reimbursed for a fraction of the fuel cost seems to be a problem to me. First off, DON'T go flying with some yahoo you don't know who agrees to this because if they are stupid enough to take strangers up in a light aircraft for fuel shares you don't want them as a pilot. Second, many people I've taken up in a smaller aircraft have been uncomfortable with experience. I cannot imagine how anybody would hop into an C172 with a stranger as the pilot. Finally, I'd hate to see the insurance claims and lawsuits should some private pilot ball one up while carrying "paying" passengers who are strangers.

Drive, or take a commercial fight, or if you want to take some one as a private pilot, make it a gift and pay the costs yourself.

Re:Potential FAA issues (2)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46686523)

The next insurance renewal will almost certainly forbid such activities. They'd be fools not to. I'm a little surprised there isn't a clause in auto insurance contracts about it (unless current laws require coverage of any passenger).

Re:Potential FAA issues (5, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#46686315)

As a private pilot the legal issues worry me. The pilot training, aircraft maintenance, and operating requirements are very different for different types operations. The "sharing costs" is based on the concept that you can fly your friends to Las Vegas and split the costs. It is assumed that you have reasonable informed your friends of the risks. If you are taking other "passengers" for some form of compensation, have they *really* been informed of the risks - which are dramatically higher for private flights than for air carriers.

If there is an aircraft malfunction and someone is injured, what are the insurance / lawsuit issues? what happens if a passenger damages your airplane - stepping in the wrong place, can do thousands of dollars of damage to some planes. What if you can't reach the intended destination due to weather - does the passenger get a refund? What if you are delayed? It is legal for private flights to operate under weather conditions that are not legal for commercial flights -what happens here? Fuel is less than 1/2 the total operating costs for my plane - do I get to split all costs, or just fuel?

We are also talking a lot of money here. A Bonanza or Cirrus total operating cost is probably ~$200/hour, so a "quick flight" from San Francisco to Las Vegas is $1000 round trip, close to 2X that in my Baron. Non-pilot passengers may expect a level of service and performance that just isn't reasonable for small planes.

Its a nice idea, and I'd love to participate, but there are too many possible problems.

Re:Potential FAA issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686427)

Yeah, I'm thinkin this little project is gonna go down in flames.

Re:Potential FAA issues (2)

slew (2918) | about 8 months ago | (#46686481)

One potential loophole is to attempt to use the exemption (91.321 Carriage of candidates in elections)...

Say, have any potential passengers sign up to be candidates in an election for some public office (create a town in the middle of nowhere called 'Airpool' and everyone who signs up to run for mayor is now part of the club where they can access flight sharing).

Of course these folks aren't doing that, but there are of course probably some more realistic loophole in the code...

Re:Potential FAA issues (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 8 months ago | (#46686935)

I'm not certain, but I believe offering 'gas cost sharing' flights in Germany without an commercial (there are various levels of it, like cargo transport or letters/post and passengers) pilot license is simply illegal.

Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685971)

The best part is NO TSA!!!

Re:Awesome! (1)

Subgenius (95662) | about 8 months ago | (#46686469)

You've obviously never been 'ramp checked'

So, how much does it cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685981)

"Cost of a tank of gas" means nothing to me. I don't fly or maintain aircraft. So for me, "a tank of gas" is $60, but I'm pretty sure I'm not getting on a plane for $30...
Anyone more familiar with flying care to estimate the flight cost of a 4-6 seat plane on a 200 mile trip?

Re:So, how much does it cost? (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about 8 months ago | (#46686015)

My memory is that a small plane costs about twice as much ($) in fuel for the same point-to-point distance.

Re:So, how much does it cost? (4, Informative)

Subgenius (95662) | about 8 months ago | (#46686405)

ROUGH numbers (and yes, I know GPH not MPG).

Typical Cessna 172 flown by a decent pilot, not a speed-demon, will see a burn of about 10-12 gallons per hour in calm skies. 100LL (avgas) is running here at Montgomery Field in San Diego (Gibbs FBO) $6.19/gallon. Assume a full 56-gallon fill ($346), you are are looking at 5-hours runtime @ 105kts, or about 500 miles before refueling.

Not the cheapest way to get there, your plane/burnrate/mileage WILL vary.

Re:So, how much does it cost? (2)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#46686371)

Figure a 4-seat Bonanza or Cirrus costs $200/hour to operate and flies at ~200mph. A Cessna 172 is considerably less, maybe $120/hour, flies at maybe 130mph, but can't carry as much, and has much more limited weather capability. (vague 1/2 of the total cost is fuel)

These are very rough costs, depends on how you count fixed costs, how fast you fly, etc etc.

Small aircraft are NOT a cost efficient way to get around in most cases.

Re:So, how much does it cost? (1)

KingOfBLASH (620432) | about 8 months ago | (#46686539)

For $200 / hour a proper commercial flight will be much less expensive.

Re:So, how much does it cost? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686583)

Flight from Phoenix to Durango vs Driving? 2 hours in a small plane vs 7 hours driving. 1 Person, ~$200 commercial. Add 2-3 people, in that small plane, no difference in gas burned, far cheaper than commercial without the bullshit of 8 hours of check in / gate time. If you value your time, small plane far faster and most likely cheaper too, if more than 1 person going, depending on distance. Anything long distance, faster plane necessary than a 182.

Re:So, how much does it cost? (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46686903)

How much to rent a car in Durango or Phoenix? Because they sure as heck are not going to have public transportation worth anything.

risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46685995)

There is the minor issue that small planes crash 10 times as often as commercial airliners.

Re:risk (2)

stox (131684) | about 8 months ago | (#46686077)

Which is still minuscule when compared to the chances of dying in an auto accident.

Re:risk (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686395)

Which is still minuscule when compared to the chances of dying in an auto accident.

For commercial avaition, that is true. For the Republicans and their GA(general aviation), the accident rate is 7.20 per 100k hours flown. For commercial aviation, there is about 13 million hours flow per year with only one fatal accident since 9/11. The Republicans don't give a fuck about safety. They hate Nader and talked about having him murdered when he pushed to require seatbelts on planes. They later called for his murder when he pushed for 5 MPH bumpers. That is why they love GA. It is very dangerous. They have no regard for life so they fight to make life as cheap as possible. Pushing to make flying more dangerous represents everything they stand for. So, you are wrong about GA being safer than driving. Commerical air, that has less Republican control, is safer, but the Republicans have fucked GA by allowing nearly 600,000 people to be pilots.

Re:risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686567)

If by minuscule, you mean that general aviation has 15 times as many fatalities per mile, or five times as many fatalities per passenger mile than auto travel...

Re:risk (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 8 months ago | (#46687035)

Nope. I know people love to quote that, but all it seems to do is indicate someone can't do statistics.

That number comes form just comparing number of deaths.
When you look at comparing miles moved, number of people operating the vehicles, I don't think it's safer.
Aircariers 1.9 deaths per 100 million planes, auto 1.3 deaths per 100 million cars.

"taste of their personal pilot." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686027)

eww

I don't think this is going to fly... (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#46686059)

... I'm a pilot, and I wouldn't fly as a pax with most of the other pilots I know, especially not under circumstances they are unfamiliar with - like loading down the plane with people and luggage close to gross weight and doing a cross country with it.

Also, this is in some pretty serious gray area. A pilot may not "hold out" for passengers to share fuel on a trip he/she is planning to take. Any kind of "if someone else is going, I'm not going" makes it a Part 121 charter. If pilots start deciding not to go if they don't get a full plane, or if they wait around for an hour for the person who is late, I think they might find themselves violated.

Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (1)

Wookact (2804191) | about 8 months ago | (#46686135)

Really you couldn't wait for an hour for someone who is running late? Thats a bit excessive.

Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 8 months ago | (#46686329)

People use aircraft to travel because their time is valuable.

Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 8 months ago | (#46686529)

People use aircraft to travel because their time is valuable.

Who are we fooling with this?

If that were true, the TSA would have destroyed commercial flying years ago.

Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#46686771)

Point was, if you look like a charter, and act like a charter, chances are the FAA is going to look at you and see a charter.

Re:I don't think this is going to fly... (1)

spmkk (528421) | about 8 months ago | (#46686457)

... I'm a pilot, and I wouldn't fly as a pax with most of the other pilots I know, especially not under circumstances they are unfamiliar with - like loading down the plane with people and luggage close to gross weight and doing a cross country with it.

Really? That hasn't been my experience at all -- for me and most other private pilots I know, cross-country fully loaded makes up at least half of our non-training time. I mean, I've done a bunch of local scenic stuff too, but loading up and going places is kind of what this sport is about.

Also, FWIW I've only ever met 1 or 2 guys that I wouldn't go up with, and in those cases it was their personality more than their flying skills (honestly, I have yet to come across a pilot who got their ticket but couldn't handle a plane).

...or if they wait around for an hour for the person who is late...

I don't know if there's a single pilot under FAA jurisdiction who has never waited an hour for a late passenger/companion to show up for a flight before taking off.

Tried to start this in 1987 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686089)

We tried to do something similar in 1987 -- reservation system for the charter airline industry to fill the "dead" legs (return flights). Prototyped on Tandy 6000 (8MHz 68K, 1M RAM) and PCs with IBM EGA cards (yes, EGA, not VGA).

Never did get it off the ground....

Re:Tried to start this in 1987 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686313)

The founder of AOL also tried doing AOL on the Atari 2600

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GameLine

Maybe it wasn't the time yet.

No way the Republicans will allow this! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686143)

They've spent so much on their own private planes and making GA more democratic means others will also get to participate without being a member of their club of wealth and influence. They'll never let this happen.

FAA/TSA Crackdown in 3...2... (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 8 months ago | (#46686261)

FAA/TSA Crackdown in 3...2...Cavity Search.

We can't have people moving about freely. This is AMERICA.

Re:FAA/TSA Crackdown in 3...2... (3, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 8 months ago | (#46686559)

TSA doesn't give a shit. Go charter a private jet and you can skip all that silliness and they won't care. They want us to feel safe, not be safe.

FAA on the other hand will not be amused.

Hey Samsenpuz (2)

CheezburgerBrown . (3417019) | about 8 months ago | (#46686349)

How about a link to the fucking site instead of this shitty betaboston website.

https://airpooler.com/ [airpooler.com]

I THANK YOU FOR yOUR TIME (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46686563)

9/11 (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about 8 months ago | (#46686621)

Sometimes Forget.

When are the commercial airlines going to protest? (1)

ZZ-Type (577907) | about 8 months ago | (#46686633)

When are the commercial airlines going to protest this service, like the cab industry protested Lyft and Uber?

Please proof your post (1)

azav (469988) | about 8 months ago | (#46686647)

> passengers share of gas

passenger's* share of gas

        passengers = more than one passenger

My opinion as a pilot (5, Informative)

RockyMountain (12635) | about 8 months ago | (#46686723)

I have lost four of my friends to airplane accidents. Two were pilots -- in one case the it clearly his own fault, and in the other it was extremely bad piece of luck. The other two deaths were the direct result of naively trusting the wrong pilot.

I see two flavors of comment so far. Non-pilots saying they think the idea is scary, and pilots saying "aw, pshaw, I am well trained, what is the problem?". Well, I am a pilot myself (commercial pilot and certified flight instructor), yet I strongly agree with the "that's scary" crowd. I've flown many thousands of hours in all sorts of locales, weather, and equipment. I've handled numerous emergencies, with never a scratch. I've taught hundreds of other pilots to fly. But, in all that time, by far the scariest moments I have ever had in the air were occasions where I made the mistake of riding as a passenger with the wrong choice of pilot!

Those who place their faith in the FAA's training standards, simply fail to understand that the ratings indicate compliance with the bare legal minima -- essentially they mean nearly nothing.

Nor does safety correlate with pilot rating. I've met some mere student pilots that I'd sooner trust with my life than many commercial pilots. The variation from one individual pilot to the next, regardless of qualifications, by far exceeds the variations from one rating to another. That variation comes from preparedness, attitude experience and common sense. Bottom line, with the exception of airlines (where I have no choice!) I will NEVER ride with a pilot whose experience, skills, and attitude I do not personally know first hand. And, I'd never advise friends or loved ones to ride with "just any old pilot".

Re:My opinion as a pilot (2)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#46686969)

Actually, the scariest part I'm seeing is all the PILOTS saying, "No way would I do that. Have you SEEN those other pilots?"

Re:My opinion as a pilot (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 8 months ago | (#46686991)

Hear hear... as I stated in another post (and was promptly vilified for), I wouldn't fly with most of the pilots I know. Too many pilots think that having gone through the training makes them a good pilot, when in reality, walking away from your checkride with your signoff means you are just barely good enough to pass the government's very very low standards. It certainly does not mean you are a "good" pilot, and absolutely does not mean you are a "safe" pilot.

Hitching a Ride (1)

warren.oates (925589) | about 8 months ago | (#46686981)

I had a friend, years and years ago, would go out to an airfield and "hitch a ride" on a private 'plane going to either somewhere he wanted to go, or (sometimes) to just anywhere the pilot was going that sounded interesting. He would have been about 19 years old then, like me. I was too nervous to try it on my own, and it wasn't the sort of thing that two guys could do in a small 'plane, so I never did it.
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