Understanding regulations for charter planes

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December 28, 2014

Taking a charter plane can be done for many reasons. Los Angeles residents may choose to hire a charter plane for vacation purposes or for practical emergency needs. No matter the reason, it is important to understand a bit about what regulations govern air taxi traffic and some basics of charter plane accidents in order to find the safest method of travel possible.

What are some of the requirements for charter plane operators?

According to the National Business Aviation Association, there are more than 5,000 airports in the United States that allow for charter plane traffic. Every charter plane must be certified for operation by the Federal Aviation Administration and be available for safety checks by FAA representatives at any time.

Plane owners and pilots must also develop operation manuals and have them approved by the FAA. All reports required to be kept by plane operators are subject to audit by the FAA at the FAA's discretion and full cooperation is required in such cases.

The U.S. Department of Transportation further indicates that businesses wishing to fly charter planes must submit prospectus to the Special Authorities Division with full details for approval.

What is the safety risk with charter plane travel?

There is always a risk of accidents in any air travel method. According to the NBAA records for 2012, air taxis had an accident rate of 1.07 accidents per 100,000 hours of flying. The fatality rate for air taxis that year was 0.25 deaths for every 100,000 hours of flying. For all general air travel, 6.44 accidents and 1.17 fatalities were recorded for every 100,000 flying hours.

What should consumers do?

Accidents can happen for various reasons including inclement weather, pilot error, mechanical problems and more. For this reason, before hiring any charter plane, consumers are urged to proactively check out a pilot and company. The United States Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration website suggests that consumers seek the following information from potential charter plane businesses:

  • Their Federal Aviation Administration Carrier Operations Certificate numbers.
  • The company name listed on their FAA Carrier Operations Certificate.
  • The name and contact information for the local FAA Flight Standards District Office.

From there, consumers can call district offices to get more information about companies.

Once a company has been vetted and hired, it is also important for consumers to be willing to consult with an attorney in the event that any problem occurs. Getting legal help promptly after an accident or other situation is important.