AOPA Takes Issue with FAA Compensation Definition

 - July 19, 2021, 11:43 AM

In addition to the FAA’s July 12 directive requiring letters of deviation authority (LODA) for instructors to be compensated for providing training in experimental-category aircraft, AOPA said agency lawyers are also applying an Advisory Circular intended to define “compensation” for sharing flight expenses to instructors in limited, primary, and experimental aircraft.

Advisory Circular 61-142 defines “compensation as the receipt of anything of value that is contingent on the pilot operating the aircraft…[it] does not require actual payment of funds…Accumulation of flight time and goodwill in the form of expected future economic benefits can be considered compensation. Furthermore, the pilot does not have to be the party receiving the compensation; compensation occurs even if a third party receives a benefit as a result of the flight.”

While flight instructors giving training or reviews in standard-category aircraft are not affected by this recent move, AOPA maintains “it is a roadblock for those seeking instruction in these three specific categories of aircraft, potentially causing some to forego proper training and therefore impacting safety.”

“To stay out of the FAA’s legal crosshairs until the courts decide whether the FAA’s legal arguments are winning ones, you’ll need to get the FAA’s permission first,” AOPA advised. “For training in experimental aircraft, that means obtaining a LODA. For limited and primary category aircraft, that means obtaining an exemption.”