Flying Blind with Government Planning

Monday, July 14, 2014

Here's a sign of the times. Flytenow, an online flight-sharing service, is seeking to allay the legal concerns of its clientele that flight-sharing might run afoul of regulatory authorities, namely the FAA.

On February 12th, 2014, Flytenow submitted an official FAA Chief Counsel request for legal interpretation of its services. The FAA's self-imposed deadline to respond to our request was June 18th, 2014.

In lieu of a formal deliberation from the FAA, Flytenow offers the following interpretation of the [Federal Aviation Regulations] in consultation with Gregory Winton of the Aviation Law Firm for general information purposes only... [link in original]
This "informational" post goes on for about another 500 words interpreting regulatory arcana regarding whether the pilots who offer services are "holding out" or share a "common purpose" with their prospective passengers.

I am no attorney, but working within this system by interpreting these rules to cover this new business model should be a no-brainer even for a bureaucrat. (These rules shouldn't even be on the books since they criminalize mutual agreements between individuals that harm no one, but still...) Nevertheless, in over four months, the FAA couldn't or wouldn't cough up an answer.

For anyone who subscribes to the notion that we need the government to monitor and regulate every last move we make, I ask this question: "If the government is supposed to be so wise and powerful, why can't it answer even a simple question like this one in the more-than-ample time it gave itself?" This is not to frame the issue of government regulation as a matter of mere competence, although it is an interesting way of considering that issue.

-- CAV

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