14 CFR §91.409(b) states

...no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides, unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has received an annual or 100-hour inspection and been approved for return to service in accordance with part 43 of this chapter or has received an inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter.

What if I want to give instruction to a friend or family and they are not paying me to do it? Would I be exempt from having to do a 100 hour inspection?

  • $\begingroup$ "which that person provides" does that means that if the student provides the plane then it will be exempt from the 100 hour inspection as well? $\endgroup$ Jul 13, 2016 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ @ratchetfreak Yes. That is what that means. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Jul 13, 2016 at 12:46
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    $\begingroup$ Your best bet is to get a legal interpretation from the FAA. The intent is to ensure the aircraft is in an airworthy state when the student pilot doesn't know what to look at to verify its condition. $\endgroup$
    – wbeard52
    Jul 13, 2016 at 12:48
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    $\begingroup$ Are they paying for the aircraft? Or are you footing that entire bill too? Fuel is expensive, it would be hard to convince an FAA inspector you are giving out free pilots licenses to friends... $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Jul 13, 2016 at 17:06
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    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer I think who is paying for the plane is a different question, but perhaps a follow-up to this one. The scenario I am thinking of is: hypothetically I own an airplane for my private use. I am a CFI and a friend and I are flying to Vegas for the weekend. So we are going somewhere incidentally together and could split expenses, can I give him loggable flight instruction on the trip to Vegas without having to have a 100-hour inspection? So, I've provided the plane, we are going somewhere together that we both want to go, and I want to let him fly as a student pilot on the journey. $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Jul 13, 2016 at 21:35

4 Answers 4


I agree with acpilot that if you're merely renting the plane to this pilot then no 100hr is required. Rentals are not "for hire" operations.

I do that with a Cherokee that I rent out. I don’t provide the CFI and I do not fly it for others. Several students have taken their practical tests in the plane and I made sure they could explain the FAR to the DPE and they had no problems.

As several commenters have stated, it gets tricky when you own the plane and provide instruction. The FAA considers lots of things as compensation that you and I would not. Goodwill, logging flight time, paying for gas, or even paying for lunch or a beer.

I found a clarification letter from the FAA at Aviation Banter. http://www.aviationbanter.com/showthread.php?t=11563&page=2

May 3, 1984 Mr. Perry Rackers Jefferson City Flying Service

Dear Mr. Rackers This is in reply to your request of May 1, 1984, that we render an opinion regarding the applicability of the 100-hour inspections requirement of Section 91.169(b) of the Federal Aviation Regulations to rental aircraft. Section 91.169(b) of the Federal Aviation Regulations provides that, except as noted in Section 91.169(c), a person may not operate an aircraft carrying any person, other than a crewmember, for hire, and may not give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides unless, within the previous 100 hours of time in service, the aircraft has received either an annual or a 100-hour inspection. If a person merely leases or rents an aircraft to another person and does not provide the pilot, that aircraft is not required by Section 91.169(b) of the Federal Aviation Regulations to have a 100-hour i nspection. As noted above, the 100-hour inspection is required only when the aircraft is carrying a person for hire, or when a person is providing flight instruction for hire, in their own aircraft. If there are any questions, please advise us.

Sincerely, /s/ Joseph T. Brennan Associate Regional Counsel

One correction to acpilot about the 100 hours. Once you start renting for hire, you need to do an inspection every 100 hours. The clock doesn’t restart every time you do the inspection or annual. You are allowed a little leeway to ferry the plane to the inspector, but you don’t reset the clock. The 100-hour limitation may be exceeded by not more than 10 hours while en route to reach a place where the inspection can be done. The excess time used to reach a place where the inspection can be done must be included in computing the next 100 hours of time in service.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for digging this up, however, it doesn't define "for hire." The scenario is: I want to, for free (no money given to me, but my cousin pay for the costs associated with the airplane (fuel, maintenance reserve, etc)), give a flight lesson in my own airplane to a cousin (for example) and allow him to log the time toward his Private Pilot Certificate. So the Flight Instruction is not "for hire," as would be normally defined. ("To engage the services of (a person) for a fee") I am providing the CFI (myself) and the Airplane (I own it), but am not charging for the Flight Instruction. $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Oct 3, 2016 at 17:28
  • $\begingroup$ I didn’t define 'for hire' because the FAA hasn’t clearly defined it. I have a post at touringmachine.com/Articles/regulations/478 that references several letters of interpretation involving 'sharing expenses' that, while not on point, explore the FAAs thoughts about compensation. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Oct 4, 2016 at 19:08

Canuk the CFI not logging the time is the only way to give the instruction "not for hire", however I've found that different FSDO come up with different interpretations sometimes. Get it in writing from your local before you give "not for hire" instruction...also instructor insurance isn't a bad idea in case your friend does something stupid.

  • $\begingroup$ The CFI can log the time. Flight hours can be considered compensation if the flight hours are available at a reduced rate or something. If the CFI is paying for all costs and receiving nothing in return they are not being compensated. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Mar 4 at 19:31

If you are providing the training and the aircraft truly for free and receiving nothing in return, it is not for hire and no 100 hour inspection is required.

Keep in mind that the FAA considers things besides money to be compensation. If there is some kind of quid pro quo relationship with your students you can expect the FAA to consider this as a for hire operation, which would make it illegal.

A lot of people you'll talk to will parrot the phrase "flight time is compensation." By this logic, it is illegal for a private pilot to log time while carrying passengers. Obviously this isn't the case- flight time is something that can be considered compensation if the pilot does not pay for the full cost of the flight.


If the CFI owns the plane then he must have a 100hr done even if the instruction is "free" in the sense that the student pays nothing. However, in the eyes of the FAA, flight time is compensation so the flight will not have been "free" in the context in which you are posing the question. You will have been compensated in dual-given flight hours even if you bear 100% of the cost. If you own the plane and have had an annual performed in the last 100hrs, you're good to go. Now, if you're merely renting the plane to this pilot then no 100hr is required. Rentals are not "for hire" operations. You can fly along with your friend but you cannot legally log hours.

If the student owns the plane and hires you then no 100hr is required (the way I read it).

Link to the FAA regulation (as of 13 July 2016): http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgFar.nsf/FARSBySectLookup/91.409

Link to another helpful article: https://blog.globalair.com/post/When-is-the-100-Hour-Inspection-for-Aircraft-Used-for-Rental-and-Flight-Instruction.aspx

  • $\begingroup$ First follow up: if less than 100 hours have passed since annual, then it would work, you're saying? Second follow up: if my friend is renting it, then I believe I could log hours. That is how many clubs work: the student pilot rents the plane and the CFI logs dual-given and gets paid for their time. (If I'm reading the regulation right this makes sense: the person giving instruction hasn't provided the plane, the student has) $\endgroup$
    – Canuk
    Jul 14, 2016 at 2:55
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    $\begingroup$ This one might be worth a letter directly to the FAA asking them to clarify the topic. Hear it from the horse's mouth, as it were. $\endgroup$
    – habu
    Jul 14, 2016 at 6:33
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    $\begingroup$ @Canuk "for hire" generally just means you are offering something in exchange for compensation, but compensation is is not limited to money. The FAA has considered logged flight time as compensation. I second the idea that if you want anything more concrete you ask the FAA. $\endgroup$
    – casey
    Jul 14, 2016 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ When the FSDO answers your reg question it's not really a hard and fast decision. It's an answer to your question according to some guy at a field office (think of it as "yeah...I'd pursue a violation for that."). When chief councel issues an opinion...that's the way it is. Clarifying a simple reg like this has little up-side. Posing the question to chief councel opens the door for a restrictive answer. If left unclarified, a FSDO can excercise discretion in application of this reg. When clarified by chief councel the FSDO's hands are tied and enforcement action is a near certainty. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Jul 15, 2016 at 19:14
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    $\begingroup$ Dual flight instruction can be given without the CFI logging the time. This alone leaves open the possibility of flight instruction that is not for hire. The FAA makes a distinction between flight instruction that is for hire, and flight instruction that is not for hire; this is why the for hire clause is added to the reg. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Jul 25, 2016 at 15:53

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