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If you form an LLC for charter flights, can you hire an unlimited number of pilots to fly under the same part 135 certificate (assuming all are commercial pilots), or does each pilot and/or each aircraft (all aircraft owned by the LLC) need to have their own part 135 certificate?

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There is no restriction on the number, type of aircraft, or pilots for a "Full 135 Operator."

There are 4 levels of 135 operators:

  1. Single-Pilot Operator
  2. Single Pilot-in-Command
  3. Basic 135 Operator
  4. Full 135 Operator *

Source: http://usac.com/faa/InstructionTwo.asp?Product=Full%20135%20Operator

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There are 4 levels of 135 operators:

  1. Single-Pilot Operator
  2. Single Pilot-in-Command
  3. Basic 135 Operator
  4. Full 135 Operator

In #1 and #2, as the name implies, you can only have a single pilot. As for #3, you can have up to 3 pilots but the requirements on the organization and support staff increase (e.g. you will need a dedicated Director of Maintenance).

Option #4 is fully unrestricted and comes with the greatest amount of responsibility. You will need a Chief Pilot, training program, manuals, and a host of other requirements.

My advice is if you intend to have multiple pilots, try for #4. It will give you the most flexibility and in the end, make your 135 easier to sell down the road. Expect the process to take between 6months and a year to complete.

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