Is a 100 hour inspection required when renting an aircraft for a practical test with a DPE, to whom you are paying a fee?

Lots of money is being exchanged, yet the DPE told me that it is not "For Hire" because the money is going to him (i.e. he's not paying me, I'm paying him). How can the direction that the funds are traveling in affect the meaning of the term "for hire"?

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    $\begingroup$ I changed the wording and tags slightly on the assumption that you're asking about the US (e.g. DPE is the usual term for an examiner, not DFE). When you ask a question about rules or regulations, please always tell us which country you're asking about. If I got it wrong, you can just roll back or edit again. $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Jun 21, 2018 at 13:41
  • $\begingroup$ You don't have to explain if it's obvious to others, but what does the inspection has to do with the fees you're paying the DPE? Or are they unrelated? $\endgroup$
    – user14897
    Jun 21, 2018 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ As far as the FAA is concerned the DPE is neither a passenger nor an instructor. It is as if you are flying solo. The fact that money changes hands has nothing to do with whether a 100 hour inspection is needed. What matters is how the organization that provided the airplane operates. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Jun 22, 2018 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ You're not making money from your aircraft, so it's not a commercial operation. Just like if you paid someone to inspect your house, that doesn't mean you're renting it to them. $\endgroup$
    – Zaz
    Feb 10, 2019 at 16:57

2 Answers 2


Abelenky's answer is right, but the relevant regulation is FAR 91.409(b):

(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section, no person may operate an aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) for hire, and 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. 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.

So here are the rules:

  • No person may operate an aircraft carrying any person for hire (for hire here refers to the pilot, not the passenger, and the person operating the aircraft is the pilot)
  • No person may give flight instruction for hire (here person refers to the flight school or an instructor which the flight instructor or flight school provides) without a 100 hour inspection.

This means you can hire a flight instructor to instruct in your own aircraft without a 100-hour inspection. You can also fly a rented aircraft without a 100 hour so long as that flight is not under the guidance of a flight instructor.

Since you were not being paid, and you were not being instructed, the 100 hour inspection does not apply. However in practice I don't know of any aircraft rental service that allows the planes to fly beyond 100 hours regardless of it being an instructional flight or a private one.

  • $\begingroup$ Why do you say you can't receive instruction? "no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides" This seems to imply that you can receive instruction. $\endgroup$
    – Zaz
    Feb 10, 2019 at 16:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Zaz Last I checked, to receive instruction you needed both the student and an instructor in the aircraft (not counting solo's). Since the instructor can't give instruction, you can't receive it either. By the way the person providing the aircraft in what you cite is the instructor, not the student. So you can receive (and give) instruction in an aircraft that the student provides, but not one that the instructor provides unless it has a 100 hour inspection. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 10, 2019 at 17:39
  • $\begingroup$ What I'm saying is that you can rent a plane, hire an instructor, and then receive instruction in that plane. If the student is renting the plane, then the instructor is not providing it, right? $\endgroup$
    – Zaz
    Feb 10, 2019 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Zaz That's true, but you can't rent an aircraft unless it has a 100 hour inspection either... Whether using it for instruction or not, so its a moot point. $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    Feb 10, 2019 at 17:50
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer seems to say you can: "You can also fly a rented aircraft without a 100 hour ..." ? $\endgroup$
    – Zaz
    Feb 10, 2019 at 17:57

The rule is that the pilot may not be "for hire".

He is for hire, but as a DFE, not the PIC (the one flying the plane), so he is not breaking the rule.

You are the one flying the plane (the PIC), but you aren't getting paid (in fact, you are paying someone else), so you aren't "for hire" either.

  • $\begingroup$ So does this mean that if he decides to end the PT in flight, and take control of the aircraft, he cannot, as he would then be assuming PIC role and since he is getting paid, he would be violating the rule? I know this sounds silly, but my DFE made my ignorance of this an issue on a PT I took recently. $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2018 at 13:32
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    $\begingroup$ If the examiner ends the check ride in flight and takes control, the function that he is being paid for has been terminated. He is not "flying for hire" at that point; he's just saving his skin as it were. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jun 21, 2018 at 15:35
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    $\begingroup$ @abelenky This is not right. The plane can be for hire or the pilot can be for hire. But the person or organization providing the plane cannot also provide the pilot. So I can hire a pilot to fly my plane without needing a 100 hour inspection. I can also rent out my airplane without needing a 100 hour inspection. What I can’t do is provide a plane and pilot for hire—that would be part 135. I also cannot provide a plane and instructor—that would fall under CFR 91.409. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Jun 22, 2018 at 3:31

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