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If I understand, there are cases where flight time is considered compensation, affecting the legality of operations by private pilots. Can this be avoided by either not logging the time or somehow logging it differently (i.e. with a note saying "not to be counted for licensing purposes")?

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  • $\begingroup$ are you planning to commit fraud or something? $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Dec 3, 2022 at 6:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Federico, the wording of the question suggests the exact opposite of what you are asking. Someone looking to pad their logbook with fraudulent entries would ask the question from a completely different angle. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2022 at 15:45
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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking (for example): If someone, who owns an airplane, wants a PPL Pilot to fly that airplane from airport A to B (say to pick up a new alternator) and the PPL Pilot does not log the flight time (for any purposes identified in FAR 61.51), is the PPL Pilot being compensated (contrary to the FARs)? Further, are you asking if the PPL Pilot is not "building flight time" (logged) is the PPL receiving compensation? I recommend you ask this question to the FAA. On this site you will only get opinions unless someone has an on point FAA Interpretation. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Dec 3, 2022 at 17:43
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    $\begingroup$ It would probably take some time to receive a response, but here is the website and contact info for the FAA Regulations Division. Also, on the first page at the bottom of the website you can search for previous interpretations regarding PPL and compensation. You might search for "61.113" or "private pilot compensation" or "building flight time." There are many legal interpretations on this subject. Just don't use "PPL," which is likely not an acronym in any of the interpretations. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Dec 3, 2022 at 18:59
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you @757toga ! I found an interpretation that covers my question, and I posted an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Dec 3, 2022 at 22:36

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Yes, this can be done by simply not logging the time.

The FAA has given an official interpretation regarding this issue, the "Lincoln-Soaring Society of America 1990 Legal Interpretation."

In this case, a private pilot wanted to tow banners and be reimbursed for the expenses of the flight. The interpretation says (to summarize) that doing so would ordinarily be prohibited because the flight time is compensation, but "[o]ne solution to this problem would be for private tow plane pilots not to log their time."

Thank you to @757toga for suggesting that I check FAA interpretations.

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    $\begingroup$ Good find! I had been drafting a response in my head, thanks for saving my typing by providing a better answer than I would have. $\endgroup$ Dec 3, 2022 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure what to make of the FAA actively discouraging pilots from logging flight hours. What a messed up system of representation of pilots' skill and competency. $\endgroup$ Aug 29, 2023 at 1:05
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    $\begingroup$ @KennSebesta it doesn't make much sense to me either. "Flight time is compensation" seems to create many more questions than it answers. $\endgroup$
    – Someone
    Aug 29, 2023 at 2:29

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