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Key differences between Part 135 & Part 91 FAA Regulations

If you’re involved in aviation, you’ve probably heard of Part 91 and Part 135 regulations. But what exactly do these regulations cover, and how do they differ? Part 91 regulations apply to the operation of aircraft for personal or business use, while Part 135 regulations apply to the operation of aircraft for hire, such as charter flights and air taxi services.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the key differences between Part 91 and Part 135, including maintenance requirements, pilot qualifications, insurance requirements, and flight time limits. Understanding these differences can help you navigate the complex world of aviation regulations and ensure that you’re operating your aircraft safely and legally. 

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    Here are some key differences between Part 91 and Part 135:

    Purpose

    Part 91 regulations apply to the operation of aircraft for personal or business use, while Part 135 regulations apply to the operation of aircraft for hire, such as fractional aircraft ownership flights, empty leg flights, charter flights and air taxi services.

    Maintenance requirements

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    Part 91 aircraft must meet certain maintenance requirements, but these requirements are generally less stringent than those for Part 135 aircraft. Part 135 aircraft are required to undergo more frequent inspections and maintenance, as they are used for commercial operations and carry passengers for hire.

    Let’s go a little deeper into what Part 135 aircraft maintenance and inspections look like…

    Part 135 aircraft are required to undergo a 100-hour inspection at least every 100 hours of flight time. This inspection is a thorough check of the aircraft’s systems and components to ensure that they are operating properly and safely.

    In addition to the 100-hour inspection, Part 135 aircraft are also required to undergo an annual inspection, which is a more comprehensive check of the aircraft’s systems and components. This inspection must be completed within the preceding 12 calendar months.

    Other required inspections for Part 135 aircraft include a pre-flight inspection, which must be conducted before each flight to ensure that the aircraft is safe to fly, and a phase inspection, which is a more thorough inspection of specific systems or components of the aircraft. Phase inspections may be required after a certain number of flight hours or landings, or after a specific period of time has passed.

    In addition to inspections, Part 135 aircraft must also undergo regular maintenance to ensure that they are operating safely. This may include replacing parts that have reached the end of their service life, performing repairs on systems or components that have failed or are showing signs of wear, and performing routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes and tire rotations.

    Overall, the inspections and maintenance requirements for Part 135 aircraft are designed to ensure the safe operation of the aircraft and the safety of its passengers. These requirements are typically more stringent than those for Part 91 aircraft, as Part 135 aircraft are used for commercial operations and carry passengers for hire.

    Pilot requirements

    Part 135 pilots are required to meet certain additional training and experience requirements beyond those required for Part 91 pilots. These requirements are designed to ensure that Part 135 pilots are well-trained and qualified to safely operate aircraft in a commercial setting, where the safety of passengers is of paramount concern.

    Here are some of the additional training and experience requirements for Part 135 pilots:

    1. Airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate: Part 135 pilots are required to hold an ATP certificate, which is the highest level of pilot certification in the United States. To obtain an ATP certificate, pilots must have at least 1,500 hours of flight time and pass a written and practical exam.
    2. Type rating: Part 135 pilots are required to hold a type rating for each type of aircraft they are qualified to fly. A type rating is a specialized certification that demonstrates a pilot’s proficiency in operating a specific type of aircraft. Pilots must undergo additional training and pass a practical exam to obtain a type rating.
    3. Recurrent training: Part 135 pilots are required to undergo recurrent training on a regular basis to maintain their skills and proficiency. This training may include ground school, simulator training, and flight training, and may be required every six months or annually depending on the specific regulations and requirements of the operator.
    4. Experience requirements: Part 135 pilots must also meet certain experience requirements, such as a minimum number of hours of flight time in the specific type of aircraft they will be flying. These requirements may vary depending on the specific regulations and requirements of the operator.

    The additional training and experience requirements for Part 135 pilots are designed to ensure that they are well trained and qualified to safely operate aircraft in a commercial setting. These requirements are typically more stringent than those for Part 91 pilots, as Part 135 pilots are responsible for the safety of passengers who are traveling for hire.

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    Insurance requirements

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    While most aircraft operated under Part 91 regulations are not required to carry insurance, Part 135 operations are required to carry a certain amount of liability insurance in order to operate Additionally, some states may require aircraft to have a minimum amount of liability insurance as part of their registration requirements.

    Aircraft liability insurance is intended to protect the operator and its passengers against financial losses that may arise from accidents or incidents involving the aircraft.

    There are several types of liability insurance that may be required for Part 135 operations, including:

    • Hull insurance: This insurance covers the physical damage to the aircraft and its equipment.
    • Third-party liability insurance: This insurance covers damage or injuries sustained by third parties as a result of an accident or incident involving the aircraft.
    • Passenger liability insurance: This insurance covers damages or injuries sustained by passengers as a result of an accident or incident involving the aircraft.
    • War risk insurance: This insurance covers damages or injuries resulting from war, civil unrest, or terrorism.

    The specific types and amounts of insurance required for Part 135 operations may vary depending on the aircraft, specific regulations, and requirements of the operator. It’s important for Part 135 operators to carefully review these requirements and ensure that they have the necessary insurance coverage to operate safely and legally.

    Flight time limits

    Part 91 pilots are subject to less stringent flight time limits than Part 135 pilots. Part 135 pilots are required to adhere to strict flight time and duty time limits in order to ensure that they are well rested and able to safely operate the aircraft.

    In summary, Part 91 regulations apply to the operation of aircraft for personal or business use, while Part 135 regulations apply to the operation of aircraft for hire. Part 135 regulations are generally more stringent than Part 91 regulations, as they pertain to the operation of aircraft in a commercial setting and the safety of passengers is of paramount concern.

    As an operator and/or pilot, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 91 and Part 135 regulations and to strictly always follow them. These regulations are in place to ensure the safety of both pilots and passengers, and any violation can have serious consequences. It is essential to remain compliant with all FAA regulations to maintain the ability to fly and protect from any potential legal and financial consequences.

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