The appeal of Uber is that anyone with a license and a car can pick other people up that want a lift from one place to another for compensation. If there’s an empty seat, might as well try to fill it with someone that wants to pay to be there. Unfortunately, a similar kind of service for private planes might be mostly grounded for now.

See, Flytenow is a service that connects private pilots and planes with folks looking to take a ride around in the sky. Unfortunately for them, the Federal Aviation Administration concluded that the Uber-style service was functionally no different than a bunch of people buying seats on a commercial plane. As in, it’s a commercial service that requires the pilot to hold a commercial pilot license.

Rather than let the FAA ruling prevent pilots with noncommercial licenses from working with Flytenow, the company’s been trying to fight it in court by arguing that the FAA might not have permission to make that kind of ruling. According to Bloomberg Business, a Washington, D.C., appeals court upheld the FAA’s ruling on Friday, saying that it’s possible that passengers could partner “with pilots who in fact lack the experience and credentials of commercial pilots” without realizing it, and that the FAA has a say in that kind of transaction.

The idea here is that private pilots with noncommercial licenses are subject to less scrutiny than those with commercial licenses. There’s not really a different set of safety regulations between the two, but there’s a certain expectation when one books passage with a commercial pilot that they understand how to fly with multiple passengers rather than just themselves.

None of this prevents Flytenow and any other similar cost-sharing flight service from operating with commercial license-holding pilots. But that does significantly reduce the number of potential pilots, which could mean fewer flights overall. Score one for safety, though!

Source: Bloomberg Business

Photo: Steven Conry | Flickr 

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