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From the Cockpit Episode 11: How To Avoid Illegal Charters

In episode 11 of the Magellan Jets podcast From the Cockpit, Ryan Waguespack, Vice President of Aircraft Management, Air Charter Services and MROs at the National Air Transportation Association, joins Magellan Jets Chief Operating Officer Todd Weeber to discuss the topic of illegal private jet charters. Waguespack and Weeber break down what first-time flyers need to know, the consequences of using illegal charters, plus tips for how to avoid them. Click the link below to listen to the full episode.


Illegal charters pose a big risk to the private aviation industry, which is why Waguespack and NATA hope to educate first-time flyers on how to avoid them. In particular, he sees issues with people understanding the nuances between part 91 and part 135. Waguespack also wants people to know that an illegal charter situation comes with serious consequences.

“It’s very complex,” Waguespack says on the Magellan Jets podcast. “Far too often, it’s challenging to see the difference between a 91 vs. a 135 air carrier, and the different requirements that go along with each set up.”

Although reduced rates for illegal charters appear attractive, they comes at a cost. Specifically, they lack the strict protocols and oversight measures to ensure your safety.

“You typically do not know if that aircraft’s been maintained to the current level that it should be,” says Waguespack.

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Tips for Avoiding Illegal Charters

A typical illegal charter or “sham dry lease” situation can incur heavy legal consequences. If anything goes wrong, you’re on the hook since you’ve taken full responsibility for the aircraft’s operation.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with a lease, Waguespack explains that they should be for a long-term arrangement. Unfortunately the “uberization of our culture” creates quick leases of as little as 1-999 hours. In addition, no one’s really in full control since an illegal charter can involve many parties.

“The typical set-up that we’ve seen far too often is these sham dry leases,” Waguespack tells Magellan Jets, “where I can lease your aircraft for an undefined amount of time.”

“What the typical flyer would not understand is that they are taking on full operational control of that aircraft and the crew and how it’s being operated,” he adds.

As for tips for avoiding illegal charters, he recommends taking the time to thoroughly understand your private aviation contracts. Also, use experienced aviation consultants and professionals. Overall, they can help you navigate the process and have your best interests in mind.

The NATA has a website as well that’s dedicated to fighting illegal charters, with tools you can use to stay safe and informed. Additionally, Magellan Jets’ aviation consultants can help you safely arrange future travel and answer any questions.

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How to Fly Private Safely

In need of a safe and purely private business aviation solution? Click the link below to get an on-demand charter quote now from Magellan Jets.

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