Thanks for the start Dad...

Need a Ferry Pilot?

There will be two main reasons that you, as an aircraft owner, may need a ferry pilot. A Special Permit Flight, or ferrying an aircraft after purchase or sale.

Un-airworthy status

The first instance is that your aircraft in un-airworthy and needs to be delivered to a mechanic to complete repairs or an annual. This definitely is something you can do on your own. It's your aircraft and you're familiar with it. However, you may not have the time or you may feel uncomfortable flying it with "UN-AIRWORTHY" hanging over your flight. 14 CFR § 91.7 sets out details surrounding aircraft airworthiness. The problem occurs when an aircraft becomes unairworthy and there's no ability to repair it where it's located and it needs to be taken elsewhere. As the aircraft is not airworthy, 91.7 states you can't fly it.

ferry permit logbook entryImage courtesy Savvy AviationThe FAA foresaw this problem and put i place a process to allow you to deal with this - 14 CFR § 21.197 Special flight permits. More commonly called a Ferry Permit, this document allows a person to move an aircraft for the purposes of repair or annualing. To obtain one of these, you will need to apply to your local FSDO (there's a link to an online form below). In addition, you will need to find an A&P who can add an entry in your aircraft's logbook to state he/she is happy the aircraft is safe to ferry in its current state. As Mike Busch says in his great writeup of this (click the image to open in a new window) "Note that “safe to ferry” is a very low standard. You’re not asking the A&P to certify that the aircraft is airworthy—only that it’s safe to make just one more flight, and usually a relatively short one.

Now, this entry from an A&P isn't 100% necessary. Yes, you will still need "a nod" from someone, and there's the rub. That "someone" will be an FAA representative from your local FSDO. My recommendation is getting an A&P to do it!

A quick aside, if you are going to fly outside the USA (in this case you'd be ferrying from Alaska to CONUS or vice versa), you will need TWO Ferry Permits - one for the US and one for Canada.

So, let's fill out your application. Just note that, although the form is labeled Sections I through VI, but, for a Ferry Permit, all you need do is Sections I, II, and VII. Once you've completed your form, print it out, sign it, then (easiest way) scan and email to your local FSDO. You can also fax it. Click the previous list to find your local FSDO's fax number.


Why have Ian fly your ferry flight?

As mentioned earlier, you may feel uncomfortable (despite your A&P sign-off) flying an un-airworthy aircraft. Another reason is that you may not have the time. You can request a specific date/date range for your ferry flight (Section VII), but perhaps something comes up, or, for some unknown reason, the FSDO give you a different range. Or, you just plain don't have time for such a flight, especially if that flight is a large number of hours.


After purchase/sale flights

Often insurance companies will require a number of hours and landings in a new aircraft before they will make insurance cover valid. Common times are 10, 20 or 25 hours. Why not use the trip home as part of your flight time? You can, but only if you have a qualified pilot along with you.

"Qualified pilot" can mean different things depending on who you're talking to. As we're talking about insurance, it really matters who your insurance company thinks is qualified. Just because a person has 30,000 hours and is an ATP doesn't necessarily mean they're what you're insurance company is looking for. Even a CFI with thousands of hours of dual given won't automatically be a "qualified pilot". So, it's important you ask your insurance company exactly what they want.

Alternatively, choose a CFI with a CFI insurance policy. Rather than a policy to cover the plane, these policies cover the person, the CFI, and thus, because they're the one sitting right seat with you, it covers you and your plane (within the levels specified in their policy. The benefit of a CFI is they know the current regs, and some will throw in other items for no charge. Need a Flight Review (what we used to call a BFR)? How about a complex of high performance endorsement? We can do those on the way home with your new bird. I'm happy to help you with these items if needed, and I don't charge any extra.