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Thread: Difference Between an Air Charter and a Transporter

  1. #1
    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Default Difference Between an Air Charter and a Transporter

    Had an interesting experience today, when I contacted the State of Alaska Big Game Commercial Services Board. In search of an official definition of an Air Charter and a Transporter, I reached out and was told to contact the Dept. of Law or the Dept. of Public Safety. And then, "Alaska might not have a legal definition".

    Hmmm.

    Okay.

    So without turning this discussion into a commentary on Juneau politics and such, how about it? Anyone out there have a succinct summary on the difference between an air charter and a transporter? I have bits and pieces, and of course the verbiage in the Alaska Statutes (which is anything but succinct).

    My goal is to provide a concise definition for folks reading our hunt planning pages.

    Thanks!

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
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  2. #2

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    Do you mean an "Air Taxi", when referring the the phrase "Air Charter"?

  3. #3

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    I doubt you would like my definition, as it would include the entire slimmmmy history of Transporter license in Alaska.

  4. #4

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    Mike, don't you have a snapshot description in your book? If not, here's an excerpt from pg 74 of Float Draggin' Alaska, hopefully there are no typos on that page....

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Member Birdstrike's Avatar
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    I'd just go by one of the bigger air taxi companies at Lake Hood (Rust's, Trail Ridge, Alaska Air Taxi, etc) and chat with them. Anybody "holding out" for air transport must have at least a CFR 135 certificate issued by the FAA. That level of certification keeps people and cargo safer than just paying Joe Birdman the private pilot to take them somewhere.

    I'm not sure what the difference is between the federally issued 135 certificate and the additional "Transporter" certification issued by the state. Larry's description in his book seems to sum it up but the above companies can probably point you to the actual laws.

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    Member BRWNBR's Avatar
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    i was thinking 135 is a FAA qualification and "transporter" is a license from big game commercial services which allows a 135 operator? to charge seperate rates to hunters and transporting game meat? i know we have a few 135 guys in here that might have a better handle on this one.
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  7. #7

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    "Air Taxi/Air Charter" are governed under FAA Part 135 Regs. For the most part in order to fly for hire you have to have a Part 135 certificate, along with a mountain of other paperwork from the Feds. "Transporter" is a term originating from the Big Game Commercial Services Board. You don't have to be a licensed Transporter to fly hunters in Alaska, but you do have to have a Part 135 Certificate (there are a few odd exceptions). If an Air Taxi advertises that they haul sportsman, that alone doesn't necessarily require them to be a transporter. What requires them to be a Transporter is if they target hunters, have special rates (higher hourly, flat rate, per hunter rate, etc) for hunters. An Air Taxi could get by without being a Transporter fairly easy if they just changed their hourly rate to $1,500/hour for a beaver for the month of September for example. It also has nothing to do with talking to hunters over the phone, email, etc, or renting them gear; it's a free country. The reality is being a transporter is really easy, minimal paperwork and makes things that much cleaner with Joe Public and the Brown Shirts, a great CYA. I've had a Transporter license for about 20 years and think it's a lot easy to get the license (pay the toll) and move on. There are 2 forms you complete, the contract with hunters, which I really like and a transporter report on each group. Forms are simple and quick to complete.

    I believe there are similar transporter rules for watercraft, ATV, etc I just don't know anything about it.

    Hope this helps.

    Karl Powers
    PaPa Bear Adventures

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    webmaster Michael Strahan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRP View Post
    "Air Taxi/Air Charter" are governed under FAA Part 135 Regs. For the most part in order to fly for hire you have to have a Part 135 certificate, along with a mountain of other paperwork from the Feds. "Transporter" is a term originating from the Big Game Commercial Services Board. You don't have to be a licensed Transporter to fly hunters in Alaska, but you do have to have a Part 135 Certificate (there are a few odd exceptions). If an Air Taxi advertises that they haul sportsman, that alone doesn't necessarily require them to be a transporter. What requires them to be a Transporter is if they target hunters, have special rates (higher hourly, flat rate, per hunter rate, etc) for hunters. An Air Taxi could get by without being a Transporter fairly easy if they just changed their hourly rate to $1,500/hour for a beaver for the month of September for example. It also has nothing to do with talking to hunters over the phone, email, etc, or renting them gear; it's a free country. The reality is being a transporter is really easy, minimal paperwork and makes things that much cleaner with Joe Public and the Brown Shirts, a great CYA. I've had a Transporter license for about 20 years and think it's a lot easy to get the license (pay the toll) and move on. There are 2 forms you complete, the contract with hunters, which I really like and a transporter report on each group. Forms are simple and quick to complete.

    I believe there are similar transporter rules for watercraft, ATV, etc I just don't know anything about it.

    Hope this helps.

    Karl Powers
    PaPa Bear Adventures
    Great stuff, Karl! Thanks for chiming in on this one. How are you folks handling this heat wave out in Bethel, by the way? Is the ice going out yet?

    -Mike
    LOST CREEK COMPANY: Specializing in Alaska hunt consultation and planning for do-it-yourself hunts, fully outfitted hunts, and guided hunts.
    CLICK HERE to send me a private message.
    Web Address: http://alaskaoutdoorssupersite.com/hunt-planner/
    Mob: 1 (907) 229-4501
    "Dream big, and dare to fail." -Norman Vaughan
    "I have climbed my mountain, but I must still live my life." - Tenzig Norgay

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    One big difference is that transporters don't always use airplanes. But hopefully all air charters do.
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    The main difference as far as Air charters is concerned is if you have a transporters license you can sell Hunts and charge what ever you want for a hunt which is normally more than your hourly charter rate. If you don't have a transporters license you can only charge your normal hourly rate and no more. I am not sure but I think the law changed last year and if it was passed no one can transport hunters anymore without a transporters license but I am not sure if this passed or not.

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    So what if you are a "Transporter" using Horses, Llamas, Boats, Snow Machine, Nodwell, etc...???

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubdriver55 View Post
    The main difference as far as Air charters is concerned is if you have a transporters license you can sell Hunts and charge what ever you want for a hunt which is normally more than your hourly charter rate. If you don't have a transporters license you can only charge your normal hourly rate and no more. I am not sure but I think the law changed last year and if it was passed no one can transport hunters anymore without a transporters license but I am not sure if this passed or not.
    It passed...
    I'm surprised there are not more people upset. The cheap drop off hunt is (in theory/probably) a thing of the past.
    Guys who were not already a transporter - now either can be a transporter and jack up rates and sell hunts; or not haul hunters. Either way- you guys take it in the shorts, right?

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    So, if I'm reading the above correctly, prior to this new law you didn't actually need a "Transporter's License" to transport hunters or meat. If that was the case, why did a Unit 13 resident (I believe the resident was John Schandelmier?) get into so much trouble for hauling a moose out for a couple of hunters a few years ago?
    Was the transporter's license different for air taxis than for ground transport?

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    Was the case. I'm not familiar with the situation you mentioned however.
    Fed govt licenses air taxi to provide "on demand" air service. Typically.
    Fishermen, flight see, miners, hikers, hunters, "wanna go there just cause" - doesn't matter. You wanna go to "x" that's it.
    Now if u r a hunter - no can do.

    Federal law prohibits "states from passing law infringing on air commerce" so I'm guessing it'll get sorted in court one day. Probably when my kids are old.

    I understand why the board felt it necessary but for guys who don't do a lot of drop hunters (me) it makes life a little harder. Pay the money and contract every hunter etc or just cut it out completely? A lot of air taxis make their living off drop hunters so it's a easy decision for those.

    Dunno. That's what I understand the situation to be.

    My THOUGHT is- it's "you guys" taking a hit. Non airplane owning, airplane hunters. Prices go up overall surely...some guys quit drop hunters...,?? Speculation.

    If not confused already-
    "For the BGCSB resolution to affect a statute change, legislative action is required. According to BGCSB staff it appears unlikely this will happen during the 2014/15 legislative session."

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    Quote Originally Posted by AK-HUNT View Post
    It passed...
    I'm surprised there are not more people upset. The cheap drop off hunt is (in theory/probably) a thing of the past.
    Guys who were not already a transporter - now either can be a transporter and jack up rates and sell hunts; or not haul hunters. Either way- you guys take it in the shorts, right?
    I don't believe you are correct. I was at the entire December BGCSB meeting in Anchorage, and I don't believe any such regulation was passed. There has been discussion on this issue, and a sub-committee was formed to discuss air transporter/air taxi issues, but nothing was voted on by the board to create a new regulation.

    What amazes me is the apparent lack of interest by air transporters and/or air taxi operators in this issue. I don't believe I've seen more than one or two air transporters, ever, at a BGCSB meeting. Yes, there have been discussions at these meetings as to exploring the possibility of making all air services who transport big game hunters obtain transporter licenses. There have also been discussions about eliminating the transporter license altogether. It astounds me that there have virtually been no members of the transporter or air taxi industries attending these meetings to voice their opinions or concerns, but rather seem to be content to allow members of the guiding industry make these decisions for them.

    Chris

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    Good points Chris. I'm guilty. Im confident the state has any legal standing to pass regulations saying who I can and cannot transport.
    "federal premacy" I think is the term. However it'll take long court battles....
    So do I need to go to a Sierra club meeting if they wanna regulate air taxis too? Kidding of course but what about mining regulators etc... Hence why the Feds are only ones supposed to regulate air carriers. Every time you cross a state line you'd be subject to this kind of random law. None the same.

    Sorry for the tangent but I too thought it didn't pass as well but opened the regs this am. It's there. I'll pm you page # when I get home. Problem is the parts about "incidental to normal business" are still there later on too. I hope I'm wrong. Let me know.
    I'm not grasping the part about not being law unless a legislator takes it up either. Do the troopers feel the same way......?

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    The entire State-of-Alaska "Transporter" certification and licensing system was borne out of the newly reconstituted guide Board, now the Big Game Commercial Services Board, with the intention of regulating all (federally regulated and certified) air-taxis that fly hunters and their meat and trophies into some kind of concession program similar to the Guide Concession Program. This was even added to the Guide Concession Program bill that failed in the legislature. The Good Intentions behind this push and the rationale was to stem some of the bad apples in the air-taxi biz who were thought to be flying in too many hunters and/or dropping too many hunters on top of other hunters, or otherwise promising things that weren't just unrealistic, but unsafe.

    But our own Dept of Law has already said that the State cannot regulate the federally regulated air-taxi industry as it wants to do. So the last push by the BGCSB to again force this issue in the legislature did not pass and will not pass.

    Also, the BGCSB has almost a 1-million dollar debt that they are trying to deal with and pay off, but the only way to do that was to raise licensing fees for guides and transporters. Which is what the Board just did. I spoke with Kelly Vrem on this a week or so ago; he is the Chair of the BGCSB. What the Board did was institute a new fee to transporters (and guides) of $50 for every activity hunt report they are mandated to turn in. Transporters can put 6 trips on one report whereas guides can only put one client on each report. This brand new fee for processing hunt activity reports is the largest funding increase of all the other fee increases the Board recently instituted and most every "transporter" I've spoken with has told me it's simply too much and they will drop their transporter license because of it. (Some are really ticked that they already renewed their "transporter" license prior to knowing about these new fees.) And here's what others have told me; if they stay on as "transporters" they will have to jack up their charter fees to cover this additional cost.

    And this is the rub when I hear from some of our AK BHA membership and others; why is the "guide board" doing things that will cause resident hunters to pay more? Why essentially are resident hunters paying to keep the guide board running? Should we just drop the whole "transporter" thing as part of the guide board? I mean, could this force those air-taxis that chose to be "transporters" to drop their license and actually decrease revenues to the BGCSB instead of increasing them?

    No air-taxi has to become a "transporter." I've spent umpteen hours talking to wildlife troopers about this too, both in the field and at meetings and in private. Because AWT has also been forced to try to enforce these new "transporter" regulations. But the law surrounding "transporters" is not really all that clear it turns out. An "air-taxi" is not supposed to do anything other than fly "hunters" from point A to point B, according to Troopers ... thus if an "air-taxi," say, has clients coming in and they ask, "Where are the caribou? We want you to take us to where the caribou are," the air taxi that does not choose to become a "transporter" is ostensibly supposed to tell that client, "We can't tell you where the caribou are, we can only fly you from here to wherever you want to go. YOU MUST TELL US WHERE YOU WANT TO GO FIRST!"

    I went round and round with Trooper Dave Bump on this and how ridiculous it was. In fact, some air-taxis have told Dave and the Troopers, take us to court then if this is the "law." Cuz it is flatly ridiculous. The troopers have yet to take any air-taxi to court that I know of for telling hunters where a herd may be located or for flying hunters until, say, the hunter-clients say to the pilot, okay drop us here I like the way this area looks, or for example, you charter an air-taxi to fly you to the slope and you pay an hourly rate until you spot where a bunch of WAH caribou are located and then you tell the pilot to drop you near that bunch.

    I would love to see the Troopers take a case like that to court in order to see what the outcome would be. So Paul, or Dave ... with all due respect take a case like that to court or just let it go. Having troopers land on hunters and then interrogate them to the point it seems the "air-taxi" was really acting as a "transporter" ... don't we have better things to look for?

    The bottom line in all this is what the Dept of Law has already told the state; you can't force a federally regulated Part 135 air-taxi into a system whereby the state decides what types of clients and how many and where they can bring them. If/when things are bad enough, the Board of Game already has the authority to regulate all air-taxis and all private aircraft use during hunting seasons via the creation of Controlled Use Areas. Also the feds have their own system whereby they can regulate commercial activity like raft trips and guiding as far as what #s of clients can be brought in etc.

    In closing, just to reiterate, all air transporters MUST BE federally licensed Part 135 air-taxis. Not all Part 135 air-taxis must be transporters. I haven't even gone into the Part 91 regs that so many guides fly under. Or the entire boat-based "Transporter" system that is just as screwed up as the aircraft side.

    I do think the BGCSB truly had good intentions behind all this. The way they look at is that they believe that air-taxis that fly hunters are making money off a state wildlife resource just like guides are, and so those air-taxis should pay some kind of a fee and be regulated like the guide industry.

    Lately I think I'm leaning toward doing away with the whole "Transporter" system altogether under the BGCSB. Let the proper boards (BOG) and agencies (Feds) do what they will according to their rulemaking authority if they believe air-taxis are flying out too many hunters or whatever it is they are concerned with. Feds already (strictly!) regulate the air-taxis we all fly with. We also don't need duplicate paperwork when all hunters already are required to turn in harvest reports to F&G ... it is crazy asking "transporters" to turn in the same paperwork for their clients ... and even crazier to now ask them to pay 50 bucks to do so.

    My .02,

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    This is the current definition regarding transporters:

    AS 08.54.790 (10) "transportation services" means the carriage for compensation of big game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters to, from, or in the field; "transportation services" does not include the carriage by aircraft of big game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters

    (A)
    on nonstop flights between airports listed in the Alaska supplement to the Airmen's Guide published by the Federal Aviation Administration; or

    (B)
    by an air taxi operator or air carrier for which the carriage of big game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters is only an incidental portion of its business; in this subparagraph, "incidental" means transportation provided to a big game hunter by an air taxi operator or air carrier who does not

    (i)
    charge more than the usual tariff or charter rate for the carriage of big game hunters, their equipment, or big game animals harvested by hunters; or

    (ii) advertise transportation services or big game hunting services to the public; in this sub-subparagraph, "advertise" means soliciting big game hunters to be customers of an air taxi operator or air carrier for the purpose of providing air transportation to, from, or in the field through the use of print or electronic media, including advertising at trade shows, or the use of hunt broker services or other promotional services.
    Last edited by double tap; 12-30-2015 at 12:15. Reason: make it easier to read...

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    Deleted.
    I'll pm you my email

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    so now i'm confused...am i gonna take it in the shorts from my pilots this year now too? already had my guide fees doubled and my guide use area registeration fees instated and my 50 per hunt report fees added. man...clients wonder why its spendy to hunt in alaska! keep doing this and canada is gonna be alot more popular and alaskas gonna loose out on alot of revenue...but residents will love it. less sheep hunters...but flying to get there will costs four times what it does now...
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