What is Holding Out?
Think of holding out as holding out your hand to anyone in the public and asking for money. It really is that simple. If you are asking someone to pay you in exchange for flying them somewhere, then you are “holding out”. The regs prohibit commercial pilots from “holding themselves out to the public” or offering flying services to the general public without having a valid Operating Certificate for their company.
This is exactly what we talked about in the previous TOPIC of you cannot just start trying to offer your flying service to anyone and get paid. You must work for a company that has an operating certificate and thus can advertise their services and “hold out” to the public.
What about all those exceptions the FAA always has?
Well there is an exception to the rule. Say you own an airplane and get your commercial certificate. Then say without you soliciting any business at all, someone walks over to your hangar and asks if you will start flying the regularly from your home airport to another airport just an hour or two away each week. You could potentially do this for them, and they could potentially pay you for this because the FAA does allow you to have a certain number of “private carriage contracts” with individuals or companies to fly them places. Just be careful with this and involve you local FSDO when you are drafting such a contract between you and another party to ensure you are doing this all above board.
Can I fly someone else’s airplane and get paid?
You can charge for your services now that you are a commercial pilot, however you just cannot be holding yourself out to the public and especially not offering to provide the pilot (you) and an airplane all in one nice package for someone to come along and hire you and your aircraft.
If the guy in the hangar next door is a Dentist or CPA or something like that, and he flies regularly for work, and he looses his medical, he could ask to hire you to fly him in his airplane while he pays for all the expenses of the airplane he owns and also pays you nice fat paycheck for your hard work flying him places. Remember you will still need a medical with 2nd class privileges.