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Over Billing

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Good Day,

I have a quick question for all of you experienced hands out there. I have recently made a move to a new company and am enjoying it very much. However I have been advised that it is an un written policy to overbill clients at least 10% of the daily totals. At my former company we were told that flight time and air time should be the same. This was my first flying position and from what I was told it was the honest way to operate. Now I have an ops manager who insists I "add a little extra for operational expenses". Am I breaking the law? Could I get in trouble? What if the customer finds out? I dont want to be frowned on by the company,but I have only ever written the same times in the log book. Is it standard practice for this business? A little help from the wise would be appreciated. Thanks.

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we bill what we fly based on the point system. However our minimum of .2 per start regardless of the flight time is the only time we "overbill" You could build up some extra time on the bill doing lots of 3 minute hops, and only the actual flt time goes in the AC logbook. Other than that its fair billing as far as I'm concerned. Why bite the hand that feeds?

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"add a little extra for operational expenses"


Never do that, it will catch up to you/your company eventually and rest assured if the company is challenged about it, you will likely get the blame, not them.


Some customers are billed strictly on air time - Hobbs Meter - collective up, normally heli-skiing is one like that.


Other customers are billed on the time the machine is running, including short stops - flight time, but that is known by the customer and agreed upon in the contract.


If you are using the clock, punch it when you are about to lift off, then punch it after you land and begin your timed shutdown. That is what you bill, NOT 10% more.


Either way, other than possibly a .2 for a start like rainman said, no billing should exceed flight time and in my experience is generally the air time. This is dependant on the customer, type of flying and company you work for.


Hope that's not more confusing, be honest with the billing and be able to justify whats on the bill with whats in your flight notebook. Customers & Mother Of Terror have been known to audit company's Journey Logs, flight tickets etc when they think a fraud is occurring.

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In most companies I've been in, Flight time is the time at the controls, which is what the client is billed and what goes in your log book, and air time is skids off, which is what goes in the tech log, thus giving the company a fair enough edge - anything else is cheating, IMHO. I've never been asked to do anything unwritten, such as this, though.



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Just goes to show you, the customer might think he's getting a **** of a deal when an operator gives him a really cheap rate but he ends up paying the same anyways cause the only way for that operator to make ends meet is to overbill!!!!

Overbilling sucks and it's no different from outright lying or defrauding the customer.

Tell your ops manager if he needs to overbill to cover "operational expenses", he should charge a decent tariff for his helicopter in the first place instead of putting you in a difficult position!


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I don't have an AIP infront of me, but the last time I looked "Flight Time" is what goes in the Pilots Log Book.


"Air Time" is defined as the cost to operate the "aircraft" and is charged to the customer and is put against the aircraft engine(s) and airframe time in the log book.




Fixed wing using a fixed mileage charge are converted to "mph" and hourly rate of "fixed Air Time" for log book entries.


i.e. Chicago "O'Hare" B747 waits 30min for take-off to New York.

Cost per hour of the B747 is $7000/per hr.


Distance is 2000 miles @ 650 mph = 3.08hrs.


New York, taxi and docking time add 15min.


Total ground time is (45 min) which is called "Flight Time" goes in the pilots log book, plus "Air Time"


Total "Air Time" 3.08hrs goes against aircraft airframe and engines.


Rates based on mileage are fixed, whereas hourly rates are from skids/wheels up to skids/wheels down.


Short hops in helicopters with stops of less than twenty minutes should be considered continuious flights until the final stop.


If you are operating fixed wing ground time "i.e." taxi waiting for take-off clearance etc., is not chargeable nor is it entered in the aircraft log book. Chargeable time is wheels up to wheels down, even if charges are on an hourly rate.


Clear as mudd, eh?

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Another operater in my area was caught over billing.It only took about three years before some smart bean counter for the customer figured out that there bills for going to the same place were much higher than ours.The customer went back three years to compare all the bills with ours.The shady operater was forced to pay back thousands to the customer.Now they fly only with us...What goes around comes around..I loath shady operaters.Hope your not with one.If I was on a job with onother operater and knew they were overbilling Id tell the customer in a heartbeat.

Cheers Mini.......

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