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state seal 70.50


May 1, 1999

Authority for these policies

The following provisions relating to the use of aircraft and aircraft services are based on the Omnibus Appropriations Act (Chapter 340, Section 134, Laws of 1981 Regular Session) which reads as follows:

"To obtain maximum interagency use of aircraft, the Aviation Division in the Department of Transportation, in accordance with Chapter 39.34 RCW is hereby authorized to lease, purchase or otherwise acquire suitable aircraft which shall be utilized for the purposes of the Department of Transportation and also by other state agencies which have a need for an aircraft to carry out agency assigned responsibilities: PROVIDED, that the Department of Transportation is further authorized to enter into contractual agreements with other state agencies in order to acquire aircraft, establish rental rates for aircraft under their control, provide pilot services, aircraft maintenance, and make such other provisions as necessary to provide aircraft and related services for multi-agency use: PROVIDED FURTHER, that in order to achieve economy in the use of the appropriations contained within this act no state agency may purchase or otherwise acquire an aircraft or enter into a flying service or aircraft rental contract without first seeking such service from the Department of Transportation."


January 1, 2012

Acquiring aircraft services

No state agency is to purchase an aircraft or enter into a flying service or aircraft rental contract without first seeking such service from the Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Aviation Division.

The WSDOT Aviation Division, in coordination with the Department of Enterprise Services (DES), will establish fee schedules for various types of flying services. Fee schedules will be periodically updated to reflect current-operating costs for both state-owned aircraft and state contracted flying services.


In the event that the WSDOT Aviation Division cannot provide the air service requested, DES with approval of the Aviation Division, will issue a contract for air services from approved contractors to provide the necessary services.

In this case the agency must maintain a system of control over use of the air services. This system must:

  • Provide for authorization or approval by the agency head or authorized designee, and is to also
  • Ensure that records on use, authorization, and expenses are maintained.


May 1, 1999

Purchasing aircraft

Any purchase of aircraft must be approved by the director of the Office of Financial Management. Agencies must submit a justification for the purchase which includes:

  • A statement from the Washington State Department of Transportation, Aviation Division that it concurs with the request;
  • Anticipated utilization by mission;
  • Number of flying hours required;
  • Type of aircraft desired;
  • Anticipated cost per flying hour including pilot time, insurance, and depreciation of aircraft, gasoline, oil, and maintenance; and
  • An economic evaluation of alternative means of accomplishing the mission, without the use of aircraft, as well as a plan for financing of the aircraft.


May 1, 1999

State pilot standards, qualifications and training

For purposes of this section, a state employee is to be considered a state pilot only if 50 percent or more of their working time is flying an aircraft and performing flight connected services, and if flying an aircraft is a clearly defined requirement of the job assignment.


All persons who perform piloting services for the state of Washington either as a state employee or under contract with the state must:

  1. Be qualified and certified in accordance with standards established by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Aviation Division.
  2. Possess a valid Washington State pilot registration certificate.
  3. Fly only those aircraft for which they possess a valid rating.


The agency may pay for required medical examinations given to state pilots, for the cost of state pilots taking pilot certification examinations and for the pilot registration fee for state employee pilots meeting the provisions of paragraph "a." above. The WSDOT Aviation Division will review all agency requests for pilot training and will make recommendations when appropriate as to the requirements, quality, and cost of the required instruction.


May 1, 1999

Using privately-owned aircraft or "dry charter" flights


"Dry Charter" is defined as when an agency contracts for rental of an aircraft and provides a "state pilot" or a state employee as the pilot.


Only state officers/employees meeting the following conditions may fly as a dry charter pilot or fly a privately-owned aircraft on state authorized travel:

  • Must possess at least a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Private Pilot Certificate.
  • Must have Washington State Pilot Registration.
  • Must have a minimum of 200 hours flying time, with a minimum of 30 hours within the preceding 12 months.
  • All state flights are to be confined to Visual Flight Rules, unless FAA instrument rated.


The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Aviation Division approves state officers/employees to fly as a dry charter pilot or to fly a privately owned aircraft on state authorized travel. Prior to the first such flight in each biennium, the state officer/employee must submit a written request to the WSDOT Aviation Division stating their pilot qualifications as indicated in paragraph "b." above, and if requesting to use a privately-owned aircraft, provide data pertaining to the aircraft (i.e., make and model of plane, year of manufacture, air frame hours, air engine hours, number of engines and horsepower, seating places, and anticipated reasons for state authorized flights). The WSDOT Aviation Division will provide the requester with documentation of approval. The WSDOT Aviation Division will maintain a central record of qualified pilots and/or privately owned aircraft for each biennium.


State officers/employees using privately owned or rented aircraft for travel on official state business may be reimbursed at the rate per air mile contained in Schedule A (Section 10.90). Determine and report air mileage using the following rules:

  1. Use statute miles shown on airway charts issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce to determine mileage for travel by privately owned or operated airplane.
  2. If a detour was necessary because of adverse weather, mechanical difficulty, or other unusual conditions, the additional air mileage may be included in the mileage reported on the reimbursement voucher and, if included, it must be explained.
  3. When an official requirement for deviation from direct route travel is such that airway mileage charts are not adequate to determine mileage, the formula of flight time multiplied by cruising speed of the airplane may be the basis for mileage determination.


May 1, 1999

Maintaining aircraft

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Aviation Division will perform or contract with another agency or provide contractors to perform centralized aircraft maintenance, whichever will provide the most advantageous service to the state. Any exception to the rule is to be approved by the Director of the Office of Financial Management. The WSDOT Aviation Division will establish standards for maintenance checks and each state aircraft will be inspected by a qualified person after maintenance has been performed.


May 1, 1999

Submit aircraft use estimates each year

All agencies are to estimate and submit their annual requirements for aircraft use to the Washington State Department of Transportation, Aviation Division by June 30 of each year. Include information about the prior year's aircraft use and expenditures for leased or purchased aircraft as part of this submittal.


May 1, 1999

Commercial lodging may be authorized during prolonged standby periods

Recognizing that the safety of passengers and flight crews is of paramount importance to the state, agencies are authorized to obtain commercial lodging for flight crews during prolonged standby periods in locations away from their official duty station. Agencies are to develop internal policies and procedures consistent with this regulation

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