Regulatory Brief -- TSA Flight Training Security Rule

Regulatory Brief

TSA Flight Training Security Rule

Visit AOPA's Guide to TSA's Alien Flight Training/Citizenship Validation Rule, a step-by-step guide, for the latest updates, including exemptions, to the rule.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an "interim final rule" on "Flight Training for Aliens and Other Designated Individuals" September 20, 2004, without the normal public review and comment period. TSA said the "security benefits" of the rule justified bypassing the normal public process.

The rule requires that everyone prove his or her citizenship status before receiving flight training that could be used toward his or her recreational, sport pilot, private pilot (single or multiengine) certificate, multiengine rating, or instrument rating in an aircraft that weighs 12,500 pounds or less. Foreign flight students must complete a background check process with TSA.

The rule also mandates initial and recurrent "security awareness training programs" for each flight instructor, including independent instructors, ground instructors, and any flight school employee who comes in contact with students, regardless of whether they are training foreign students or not. Instructors who have current certificates but are not involved in teaching are encouraged to take the free training, while CFIs whose certificates have expired are encouraged, but not required, to take the training. Flight instructors, ground instructors, and flight schools must issue and maintain a record of such training, Independent flight instructors must keep a copy of their initial and recurrent security awareness training documents, and flight schools must keep these records for one year after an employee leaves the school. Again, these records are subject to TSA and FAA audit.

Congress directed TSA to issue the rule in Section 612 of "Vision 100," the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization act. Under previous legislation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) screened and approved all foreign applicants for flight training in aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Vision 100 and TSA's rule shift the screening responsibility to TSA and require that any foreign flight student be cleared by TSA.

The importance to our members

The rule directly affects more than 650,000 U.S.-certificated pilots, 85,000 resident aliens with U.S. pilot certificates, 93,700 flight students, 88,700 flight instructors, and some 3,400 flight schools. The rule requires every U.S. citizen student and certificated pilot and all aliens to prove his or her citizenship status prior to undertaking flight training for a recreational, sport pilot, private pilot (single or multiengine) certificate, multiengine rating, or instrument rating in an aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less.

The rule imposes new regulatory burdens on small flight schools and independent flight instructors. When training foreign flight students, these small entities and individuals must now register with TSA and be validated by the FAA, determine the citizenship/nationality status and positive identification of each flight student prior to providing flight training for a recreational, sport pilot, private pilot (single or multiengine) certificate, multiengine rating, or instrument rating in an aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less and give the required notification to TSA. The rule also requires flight schools and flight instructors to provide security awareness training to each ground and flight instructor and any other employee who has a direct contact with a flight school student (regardless of citizenship or nationality) and to issue and maintain records of this training. Instructors who have current certificates but are not involved in teaching are encouraged to take the free training, while CFIs whose certificates have expired are encouraged, but not required, to take the training.

Most recent Web posting

AOPA works with TSA to resolve security training certificate printing problems
Alternate forms now available

Many flight instructors have told AOPA that while they've completed TSA's online security awareness training course, they've been unable to print the certificate of completion. Now there's a solution.

"We worked with TSA to come up with an alternate means of showing compliance, and it follows a well-established aviation convention," said Rob Hackman, AOPA manager of regulatory and certification policy. "Much like an endorsement, instructors can now make an entry in a logbook or other permanent record to show they've completed the required training."

TSA has provided AOPA with alternate forms that can also be used. The forms are slightly different for independent flight instructors [ PDF document] and for employees of a flight school [ PDF document].

If a flight instructor chooses to use a logbook entry, it should include the same information as contained on the alternate form, including name, CFI number, date of training, type of training (initial or recurrent), and type of program (TSA or approved alternate).

The endorsement should include the statement: "I certify that I received security awareness training, as required by 49 CFR part 1552, on the date indicated above. I also certify that any alternate security awareness training program I used to comply with 49 CFR part 1552 meets the criteria in 49 CFR 1552.23(c)." and the CFI's signature.

For more information, see AOPA's comprehensive online guide.

AOPA's position

While AOPA does not oppose the intent of the rule and recognizes the importance of preventing terrorists from using aircraft to attack the United States, we believe this rule goes beyond the scope of authority granted by Congress in Section 612 of "Vision 100," the FAA reauthorization act, as it pertains to training in the smaller category of aircraft. AOPA is opposed to TSA's broad-brush application approach that adversely affects all flight schools and most flight instructors.

AOPA will continue to work with TSA to ensure that the rule meets with congressional intent and minimizes its impact on pilots and the flight training community.

Status

  • March 15, 2005 — TSA has announced that certain international locations are now equipped to process fingerprints for alien candidates as part of an expanded partnership with NATA Compliance Services. At the present time, fingerprinting services are now available at the following locations outside of the United States:
    1. FSI and TAM Linhas Aereas, Sao Paolo, Brazil
    2. FSI Canada Limited, Dorval Quebec, Canada
    3. Flight Safety International SARL, Le Bourget, France
    4. Saudi Aramco, Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    5. Emirates-CAE SimuFlite, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
    6. Flight Safety International, Farnborough Hampshire, United Kingdom
  • January 21, 2005 — Many people have been unable to print the Flight School Security Awareness (FSSA) training completion certificate at the end of the training module. The technical problem with the module is complex and does not lend itself to a universal solution. Therefore, the following forms have been provided for individuals to be able to document their completion of the TSA required FSSA training. The documentation requirements are slightly different, depending on whether you are an independent CFI [ PDF document] or a CFI/employee of a flight school [ PDF document]. For those who are still unable to print a certificate using this method, an endorsement may be made in that person's logbook or other record to show compliance with the training. It is imperative that the same wording provided on these certificates is used when making this endorsement.
  • January 14, 2005Initial Security Awareness Training Program. Flight instructors who are currently providing any type of training, including ground school, flight reviews, and other recurrency training, for citizens or noncitizens, must complete the security awareness course by the January 18, 2005, deadline. Instructors who have current certificates but are not involved in teaching are encouraged to take the free training, while instructors whose certificates have expired are encouraged, but not required, to take the training. Many people have been unable to print the Flight School Security Awareness (FSSA) training completion certificate at the end of the training module. The technical problem with the module is complex and does not lend itself to a universal solution. Therefore, the following forms have been provided for individuals to be able to document their completion of the TSA required FSSA training. The documentation requirements are slightly different, depending on whether you are an independent CFI [ PDF document] or a CFI/employee of a flight school [ PDF document]. For those who are still unable to print a certificate using this method, an endorsement may be made in that person's logbook or other record to show compliance with the training. It is imperative that the same wording provided on these certificates is used when making this endorsement.
  • January 5, 2005 — The TSA has provided further clarification stating, "TSA is further clarifying the definition of flight training in aircraft with an MTOW of 12,500 pounds or less to include only training that a candidate could use toward his or her initial airman's certificate of any type, multiengine rating, or instrument rating."
  • October 29, 2004 — TSA exempts airships, balloons, and gliders from the rule.
  • October 19, 2004 — TSA amends parts of new alien flight training rule and extends compliance for aliens who already hold an airman certificate until December 19, 2004, with compliance taking effect December 20, 2004.
  • October 19, 2004 — TSA amends rule to apply only to training for a new certificate or rating.
  • October 19, 2004 — TSA amends record-keeping requirement and allows for a one-time endorsement from an instructor verifying proof of nationality.
  • October 19, 2004 — TSA exempts most recurrent training in aircraft with an MTOW of 12,500 pounds or less by excluding any flight review, proficiency check or other check whose purpose is to review rules, maneuvers, or procedures, or to demonstrate a pilot's existing skills on aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight (MTOW) of 12,500 pounds or less, such as the flight review required under 14 CFR 61.56 or the recent flight experience requirements in 14 CFR 61.57."
  • October 19, 2004TSA provides the following clarification: "The regulation's requirements for flight training on aircraft with an MTOW of 12,500 pounds or less do not take effect until October 20, 2004. Flight students who are enrolled in such flight training prior to October 20, 2004, are not subject to the regulation."
  • October 13, 2004 — Congressman John Mica, chairman of the subcommittee on aviation, sends letter to David Stone, assistant secretary of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, supporting a 90-day extension to the compliance deadline.
  • Flight schools and instructors have to comply with the new rule starting October 20 for training in aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds when training aliens.
  • On October 5, 2004, the following TSA Web sites and phone number will be available for applications and instructions:
    Providershttps://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov/fsindex.html
    Candidateshttps://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov
    Providers currently registered under the DOJ system will not have to reregister with TSA. Your user ID and password will remain the same.
  • September 28, 2004 — AOPA formally petitions TSA to suspend parts of the alien flight training rule.
  • September 21, 2004 — TSA issues alien training rule.

Related Documents


Updated Wednesday, April 20, 2005 3:24:16 PM