New York tries to ground student pilots, again

February 23, 2007

New York tries to ground student pilots, again

As if New York legislators haven't made it difficult enough for aviation enthusiasts to start flight training with the background check law that was enacted last year, they are at it again. The legislators are proposing to prohibit anyone under age 17 from operating an aircraft within the state.

"We are strongly opposing this measure, as we have for the past five years it has been proposed," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "We'll fight this, just as we are fighting to get the background check law repealed. Flight training cannot thrive in this kind of environment, and we are working to fix it."

FAA regulations allow student pilots to solo at 16 years of age and earn a private pilot airplane certificate at 17. (They have to be 14 to solo balloons and gliders and 16 to receive certificates.) Under this proposed bill, student pilots couldn't fly solo in the state once they turned 16, and those in nearby states would have to be sure not to fly into New York on their solo cross-countries.

AOPA told the Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce, and Industry, which is reviewing the bill, that the FAA and Transportation Security Administration regulate flight schools, training, and security - not the state.

February 23, 2007