Calif. flight training industry looks to long-term reg fix

October 21, 2010

With the final signature on a measure delaying the implementation of controversial flight school regulations in California, aviation groups shifted their attention to developing a long-term solution.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the measure in a package of trailer bills to the state budget Oct. 19, finalizing a budget agreement from earlier in the month. The costly flight school regulations in the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 will not be implemented until July 1, 2011. That gives AOPA, the National Air Transportation Association, and state allies time to work with the legislature to hash out a more reasonable way to protect students without crippling the flight training industry.

"This bill signing marks an important day for GA in California as it will keep countless future pilots in the air and, importantly, keep thousands of instructors, mechanics, and other aviation personnel working in this troubled economy,” said AOPA Director of State Government Affairs Mark Kimberling. “AOPA—and our allies—will continue to move forward aggressively to see this issue through to the completion."

The California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 was intended to protect the financial wellbeing of students who seek an education at a postsecondary school, but it was not designed with flight schools specifically in mind; as a result, the regulations imposed a financial burden that many flight schools would have been unable to bear. In the coming months as lawmakers revisit the rules, AOPA will work to ensure that the outcome will not inflict damage on the already fragile training industry as the original proposal would have.