October 7, 2010
By AOPA ePublishing staff
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state legislature have reached a budget agreement that includes a measure delaying the implementation of costly flight school regulations in the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 until July 1, 2011. Schwarzenegger signed the main budget Oct. 8, and the flight school measure is included in an accompanying trailer bill he is expected to sign.
AOPA had worked with key lawmakers during the past few weeks to include this much-needed delay in the final budget package to protect thousands of aviation jobs throughout the state. Now the legislature and industry stakeholders have time to work together to determine a more viable and healthy long-term solution to the issue of consumer protections for flight students.
“This is an important step to allow lawmakers additional time to consider all of the potential consequences of these regulations as they are currently written,” said AOPA Vice President of Airports and State Advocacy Greg Pecoraro. “We look forward to the opportunity to see this issue through to resolution with a long-term solution that offers consumer protections without inflicting damage on the aviation industry—to protect countless small businesses and jobs in the state.”
The flight school regulations that became law this year as part of the California Private Postsecondary Act of 2009 require flight schools to pay multiple new administrative fees and open their books to regulators. They were part of an effort to extend consumer protections to flight students, but could ultimately impose a financial burden that many small flight schools would be unable to bear.
AOPA worked with key lawmakers, local aviation groups and pilots, and the National Air Transportation Association for months to garner support for the moratorium and to pursue different legislative vehicles for enacting it before ultimately focusing on the budget process.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
California pilot Christopher Braun has created a revamped version of the cleco plier that is said to be lighter and more ergonomic.
There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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