April 26, 2011
By AOPA ePublishing staff
When the California legislature passed the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009, one of the unintended consequences of the bill threatened to devastate the state’s flight training industry. The act required new fees and reporting requirements that “would put most flight training businesses and independent CFIs out of business,” according to AOPA California Region Representative John Pfeifer.
Pfeifer and other AOPA staff worked with the National Air Transportation Association, other aviation organizations, and the state legislature in 2010 to delay the act’s implementation for the flight training industry until July 2011.
But another, more permanent fix is in the works.
State Sen. Jean Fuller authored a measure, Senate Bill 619, to exempt certain FAA-approved flight instructors and flight schools from the California Private Postsecondary Education Act. Flight instructors and flight schools that do not “require students to enter into written or oral contracts of indebtedness, do not require prepayment of tuition or fees, and do not accept prepayment of tuition or feeds in excess of $2,500” will be exempt if the bill becomes law.
The Senate Committee on Business, Professions, and Economic Development passed the bill unanimously after hearing testimony on April 25.
Pfeifer testified that the postsecondary act “clearly stated that it was the intent of the legislature to ensure a regulatory structure that provides an appropriate level of oversight. I submit that onerous and expansive regulations that put flight instructors out of business even while there is no financial risk to the flight students is far from an appropriate level of oversight.” Flight instructor Marc Santacroce and Bridgeford Flying Services CEO Mark Willey also testified in support of the bill.
The bill will be reviewed next by the Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill would provide a long-term solution for flight schools and instructors, instead of the delayed implementation.
AOPA told lawmakers that a tax-abatement bill introduced in Nevada would stimulate aviation business and make more services available to members.
Mavericks aerobatic team members are a highly seasoned group of pilots who prove age is no obstacle to flying with the utmost precision. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, talks about the Pilots Bill of Rights II, legislation that would expand medical reform to include IFR. Also this week, join us for an AOPA-hosted event that teaches kids about aviation and animal rescue.
The FAA has released an eight-minute video providing aviation medical examiners with guidance on the agency's new obstructive sleep apnea policy, which takes effect March 2.
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