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Efforts to eliminate radio licensing requirements for travel between the U.S. and adjacent countries continuesEfforts to eliminate radio licensing requirements for travel between the U.S. and adjacent countries continues

Efforts to eliminate radio licensing requirements for travel between the U.S. and adjacent countries continues

Efforts to eliminate radio licensing requirements for travel between the United States and adjacent countries continue, with AOPA most recently writing a letter to Juan Antonio Barges, aviation director of the Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil. The letter, dated May 7, requests assistance from the Direccion General de Aeronautica Civil, the Mexican counterpart to the FAA, to eliminate requirements in Mexico for the radio telephonic rating for pilots and mobile aeronautical station license for private aircraft operators.

In March 1999, Canada removed its radio licensing requirements following two years of effort by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). Both COPA and AOPA are now pushing their respective governments to conclude a reciprocal agreement that would remove the radio licensing requirements for international travel between the United States and Canada.

In a recent letter to Tim Roche, of the U.S. Department of State, AOPA formally requested the State Department’s support of efforts in Canada to modify the 1952 treaty between the two countries, if necessary, to set the stage for a reciprocal agreement to remove the barrier to international travel.

According to the letter, dated February 23, AOPA supports an agreement that would include the following:

  • Exemption from radio station license requirements for U.S.-registered aircraft operating in Canada
  • Exemption from requirements for restricted radio telephone operators permits for U.S. certificated pilots operating in Canada
  • Exemption from radio station licensing requirements for Canadian-registered aircraft operating in the United States

The reciprocal agreement would formalize what is actual practice today. Neither country is enforcing a requirement for radio licenses provided the aircraft is not operated outside of the United States or Canada, and the radio equipment on board the aircraft is only capable of operating on aeronautical frequencies.

On behalf of its membership more than 15 years ago, AOPA took the lead in efforts to abolish U.S. requirements for pilots to carry aircraft radio station licenses and restricted radiotelephone operator permits. AOPA based its arguments largely on the fact that aircraft radios are essential safety equipment and aid in efficient management of the airspace. According to AOPA’s position, the fees, paperwork, and regulatory administration of the program was an unnecessary burden, with no tangible benefits for general aviation pilots or taxpayers.

AOPA’s efforts were successful, with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) abolishing the requirement for U.S. certificated pilots to obtain a restricted radio telephone operators permit for domestic aircraft operations in early 1985. AOPA was likewise successful in December 1996, when the FCC published a final rule abolishing the radio station license requirement for U.S.-registered aircraft in domestic operations.

AOPA also supported COPA’s efforts in Canada to eliminate the requirements for domestic flights in that country. Though regulations remained on the books, customs officials rarely reviewed the licenses or enforced the requirements.

Industry Canada, the Canadian counterpart to the U.S. FCC, is currently reviewing the country’s 1952 Treaty with U.S. authorities to “determine if modifications are required to reflect recent regulatory developments,” according to the recent letter to Roche. Modifications, if required, would be key to efforts to develop reciprocal operating privileges for pilots from both countries.

May 17, 1999

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