AOPA met recently with FAA officials to seek changes to charity sightseeing flight drug testing exemption granted the association February 2. AOPA had earlier told the FAA "thanks, but no thanks" because the exemption imposed too many conditions.
However, the FAA wants AOPA members covered under a "blanket" exemption in order to reduce their workload while improving services to the pilot community.
"As a result, the FAA set up a special meeting to address our concerns," said AOPA Dennis Roberts, AOPA vice president and executive director of government and technical affairs. "Because of this meeting and subsequent conversations with the FAA, we have decided to give this one more shot."
On behalf of its member-pilots, AOPA has sent a letter of petition for clarification and modification to the original exemption. (See AOPA’s petition modification letter). Based on the good-faith agreements reached at that meeting, AOPA is hopeful of a favorable response from the FAA.
Considering the rapidly approaching summer flying season, the FAA has agreed to expedite its action on AOPA’s petition. In the meantime, AOPA has prepared guidance for any member seeking an individual drug/alcohol testing exemption from the FAA. Call the AOPA Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) for more information.
April 10, 2000