As of Monday evening, there is still no decision from the federal government about the resumption of VFR flight operations. VFR flights remain grounded. General aviation Part 91 IFR operations are permitted with restrictions.
AOPA will remain in communication with the top levels of the FAA throughout the night. Any changes will be posted on the Web site.
Early this evening, AOPA President Phil Boyer spoke with two FAA senior managers about the meeting held this afternoon to discuss the phase-in of additional classes of users to the National Airspace System. Those discussions specifically included VFR operations. Unfortunately for the majority of America's pilots waiting on the ability to fly under visual flight rules, no firm decision was made.
This meeting did consider the work produced during a weekend meeting between FAA air traffic personnel, AOPA managers, and Department of Defense officials. Boyer was told that high-level, non-FAA government officials were briefed on this work and were also briefed on some last-minute suggestions that AOPA sent to the FAA early this afternoon prior to the meeting. Due to the national security issues involved, the FAA finds itself explaining general aviation and educating those not as familiar with GA about its important role in personal and business transportation, about the critical financial impact on flight training operators, and about the other economic business needs served by GA. In addition, there continues to be the "legitimate protection needs" concerning some locations at risk during this uncertain time.
AOPA will be providing the FAA with additional information about the general aviation VFR market early Tuesday morning in advance of another meeting midday between FAA and other government bodies.
AOPA Online will also continue to update members and pilots on this situation as we receive feedback from Tuesday's meeting.
Boyer, in attempting to manage pilot expectations, stated, "One thing is clearly evident from my discussions with FAA management and what little of the national security concerns they can publicly share: The return of VFR privileges will almost certainly be implemented in stages."
Meanwhile, AOPA this afternoon expressed concern to FAA air traffic officials about inaccurate information some pilots are receiving from a few flight service stations. For example, one FSS told an AOPA member that he should "take your airplane apart because VFR will be permanently prohibited." Another FSS told a pilot that all VFR flights would have to be on a flight plan. None of this information is official or accurate. AOPA asked FAA headquarters to ensure that all communications to pilots consist of official information, not rumors or speculation.