The chairman of the House aviation subcommittee, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), has joined AOPA's call for the Transportation Security Administration to extend the compliance deadline of the so-called alien flight training rule. AOPA has formally petitioned TSA to defer implementation of those portions of the rule that affect flight training in aircraft weighing less than 12,500 pounds.
In a letter to TSA chief Rear Adm. David Stone, Mica wrote, "I am now hearing concerns from the pilot and flight training community that the TSA's rule implementing this law is creating problems as it applies to smaller aircraft."
"We've thrown all our resources at this new TSA rule," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. " I've personally gone to Chairman Mica and other members of Congress, and AOPA's senior people have been talking to TSA on an almost daily basis."
In his letter, Mica points out Congress' intent in passing the law that led to the alien flight training rule. "Given the complexity of the interim rule and the impact this rule has on existing pilots, as well as students and flight instructors across the country, I encourage the TSA to work with the industry to resolve difficulties with the rule by extending the compliance deadline for 90 days."
"Unless and until TSA changes the portions of the rule applying to training in small aircraft, every pilot and flight instructor in the United States has to be prepared to deal with its requirements starting next Wednesday," Boyer said. "We support the intent of the rule, that is to screen out foreign terrorists from the flight training system. But the implementation of the rule for training in smaller general aviation aircraft needlessly impacts more than 650,000 pilots, 85,000 resident aliens with U.S. pilot certificates, 93,700 flight students, 88,700 flight instructors, and some 3,400 flight schools."
October 14, 2004