In response to questions posed by AOPA, TSA officials said Thursday that they want to focus on compliance, not enforcement, as a January 18 deadline approaches for flight instructors to receive security awareness training.
According to TSA, flight instructors who are currently providing any type of training - including ground school, flight reviews, and other recurrency training, for citizens or noncitizens - must complete the security awareness course by the January 18 deadline. CFIs who have current certificates but are not involved in teaching are encouraged to take the free training, while CFIs whose certificates have expired, are encouraged, but not required, to take the training.
Active CFIs who miss the deadline should take the training as soon as possible. Completing the online course typically takes less than an hour with a high-speed connection. Flight instructors can also get the required security training through an AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic.
Anyone experiencing difficulty in printing out the completion certificate after finishing the training should contact the TSA Help Desk at (703) 542-1222.
"This clarification from the TSA should help relieve the fears of CFIs who may discover, too late, that they've missed the training deadline," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. "But that's no reason to put off taking the course. Every CFI, whether active or not, can benefit from an increased awareness of security issues - precisely the mission of this training course and programs like AOPA's Airport Watch."
For the latest information on the TSA's alien flight training/citizenship validation rule and how it affects you, see AOPA's comprehensive online guide.
January 13, 2005