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Foreign student pilots under scrutiny, AOPA offers resourcesForeign student pilots under scrutiny, AOPA offers resources

Foreign student pilots under scrutiny, AOPA offers resources

By AOPA ePublishing staff

In the wake of a Feb. 27 ABC News investigative report on background checks for foreign students pursuing flight training in the United States, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) earlier this week called for an independent investigation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

With the TSA’s background check process for foreign flight students under scrutiny, AOPA reminds flight schools and instructors that they must do their part by following the TSA’s guidelines for alien flight training. The place to start is AOPA’s Guide to the TSA’s Alien Flight Training/Citizenship Validation Rule.

The guide spells out the steps necessary to check U.S. students’ citizenship and foreign students’ backgrounds with the TSA, and discusses the initial and recurrent security awareness training needed by flight school employees and instructors. The guide also provides a checklist to help flight schools prepare for a TSA inspection.

“Vigilance—from pilots and flight instructors—is the most effective way to secure general aviation in this post-9/11 era,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs. “Flight instructors and flight schools need to make sure they follow the TSA’s guidelines for alien flight training to the letter and alert the agency of any students acting suspiciously. It’s the same vigilance we all practice at the airport through AOPA’s Airport Watch program.”

March 5, 2008

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