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FAA reopens comment period on costly flight simulator regulationFAA reopens comment period on costly flight simulator regulation

FAA reopens comment period on costly flight simulator regulation

Feb. 24, 2004 - Questions AOPA raised about a proposed rule to regulate flight training devices (FTDs) have prompted the FAA to reopen the comment period on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). Flight schools actively use what are known as Level 1, 2, or 3 FTDs to provide a well-rounded general aviation flight-training curriculum. Those schools would not be able to meet the onerous quality assurance, maintenance, and record-keeping requirements of the proposed rule. And as a result, the use of FTDs to enhance flight training would be compromised.

As drafted, the NPRM would mandate an expensive one-size-fits-all quality assurance program and set strict maintenance and record-keeping requirements for all types of FTDs. It would make no distinction between high-end FTDs used at major college aeronautical programs and the relatively simple Level 1-3 FTDs used by a majority of flight schools.

"The use of FTDs gives general aviation pilots access to important procedures and proficiency training opportunities in a safe environment that helps enhance safety," said AOPA Director of Regulatory and Certification Policy Luis Gutierrez.

The FAA is forming a subcommittee of the Flight Simulation Device Aviation Rulemaking Committee to address AOPA's concerns. AOPA will actively participate in this new group to ensure that the use of these devices, and ultimately flight training, remains affordable.

Comments may be submitted until March 11, 2004 by:

  • Going to the Department of Transportation's Docket Management System, selecting "Simple Search," entering docket number 12461, and following the instructions for sending comments electronically;
  • Going to the government-wide rulemaking Web site, entering docket number 12461 as the keyword, and following the instructions;
  • Mailing written comments to: Docket Management Facility; U.S. Department of Transportation, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Nassif Building, Room PL-401, Washington, DC 20590;
  • Faxing them to: 1-202-493-2251;
  • Hand-delivering comments to: Room PL-401 on the plaza level of the Nassif Building, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.

Be sure to include the docket number (12461) in any comments not filed electronically.


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