Key general aviation supporters in Congress on April 10 encouraged the FAA to act quickly on developing a special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) to grant the same relief from certain timebound limits as was previously granted to commercial aviation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Representatives Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Marc Veasey (D-Texas), co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus, sent a letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson noting the immediate action the agency took “to sustain commercial air carrier operations by issuing exemptions and deviations from regulations and policies. We are writing to request the FAA extend the same action to general aviation, which plays an equally important role in the recovery effort and the U.S. economy…
The letter included the same list of extension requests that AOPA and other aviation groups sent to the FAA in early April, including relief for pilot and CFI currency requirements and additional considerations for students and also for aircraft maintenance items.
Graves and Veasey pointed out to Dickson that the exemptions are not unprecedented. “Foreign civil aviation authorities, including the Brazilian ANAC, EASA, the Italian ENAC, and the UK CAA, have already provided exemptions to both commercial and noncommercial operations,” they noted.
In addition, the representatives also asked Dickson to ensure that distribution of stimulus funds from the federal government to GA airports is completed quickly. “GA airports are lifelines to our communities, especially during this time of crisis, and are most vulnerable to the economic impacts of the pandemic. This critical funding will enable GA airports to remain staffed and to continue to operate safely.” Italian ENAC, and the UK CAA, have already provided exemptions to both commercial and noncommercial operations,” they noted.
In response to the industry letter, the FAA indicated its plan was to develop an SFAR, which it has suggested it could release as soon as next week.