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Colorado concurs: Flight proficiency is a critical activity

Flight schools in Colorado may return to providing pilots with opportunities to maintain required flight proficiency and currency while a stay-at-home order that bans all but critical businesses from operating remains in effect until April 27.

Photo by Mike Fizer.
Photo by Mike Fizer.

Routine elective flight instruction remains prohibited and the rental fleet remains mostly grounded under the order imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic. However, the state’s director of the Division of Aeronautics notified AOPA that the Colorado Department of Health would revise the mandate to allow flight schools to remain open after considering a request submitted by AOPA, the Colorado Aviation Business Association, and other organizations.

Whether additional flight training will be allowed once the stay-at-home order ends remained unclear. Starting April 27, “the state will be moving onto the Safer at Home phase. During this phase Coloradans will no longer be ordered to stay home, but are still strongly encouraged to do so,” said Gov. Jared Polis in an April 20 update on the state’s pandemic response.

In advocating to allow necessary flight training, AOPA joined six other aviation groups in signing an April 8 letter to Polis pointing out that “pilots need the ability to maintain takeoff/landing, night, and instrument currency” to be able to carry out critical flights that support essential services.

“While flight schools are understandably closed at this time for instruction flights, many of our pilots require rental access to these aircraft for non-instructional, currency flight purposes. These are solo flights, so social distancing requirements can be maintained,” the letter said.

Josh Pruzek, AOPA’s Northwest Mountain regional manager, said AOPA was notified by state officials that “a component of the services performed by flight schools is critical and should continue.” The stay-at-home order would be amended to reflect that decision, he said.

As a result, “AOPA members in Colorado now can rent an aircraft to maintain proficiency and currency, or for necessary transportation, while still being mindful of good social distancing practices,” he said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, COVID19

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