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.
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.
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.