When the coronavirus pandemic broke out in the United States, orders restricted nonessential work, but flight schools—and specifically flight instructors—were left up in the air, so to speak, about whether they were deemed essential. Now, there’s no question.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released a coronavirus guide listing essential workers in March and has since issued several updates. During the update process, CISA added flight instructors to the list, and they continue to be listed as essential employees in the Transportation and Logistics sector in the latest version issued August 18.
Even though flight instructors are specifically listed, schools and instructors would need to check their local orders to ultimately determine whether they could continue to operate during any new mandates or lockdowns.
AOPA offered advice for flight schools that faced financial hardship during that time when training ceased or was greatly reduced, and later released guides for pilots and aviation businesses, including flight schools, for safely returning to operation.