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AOPA surveying pilots on coronavirus SFAR effectiveness

Did the regulatory measures the FAA enacted in 2020 to ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the pilot community do the job—and what more could be done to make any new measures most effective next year?

Photo by Mike Fizer.

On December 10 AOPA launched a brief online survey to let pilots weigh in on those questions and give the FAA some hard data to consider before it decides whether to extend pandemic relief beyond Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118-2, which took effect October 1, 2020—the third pandemic-relief measure of the year.

SFAR 118-2 was complex, but narrower in scope than both the original SFAR 118 that in April initiated extensions of several medical, airman testing, and currency provisions, and its first amendment (SFAR 118-1) published in June, which afforded relief to a different group of pilots.

Now, as the pandemic undergoes a resurgence surpassing the FAA’s expectations of just a few months ago, AOPA believes the best way to advocate for general aviation is to present the FAA with fresh survey data estimating how many pilots made use of the SFARs, what they found helpful, what wasn’t helpful, and giving pilots a chance to suggest ways any future SFAR amendment could be improved.

“The FAA needs relevant and reliable data to support its decision to grant further regulatory relief. This survey will provide that hard data,” said Christopher Cooper, AOPA senior director of regulatory affairs.

Cooper asks pilots who intend to complete the survey to act promptly (before Christmas) so there is time to compile and analyze the results for inclusion in a letter that AOPA and other aviation industry groups anticipate sending to the FAA on pandemic policy recommendations.

AOPA invites all pilots to take the survey. It should take about five minutes to answer the survey’s questions that seek feedback on topics including pilots’ awareness of the SFARs, the SFARs’ impact on their flight activity, and whether the responding pilot flew in support of efforts to help fight the pandemic.

Several questions also seek demographic information from the responding pilot on topics such as membership in aviation organizations, level of pilot certificate held, and aircraft ownership.

“If more regulatory relief is going to be sought, we want to make a request that reflects the needs and safety of the pilot community. Participation in the survey is crucial to support this request,” Cooper said.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web 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 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Airman Regulation, Pilot Health and Medical Certification

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