Get extra lift from AOPA. Start your free trial today! Click here

Call to action: Help protect flight training

AOPA President Mark Baker is calling on AOPA members to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to support the Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act of 2021, which clarifies that giving or receiving flight training is not considered carrying a passenger for compensation or hire.

A July 12 FAA directive requires owners of experimental aircraft, such as this homebuilt Carbon Cub FX-3, in which pilots receive training, or the instructors who provide the training for compensation, to obtain a Letter of Deviation Authority from the FAA. Photo by Chris Rose.

“I am asking you to please contact your representatives in Congress today and urge them to cosponsor the Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act of 2021 (S. 2458 and H.R. 4645),” Baker said in the August 10 call to action.

A July 12 FAA directive reversed course on 60 years of precedent that had allowed flight training in experimental, limited, and primary category aircraft—in other words, aircraft with special airworthiness certificates—without needing a letter of deviation authority (LODA) or an exemption. (This does not affect aircraft with standard airworthiness certificates.) The directive came after a non-binding court decision in a case involving a Florida company operating limited category warbirds.

The need for a LODA to train in experimental category aircraft and an exemption to train in limited (warbird) or primary category aircraft is a paper exercise and counters guidance FAA inspectors had been using for decades, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson admitted July 29 during EAA AirVenture.

AOPA believes the extra red tape will have a negative impact on aviation safety.

“Flight instruction should never be interpreted as commercial transportation nor carrying persons or property for compensation,” Baker continued. “This sudden change in long standing FAA policy places a new burden on thousands of pilots, aircraft owners, and qualified flight instructors.

“This is a safety issue and pilots and instructors who receive and give flight instruction should be able to do so with confidence and without the burden of uncertainty.”

The Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act of 2021 that Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) introduced July 22 makes clear that flight training in those aircraft does not qualify as carrying a passenger for compensation.

Members should email their senators and representatives and encourage them to cosponsor S.2458 and H.R. 4645.

AOPA ePublishing staff

AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Advocacy, Capitol Hill, Aircraft Regulation

Related Articles