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FAA proposes LODA relief

The FAA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on June 23 intended to reverse needless bureaucratic paperwork burdens in the form of letters of deviation authority (LODA) for pilots conducting flight training activities.

The FAA proposed rulemaking that would amend regulations to remove requirements to obtain a letter of deviation authority before conducting flight training in experimental aircraft such as this Van's Aircraft RV-4, along with other aircraft categories as AOPA requested in 2021. Photo by David Tulis.

The NPRM would also allow all public aircraft operations (PAO) flight time to be logged toward FAA civil regulatory requirements, expanding the 2018 FAA reauthorization law, which allowed pilots conducting forestry control and fire protection PAO flights to log flight time.

AOPA diligently worked with congressional allies to reverse a 2021 FAA LODA directive, but at that time the FAA fought vigorously to limit the exemption to experimental aircraft owners, pilots, and flight instructors who simply wanted to give or receive flight training. This limited version was ultimately included in a 2022 national defense law. Now, this current NPRM seeks to expand the LODA exemption to other categories of aircraft as AOPA had originally suggested in 2021.

AOPA has also advocated strongly in the last two Congresses to overturn the FAA’s new interpretation of flight training. Reflecting the input of AOPA, the current House reauthorization bill again reaffirms that those “who provide flight instruction or testing are not operating an aircraft carrying persons or property for hire.”

“For more than 60 years, flight training has been all about safety and we need to make sure the definition and interpretation of flight training reflect this,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We appreciate the direction of this NPRM and we will continue supporting provisions in the House reauthorization bill that would expand the LODA exemption and also ensure that flight training is defined and interpreted as it should be."

The House FAA reauthorization bill already includes a number of the changes the NPRM seeks to address. Developed under the leadership of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and ranking member Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), this year's FAA reauthorization legislation is the most general aviation-supportive in history. The full House is expected to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.

Alyssa J. Miller
Eric Blinderman
Senior Director of Communications
Eric Blinderman is AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications. Eric joined AOPA in 2020 after several years at leading marketing/communications agencies in New York and is looking forward to putting his newly minted private pilot certificate to work.
Topics: Advocacy, Pilot Regulation, Experimental

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