Sept. 23, 2016

The FAA on Sept. 15 updated its guidance for corporate shuttle and other large aircraft operations. The update to Advisory Circular (AC) 125-1 incorporates more than two years’ worth of suggestions for addressing issues identified by NBAA’s Corporate Shuttle Working Group and Part 125 operators.

The new AC, 125-1A – Operations of Large Airplanes Subject to 14 CFR Part 125 – is similar to that of the January 1981 version it replaces. But changes in the industry over the last 35 years mean that almost everything else in the 76-page AC is either new or significantly revised.

One of the most substantial changes is clear guidance on Part 125 training requirements. “You are not required to have a formal training program,” the AC states, “however, you should provide training for your crewmembers, or otherwise assure that they will be capable of successfully completing the [Part 125] testing requirements.”

In the past, a lack of clear guidance meant some FAA Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) required formal training programs – often modeled after Part 121 or Part 135 requirements – while others did not.

“The new AC substantially clarifies how an operator can comply with the training requirements,” said Lee Blake, corporate shuttle manager at Cummins and vice chair of NBAA’s Domestic Operations Committee. “Hopefully, this will help reduce the variation seen across FSDOs.”

The new guidance also clarifies the roles that Part 142 training centers can play in helping operators meet Part 125 requirements. For instance, the AC states operators can contract with Part 142 training centers for many functions, including providing check airmen.

“The updated guidance brings clarity to many issues that have challenged operators required to meet Part 125,” said Brian Koester, NBAA manager for operations. “NBAA lauds the FAA for working with industry to help establish clearer expectations that will lead to safer operations and more consistent applications of the regulations.”

NBAA’s Domestic Operations Committee and Corporate Shuttle Working Group collaborated closely with the FAA on the new guidance. NBAA representatives met with the agency on several occasions over the last few years to discuss key issues that needed updating, and provided detailed comments on the draft AC.

Download AC 125-1A (PDF)