Dec. 23, 2020

The FAA recently expanded relief available for Part 135 pilot training and qualification, and for certain check airman qualifications due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The most significant of these exemptions relates to Part 135 check airman observations, which extends the timeframe for a check airman to conduct a proficiency check under the observation of an FAA inspector from 24 to 36 months, subject to certain risk mitigations.

“It has become increasingly difficult for operators to accomplish check airman observations over the last several months,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA’s director of flight operations and regulations. “Inspectors have been unable to conduct observations due to COVID-related FAA policies or their own personal restrictions. Many check airmen authorizations have lapsed during the COVID crisis or are about to lapse with no options for remaining current. The result is check airmen and pilots around the country risk being grounded.

“This exemption allows Part 135 operators to continue to provide critical transportation to assist in COVID relief, humanitarian efforts and economic recovery,” Koester added.

Review Extension 18685 (PDF)

The FAA also allowed for an exemption. which extends the limited relief from Part 135 regulations for crewmember recurrent training and qualification requirements. This relief is available for pilots with training and qualification requirements due in January, February and March 2021.

Review Extension 18510D (PDF)

“NBAA appreciates the FAA’s consideration for the hardships Part 135 operators have endured during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Koester. “These exemptions and others like it allow Part 135 operators, many of which are small- or medium-size businesses, to safely continue their operations despite the pandemic.”