Sept. 3, 2020
NBAA, along with several other aviation associations today requested the FAA extend by two months the effective date of several exemptions contained in Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118-1 (Relief for Certain Persons and Operations during the Coronavirus Disease 2019).
SFAR 118 became effective April 30, 2020, with most extensions expiring Sept. 30, 2020. The agency issued SFAR 118 in response to concerns raised by NBAA and other industry stakeholders about pilot training, currency and medical certifications due to expire as the nation grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.
SFAR 118 is a temporary rule providing regulatory relief for affected pilots to continue providing essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SFAR allows temporary extensions to certain training and proficiency requirements, medical certifications and other mandates.
In a letter to Associate Administration for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami, NBAA and other associations explained while many states are lifting stay-at-home mandates and businesses are beginning to reopen, some restrictions continue to negatively impact general and business aviation.
“Even though some restrictions are beginning to ease or disappear, many states and local governments are still enforcing social distancing requirements. The public remains wary of venturing out, and many aviation stakeholders desire to minimize their risk to exposure. These restrictions and individual health fears will also continue to create burdens and restrictions that will negatively impact the aviation community into the foreseeable future,” the associations said in the letter.
To ensure general aviation can continue to play a vital role in COVID-19 response, management and recovery, the associations requested:
- Additional extension of relief from certain training, recency, testing and checking requirements under Parts 61, 91 and 125 through Nov. 30, 2020
- Additional extension of relief from duration and renewal requirements for medical certificates and pilot knowledge test validity periods, among other requirements, in applicable parts of 61, 63 and 65 through Nov. 30, 2020
- Return of relief for flight instructor certificate renewals, which expired June 30, 2020
- New relief of recency of experience requirements, including night landing currency
“While the quarantine and travel restrictions are beginning to ease in most parts of the country, we are far from normal operations or business as usual,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations. “We believe a two-month extension of the existing relief and the additional relief related to flight instructor renewal requirements and night currency meet the FAA and industry’s goals of safe operations while still filling important roles in COVID-19 recovery.”
During an Aug. 4 NBAA Virtual Business Aviation Town Hall, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said the agency continues to review the situation as the industry struggles with the pandemic. “We’re looking at each [exemption] very carefully,” he said during the event. “As it makes sense, we’ll continue to [issue] extensions and do them with enough predictability so that our stakeholders can plan their operations.”
The associations expressed appreciation to Ali Bahrami and the FAA for the agency’s efforts to provide much needed relief while ensuring aviation safety during these difficult times.
Associations signing on to the letter include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Air Medical Operators Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, Helicopter Association International, National Agricultural Aviation Association and National Air Transportation Association.