Sept. 27, 2021

NBAA applauds a bipartisan effort in the House of Representatives to eliminate a recent change to FAA policy that reclassified flight instruction performed by certain Part 91 operators as commercial operations that required a formal waiver from the agency.

Under the new FAA policy, which went into effect July 12, flight instruction in limited, experimental or primary categories of aircraft is deemed contrary to Part 91 regulations, as the flight instructor is compensated for the training. This policy reverses decades of FAA precedent that defined commercial operations as the transportation of persons or property for compensation or hire.

The affected flight instructors must now obtain a letter of deviation authority from the FAA to provide flight training services in limited, experimental or primary category aircraft, placing an undue burden on these pilots without a clear safety benefit.

This unwarranted policy change prompted a coalition of general aviation groups, including NBAA, to campaign for a legislative fix, and in late July the industry group issued their support for the Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act of 2021, which was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and in the House by Rep. Sam Graves (R-6-MO).

Read the Letter of Support for the Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act (PDF)

The advocacy effort has also resulted in the successful inclusion of an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal 2022 by Rep. Graves and Rep. Kai Kahele (D-1-HI) that states, “a flight instructor providing student instruction, flight instruction or flight training shall not be deemed to be operating an aircraft carrying persons or property for compensation or hire.”

On Sept. 23 the House passed its version of the NDAA for 2022, and the Senate is expected to consider its version in October. Both bills will then be reconciled before being sent to President Biden to sign.

“NBAA applauds Rep. Graves and Kahele and Sen. Inhofe for championing the safety and rights of general aviation pilots and for helping to rectify the inconsistencies of this policy change on flight instruction,” said NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen.

“Our success also comes from the support of the general aviation community,” Bolen added. “But our mission is not over, and we must maintain our outreach to support this important amendment and ensure the rights of general aviation pilots and flight instructors are protected.”

Visit NBAA’s dedicated advocacy resource to find out how the association is representing business aviation before policymakers at the state, federal and local level.