July 9, 2021

An FAA policy, which goes into effect July 12, provides clarification on flight training for compensation in aircraft that hold special airworthiness certificates, including limited, experimental and primary category aircraft, and NBAA is concerned it could impact other types of flight instruction.

Limited, experimental and primary categories of aircraft are prohibited from being used for compensation in Part 91. In the notice, the FAA noted, “a flight instructor providing flight training in one of these categories of aircraft for compensation is acting contrary to the regulations absent a letter of deviation authority (LODA), if applicable, or exemption.”

The policy requires instructors to obtain a LODA to instruct in experimental category aircraft. Current regulations do not allow an individual to obtain deviation authority to conduct flight training for compensation or hire in limited or primary category aircraft. An exemption is required for instruction in limited or primary category aircraft.

View the policy in Docket No. FAA-2021-0592 (PDF)

NBAA noted this policy represents a new interpretation of the meaning of “compensation.” Typically, commercial operations, which are not permitted under Part 91, are operations involving transportation for compensation or hire. Now, the FAA views certain types of flight instruction as “compensated,” and therefore not permitted under Part 91.

“NBAA is concerned this new policy could lead to ‘regulatory creep’ and affect other types of flight instruction,” said Doug Carr, NBAA’s senior vice president of safety, security, sustainability and international operations. “This is a significant departure from the FAA’s long-held belief that flight instruction is not a commercial air transportation activity.”

The FAA is considering a future rulemaking effort to address flight instruction in these categories of aircraft without requiring an exemption or LODA.

Instructors seeking a LODA must apply via email. Instructors seeking an exemption must apply under the existing exemption process.

While the policy is effective July 12, NBAA, together with other general aviation organizations, will continue to engage with the FAA to determine the right approach for flight instruction in these categories of aircraft.