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Wed, Feb 28, 2007

New York Lawmakers Propose New Hindrance To Flight Training

Law Would Ban Solo Flight For Those Under Age 17

Legislators in New York state drew the ire of many pilots last year, after passing a law requiring mandatory background checks for all student pilots prior to the start of flight training. But that, apparently, wasn't enough; they're now trying to ban anyone under the age of 17 from operating an aircraft as pilot-in-command within the state, as well.

Needless to say, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association isn't happy.

"We are strongly opposing this measure, as we have for the past five years it has been proposed," said Greg Pecoraro, AOPA vice president of regional affairs. "We'll fight this, just as we are fighting to get the background check law repealed. Flight training cannot thrive in this kind of environment, and we are working to fix it."

AOPA notes the proposed New York legislation contradicts federal law. FAA regulations allow student pilots to solo at 16 years of age, and earn a private pilot airplane certificate at 17. If students are training in gilders or hot air balloons, they can solo two years sooner, and receive their certificate at age 16.

Under New York's proposed bill, student pilots couldn't fly solo in the state once they turned 16 -- and those in nearby states would have to steer clear of New York on their solo cross-countries.

AOPA recently pointed out to the Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce, and Industry, which is reviewing the bill, that the FAA and Transportation Security Administration regulate flight schools, training, and security... not the state.



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