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Sat, Sep 25, 2021

Almost There... Flight Training Bill Clears Legislative Hurdle

The Amendment And The NDAA To Which It Has Been Attached Now Move To The Senate

A bipartisan amendment, introduced by Representative Same Graves (R-MO) and Representative Kai Kahele (D-HI), that would reverse the FAA’s recent policy on flight training has been accepted into the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The amendment, which encompasses the Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act of 2021, would negate the FAA’s recent policy that requires virtually all training in experimental, limited, and primary categories to be conducted under a letter of deviation authority (LODA) or an exemption.

"This is an important first step toward a solution to the FAA's misguided interpretation on flight training," noted Congressman Sam Graves. "The FAA did not heed the [Transportation and Infrastructure] Committee's bipartisan call to work toward a consensus solution in July, and now Congress is taking action."

The NDAA is defense funding bill with a high likelihood of passage, so it is an excellent vehicle for limited and targeted legislative language such as this flight training policy. Representatives Graves (pictured) and Kahele introduced the successful amendment with support from EAA, IAC, and other associations. Focus now shifts to the Senate, where a similar amendment will help ensure that the final legislation contains the GA flight training language.

In June, the FAA confirmed that a court ruling that confirmed their interpretation of FAR 91.315 meant that no training for compensation or hire could be done in limited, experimental, and primary category aircraft without a LODA or exemption. This broke with decades of precedent and even applies to an aircraft owner receiving instruction in their own aircraft. While the FAA quickly rolled out a streamlined LODA and exemption system to accommodate this new policy, it is unnecessary, contrary to safety, and has resulted in headaches and confusion for countless pilots and CFIs.

While FAA Administrator Steve Dickson announced the FAA’s intent to change the rule so that the policy would return to its previous state, the rulemaking process is a years-long ordeal. Legislation is by far the faster route to achieve this needed change.

The amendment and the NDAA to which it has been attached now move to the Senate where Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) will champion the effort to reverse the FAA's recent policy re-interpretation.

FMI: www.airshows.aero, www.eaa.org, www.faa.gov

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