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FAA Proposes New Set of Pilot, Instructor, and Flight School Rules

September 3, 2009 — The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for changes to rules governing certification of pilots, flight instructors, and pilot schools. According to the FAA, drivers of these revisions include changing aviation technologies, the latest research findings, and a rededicated focus on ensuring that pilots have adequate training and qualifications to operate safely in the National Airspace System.

The proposals include requiring pilot-in-command (PIC) proficiency checks for pilots who act as PIC of single-piloted, turbojet-powered airplanes; allowing pilot applicants to apply for a private pilot certificate and an instrument rating simultaneously; and making allowance in the rule to provide for the issuance of standard U.S. pilot certificates on the basis of an international licensing agreement between the FAA and a foreign civil aviation authority (such as in place with Canada).

The FAA is also proposing that pilot schools can utilize Internet-based training programs without requiring a physical ground training facility and to allow pilot schools and provisional pilot schools to apply for a combined private pilot certification and instrument rating course. In addition, the FAA proposes revisions to the definition of “complex airplane” to include airplanes that are equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC) system consisting of a digital computer and associated accessories for controlling both the engine and propeller with a single lever control. A FADEC-equipped airplane will be considered being equivalent to one having a controllable pitch propeller. Retractable Landing Gear and flaps are still required.

EAA’s Government Affairs unit is reviewing the proposed rule changes and will share its thoughts and comments as they are developed.

Public comments must be submitted to the FAA on or before November 30, 2009. Instructions on submitting a comment are contained within the NPRM.

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