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Flight Training Bills Introduced to Congress

July 25, 2021 – Continuing the advocacy of EAA and countless other general aviation associations large and small, twin bills have been introduced in Congress this week to reverse the policy set forth by the FAA in their July 12 policy memo on flight training in Experimental, Limited, and Primary Category aircraft.

In the Senate, S.2458 has been introduced by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), John Boozman (R-Arkansas), and Angus King (I-Maine). In the House, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) is sponsoring H.R.4645. The bills prohibit the FAA from defining flight training in these aircraft as “carrying persons or property for compensation or hire.”

The FAA’s definition of instruction in Limited Category aircraft as carriage of persons for compensation in several recent court cases led to all compensated training in Limited, Experimental, and Primary Category aircraft as being deemed contrary to the regulations without authorization from the FAA. The FAA quickly implemented letters of deviation authority (LODAs) and exemption as a temporary fix to allow training to continue, but this still adds a bureaucratic step to what should be a simple transaction between instructor and student.

While the FAA immediately announced work on a more permanent solution via rulemaking, they acknowledged that this fix is likely to be years away. EAA, AOPA, and nine other associations signed letters to Sen. Inhofe and Rep. Graves advocating legislative action on the matter, believing the issue to be too urgent to leave to the regulatory process.

“By inserting needless paperwork into the flight training process, the FAA is acting contrary to their Congressional mandate to ensure the safety of the airspace,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “Congressional action is the most expedient way to fix the issue, and we are working to support the swift passage of this measure.”

EAA will have further information in the next few days on how members can support the legislation. The Advocacy booth will be open during AirVenture from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and 9-11 a.m. on Sunday, and there will be a petition for members to sign and a system for contacting Congress.

Have questions on this issue? Visit EAA.org/LODAFAQs.

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