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Aviation Organizations Unite to Request Continuing FAA Relief
January 14, 2021 – EAA and six other aviation organizations requested the SFAR introduced by the FAA to help pilots during the coronavirus pandemic be extended a third time as COVID-19 continues to impose widespread challenges to aviation.
The groups proposed extending through March provisions of SFAR 118-2 that are currently set to expire at the end of January. The proposed extension, sent by the organizations in a letter last week, would give pilots with medical certificates or flight reviews expiring in February and March a two-month grace period. The extension also addresses instrument currency and knowledge exams set to expire from now until the end of March.
Although a vaccine is now available, the groups requested relief due to pandemic measures including social distancing and business limitations or closures still impacting life for all, including aviators, in the United States.
"Until the vaccine has been fully deployed, and quarantine and social distancing restrictions are ended, continued regulatory relief for pilots, aircraft owners, and operators is still necessary," the letter states. "The public remains wary of venturing out, and many aviation stakeholders desire to minimize their risk to exposure. Many pilots serve as essential workforce, who help the economy and transport people and goods will continue to face restrictions and challenges to maintain pilot privileges. These restrictions and individual health fears will continue to create burdens and restrictions that will negatively impact the safety and costs to the aviation community until COVID-19 is mitigated."
The letter requests that the FAA reconsider its stance on flight review extensions, which have previously only applied to commercial pilots or private pilots engaging in essential activity. The letter highlights the safety hazard of pilots becoming dormant and urges the FAA to grant extensions on all flight reviews, regardless of the type of flying, for the sake of maintaining proficiency.
EAA will continue to advocate on behalf of its membership regarding all pandemic issues related to aviation to best accommodate general aviation going forward.