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Flight Training Policy Fix: Try Again
December 20, 2021 – The hopes for a 2021 congressional fix to the FAA’s flight training policy that has caused confusion and consternation among pilots were scuttled last week, when a bipartisan amendment was cut from the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) sent to the president for his signature.
The flight training provision, which was included in the House version of the bill and had been introduced in the Senate, would restore the flight training policy to the interpretation followed by the FAA for decades prior to this year. The agency’s change in July 2021 came from FAA legal staff following a court’s non-precedent ruling in a case involving flight training in warbird aircraft. The FAA used that ruling to limit the ability of aircraft owners in the limited, experimental, and primary categories to receive flight training in their own aircraft. EAA and other associations worked quickly with the FAA to provide immediate relief, which eventually came as a letter of deviation authority (LODA) to provide for such training. EAA maintains that the LODA program should be a temporary solution and that flight training in these aircraft should be restored to historic norms.
“It’s disappointing that the bipartisan amendment to the NDAA was left out of the final bill sent to the White House, as it was an excellent opportunity to fix a matter that the FAA’s leadership even admitted was a frustration and not safety related,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “While the LODA process is a temporary Band-Aid, we’re not done with this matter and will pursue all avenues to enable aircraft owners in experimental and limited category aircraft to receive training essential to safety in their own aircraft.”