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EAA Working to Understand Shutdown Impact

January 17, 2019 - As the partial shutdown of the federal government enters its fifth week, EAA is working hard to understand how the situation is affecting members around the country. According to a call with a senior FAA official on Thursday, the agency is working to bring some administrative functions back online during the shutdown.

As reported last week, EAA’s immediate concerns continue to focus on the issuance and renewal of certificates for pilots and aircraft. Several essential functions requiring FAA support are on hold, such as the issuance of student pilot certificates and airworthiness inspections for new homebuilts. Approvals of special issuance medical certificates have also been disrupted as a result of the shutdown.

While essential personnel such as air traffic controllers continue to work with deferred pay, many FAA offices sit nearly vacant, unable to perform many important functions. While there are an increasing number of FAA staff members being recalled from furlough, these recalls are often centered on operational safety and inspections rather than maintenance and issuance of certificates and approvals. At least one company serving general aviation has been unable to bring a new product to market because of the inability to receive final paperwork on a supplemental type certificate (STC) for that product.

“As the lack of staffing within the FAA due to the shutdown continues, its effect on the GA community and the aviation economy overall are growing,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “While some disruptions are unavoidable given the furloughed status of much of the agency, we are continuing to engage the FAA to find creative ways to fulfill critical services and be flexible with certain policies. It is clear that there is a strong willingness on their part to do so, if at all possible.”

Last week, EAA was one of 34 aviation organizations that signed a joint letter to the president and leaders of both houses of Congress highlighting the partial shutdown’s impact on the aviation community. The letter asked the country’s leaders to work together to resolve the shutdown as expediently as possible.