Alien Student Pilot Rule Published
The Transportation Security Administration has released its alien flight training interim final rule (how an interim rule can be final only red tape can explain). At any rate, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is applauding the publication of the rule, which is mandated by the Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act passed by Congress last year. Although the rule raised hackles when it was first proposed, its final (cough) form seems to suit GAMA. The rule transfers responsibility for background checks of aliens seeking flight training from the Department of Justice to the TSA. It also doesn't require the checks (there's an as-yet-undetermined fee for them) until the student actually climbs in the left seat. Ground school and demonstration flights are exempt. Recurrent training is also exempt from the background-check requirement. "This action by TSA is good news for our industry," Ron Swanda, GAMA's interim CEO, said in a news release. "The United States trains most of the world's pilots and we want to ensure that this can continue safely and securely." GAMA says the rule strikes an appropriate balance between security and the practical concerns of the industry.