...While The FAA Plays Grinch

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The FAA, according to some, is not above stepping into the season's most despised role. The agency has some strict guidelines in the use of aircraft for charitable purposes and pilots, who have spent their own money using their airplanes for the good of others, have found themselves under investigation and even facing sanctions. Those taking part in charity fundraisers or humanitarian projects should have a look at FAR 61.113 to make sure they comply. There could also be some changes to those rules via a controversial Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that is stirring up aviation backers in Washington. The new rules would require pilots taking part in charity events to have a minimum of 500 hours (up from 200) and would limit them to four such flights a year. A pile of paperwork also comes with the new restrictions. AOPA has asked for public meetings on the rule and is gathering congressional support for a review of the proposed regulations. "The FAA is also getting an earful from the public," said AOPA VP Andy Cebula. "The agency has received more than 300 formal comments from individuals ... Officials need to re-evaluate this rule and they need to hear from pilots to do that effectively." Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-Fla.) have each written FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, urging that public meetings be held.