TSA's Training Rule Raises More Questions...

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Interpretation, Final Rules, And The Root Of All Evil...

As AVweb reported Thursday, the TSA on Sept. 20 issued what it calls an "Interim Final Rule" regarding the reporting and record-keeping requirements for flight training of foreign students. Reaction at first was a bit muted, but quickly grew to a crescendo of complaint by the end of the week as the alphabets got a better look at the rule and prepared to let loose on the 30-day comment period. AOPA's somewhat critical take on Tuesday, based on an "initial review," by Thursday had morphed into a full-scale attack. "Unless TSA clarifies that U.S. citizens are exempt, AOPA believes the rule could be interpreted to mean that, starting next month, they would not be able to complete flight training -- including flight reviews -- without first going through some type of TSA check," AOPA said in a news release. "It is absolutely essential that TSA clarify, in writing, that this rule does not apply to U.S. citizens." Much

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) contacted AVweb on Thursday to say its news release of Sept. 17, which expressed relief that the rule gives the TSA authority for the flight-school program (instead of the Department of Justice, "where the industry experienced numerous problems") didn't mean the association doesn't have plenty of concerns about it, too. "GAMA believes there are issues that need to be addressed and corrected in the rule," GAMA spokesman Jeffrey Sural wrote in a e-mail. For example, the rule should not apply to every flight school or instructor, but only those who train aliens and other designated individuals, Sural said. "GAMA will continue to work with the TSA, and welcomes help from others, to correct the initial draft of the regulation," he said. "The TSA regulation is an Interim Final Rule. There is a 30-day comment period. ... Nothing is written in stone at this point, and changes will be made." The TSA says that if the comments show that changes to the rule are necessary to address transportation security more effectively, or in a less burdensome but equally effective manner, "the agency will not hesitate to make such changes."