The rule does state that U.S. citizens need only to prove their status to be exempted from the TSA check, by showing a passport or other identification, which the flight school must keep on record for five years. But the TSA's use of the term "candidate," which the TSA defines as "an alien or other individual designated by TSA who applies for flight training," seems to be causing confusion. Many of the rule's stipulations that appear to apply to any "candidate" for flight training probably refer only to aliens. AOPA said it has been assured by TSA Administrator Adm. David Stone that the agency's intent was to check foreign nationals who are seeking flight training, not U.S. citizens. Regardless, a slew of representatives from aviation industry associations, including NATA, GAMA, EAA, AOPA and others, will meet with the TSA on Thursday to discuss their issues and to seek resolution. TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis told AVweb on Friday that she was aware that various concerns had been raised, but deferred comment until after that meeting.
"The bottom line is that this was issued as a final rule, so at the very least, CFIs should begin familiarizing themselves with its requirements," AOPA spokesman Chris Dancy told AVweb on Friday. On Oct. 5, two TSA Web sites -- one for flight schools and one for flight-training candidates -- will be available for applications and instructions. The TSA will also be staffing a help desk at 703-542-1222. E-mail questions are also being accepted at AFSP.email@example.com.