TSA Amends Alien Flight-Training Rule

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Comments Get Consideration...

When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) released its Interim Final Rule on alien flight training last month, it included a 30-day comment period. Last week, the 30 days were up, and the TSA considered some of the more than 300 comments, as well as industry input from a stakeholders' meeting and other channels, and made some tweaks to the rule. The TSA clarified its definitions of terms, provided an exemption from some record-keeping requirements, and extended the compliance deadline for some applicants. Those changes "are a start but just that and only that," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "While some of our recommended changes have now been implemented, let there be no question: Significant issues still exist, and additional amendments to the original rule must be made." Boyer added that the rule turns "flight instructors into unpaid border guards," and adds bureaucratic obstacles for Americans simply wanting to learn how to fly (as well as pilots who just want to continue their education and increase their professionalism by adding ratings). "This rule also potentially treats loyal resident aliens (some 85,000 pilots) as potential foreign terrorists," said Boyer. "[TSA] chose to create this rule in a vacuum, and by doing so, they failed to tap into the vast knowledge of the aviation industry, the FAA, and other government agencies as to the realities of a fragile flight-training industry."