Bureaucracy Bogs Alien Rule

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Credentials Slow In Coming, Says Sporty's...

If one of the most recognizable flight-training institutions in the U.S. has trouble complying with the new alien training rule, what must that mean for the thousands of independent instructors and small flight schools across the country? So wonders Eric Radtke, CEO of Sporty's Academy Inc. and the recipient of the necessary credentials to teach foreign students several days after the rule went into effect. "We finally got ours last week," Radtke told AVweb. He said the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) left vetting the qualifications of flying schools to local Flight Standards District Offices (FSDOs) -- without telling the FSDOs. "Everyone is having the exact same problem," he said. In Sporty's case, it meant a three-week wait for the right paperwork (cyber paperwork, at that) and maybe some missed customers. To apply for flight training, a foreign student must select from a pull-down menu of approved schools and Sporty's wasn't there until a few days after the rule took effect on Oct. 20. Radtke said his main beef, however, is the sudden way the rule was implemented, without public input and without consultation with the training industry. "It was kind of a shock," he said. The rule was announced on Sept. 20 and schools were given a month to comply. To further complicate things, the TSA has issued several amendments (good ones, according to most in the industry) but it's helpful to have a roadmap, such as the one put together by the National Business Aviation Association.