In The Name Of Safety And Security

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TSA's Reach Exceeds Its Grasp...

When Heinz Johner returned to his native Switzerland after living in the U.S. for several years, he brought something of fairly unique value with him. Now, thanks to the Transportation Safety Administration's new alien flight training rule, that hard-won CFI certificate is practically useless, unless he moves back to the States. In what appears to be case of bureaucratic logic gone wild, Johner can't continue his part-time vocation of giving FAA-based instruction in Europe unless both he and his students travel to the U.S. for fingerprinting and background checks. "I'm effectively grounded. I cannot give any more instruction," Johner told AVweb. Johner said there are at least 50 FAA-certified instructors in Switzerland who train pilots to obtain U.S. ratings. Students can take virtually all of their training toward instrument, instructor or other ratings at home but must be tested in the U.S. because there are no FAA examiners outside the U.S. Neither are there any agencies that the TSA trusts to take and transmit fingerprints. Johner said the TSA has confirmed that the only way he can resume instruction is to travel to New York to supply his prints and the same goes for the Swiss Cirrus owner he was training toward his instrument rating. "This requires one to three days off work and at least $1,000 for each involved person," Johner said. "It's basically impossible."