Arizona Rejects More Flight School Fees

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Arizona education officials have apparently decided against following California in imposing potentially onerous financial and regulatory requirements on Part 61 flight schools. The Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education unanimously rejected a proposal to consider Part 61 flight schools as "vocational" programs. Doing so would have made the generally smaller and less federally regulated schools subject to financial performance regulations and annual fees aimed at least partly at ensuring students would be protected if the school suddenly ceased operations. Aviation groups and flight instructor organizations spoke against the Arizona proposal at a meeting in Phoenix last week, saying the new rules might force otherwise upstanding and successful flight schools out of business. However, a group that loosely represents students who have collectively lost tens of millions of dollars to corrupt or incompetent flight schools has a different take on the Arizona decision.

Jet University Sucks says the ruling effectively declares 80 percent of Arizona flight schools as "hobby schools" and recommends that career-bound pilots avoid them. The ruling doesn't appear to actually change the status of the Part 61 schools; the group has interpreted it to mean that "Arizona becomes the first state to declare all non-141 flight schools to not be for the professional career pilot."