GA Reacts To FAA's Proposed Changes In Pilot Training

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The time to respond to the FAA's latest proposed changes to flight-training rules closed on Monday, and nearly 400 comments were logged. The National Association of Flight Instructors said that while overall the 16 proposals are on the right track, they still had issues. "Some of [the proposed changes] lack the detail needed to fully allow their implementation," said NAFI Executive Director Jason Blair. "Others, instead of enhancing safety, actually decrease the level of flight proficiency and experience students will gain through their training activities. We also believe that further research on a number of these proposals is needed before final rules can be finalized." AOPA also commented on the changes, and said they would like to see some of the proposals go even further. For example, while the proposal would tweak some requirements for the commercial pilot certificate, AOPA said it would like to see a thorough review of those requirements. EAA said it was OK with most of the proposals, but raised a red flag regarding certain changes aimed at operators of jet aircraft. The changes were clearly intended to address operators of VLJs, EAA said, but would potentially impact the operation of warbirds and other vintage and homebuilt jets operated under Experimental rules.

Among the proposed changes in the FAA NPRM: Commercial pilot applicants, both single-engine and multiengine, would replace the current 10 hours of complex airplane aeronautical experience with 10 hours of advanced instrument training; flight schools would be excused from the requirement to have a ground school space if they offer Internet-based ground-school training; students would be allowed to apply for both a private pilot certificate and an instrument rating at the same time; the definition of "complex airplane" would change to include airplanes equipped with FADEC engines; and it would become easier to issue U.S. certificates to foreign pilots. The changes would help reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, the FAA said. Click here for the full list of comments at the FAA Web site. Click here for the full text of the NPRM. Click here for NAFI's full review.