The National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) says it is concerned that specific states may increase the burden on flight training providers by attempting to regulate their operation, and the latest state to enter that mix could be Tennessee. California and Arizona have both recently initiated efforts to regulate and/or license flight training operators, says NAFI. Now, the group says a NAFI member in Tennessee has received notification from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission that the state's Division of Postsecondary School Authorization seeks to regulate fight schools there. NAFI is currently seeking to assess whether that notification was sent to a broad base of operators, one specific location, or if it was somehow mischaracterized. Whatever the case, the organization is seeking relevant input and is hopeful that a positive outcome can be reached.
In instances where states attempt to further regulate flight training activity, NAFI argues that "flight training is a federally regulated activity that is conducted by federally certificated instructors or training providers, and in most cases at federally funded airports." The organization notes that states may have the right to apply regulation to commercial activities within their borders but is wary that it may have a negative effect on the ability of flight training providers to do business. NAFI "is hopeful" that collaboration between the aviation community and state officials will mean that any new rules will pass will relatively little impact to flight schools, student pilots, instructors, and their ability to do business together. Providing an environment that facilitates business could serve the state's own interests as well. Parties in Tennessee that can contribute information relevant to this concern should contact NAFI at NAFI@NAFINet.org or by phone at 866-806-6156.