Flight Training Bill Dropped From Defense Authorization


It may be back to the legislative drawing board for aviation leaders trying to undo a disruptive policy change at the FAA they say has added unnecessary paperwork and bureaucracy to specialized flight training. Deep within the National Defense Authorization Act passed by both the House and Senate was a bill to eliminate the need for instructors teaching on anything but standard category aircraft to have a letter of deviation authority (LODA) or a written exemption from the FAA. The bill, called the Certainty for General Aviation Pilots Act of 2021, was among the casualties as Democratic and Republican leadership pared the defense bill down to its basics to ensure the military continued to be funded, according to AOPA.

The FAA policy change was announced last spring after legal action against a Florida company accused of disguising experiential flights in a P-40 as flight instruction revealed some loopholes in the enforcement of rules against that. At last year’s AirVenture, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson admitted the new requirements are a paperwork exercise and told the Meet the Administrator session that it would take four years to write new rules. He pledged to make it as easy as possible to comply and most affected instructors have done so. Still, the changes rankled aviation groups who worked with various GA-friendly politicians to get the bill drafted and passed. There’s no word on what the next steps will be.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. So…..in addition to the ludicrous comment that it would take 4 years to write new rules to undo their mistake (which caused knowing laughter and comments amongst the attendees) the FAA can’t even begin to undo their mistake–5 months after admitting it.

    This is “Black humor”–“the juxtaposition of farcial elements (in writing or drama) to give a disturbing effect.”
    It hardly inspires confidence in the FAA–the people that purport to “regulate” us “for our own safety.”

    Years ago, an aviation magazine looked at the number of times the FAA was mentioned in pilot magazines–and how many of those were positive, negative, or neutral. Time to repeat that exercise.

    And the FAA wonders why they are the butt of so much derision from the very people they purport to try to keep safe. Years ago, a business adviser told me “When you are wrong, ADMIT (your mistake), APOLOGIZE (and make it genuine), and ASSURE (that it would never happen again). A SINCERE, HEARTFELT APOLOGY AND AND IMMEDIATE ACTION WOULD RESTORE THE LOST CREDIBILITY TO THE FAA.

    • On a trip I flew last week I noticed that the ATIS broadcast at several large airports had already changed the “notice to airman” phrase to “notice to air missions”. Amazing how fast that change by the FAA happened. Woke politics at its best!

  2. Does anyone know the names of the “General Aviation friendly politicians” that Russ Niles mentions in this article?

  3. So…. Why are we even funding a ‘Defense’ of a country the national government will not defend?
    We are under an open invasion and zero is being done about it. So, why do we even have a defense or National Security Agency if there is no security or defense going on?

    Is a union of states even needed anymore if the main purpose of that union (common defense) is no longer being a part of what the union of states government is willing to do.
    I think it is time for or state representative to put forth the question the continued need for a union of states governance.

    If defense is no longer a function of said union is no longer being a function of the union of states none of the other regulatory governance is needed either. Each state has drivers licenses for ground vehicles, why can’t states also control their own skies?

    Just a question.

    • This all could be done very easily using the current or future representatives for each area currently described as states at a far less human cost than imaginable. The current union of states governance is bankrupt and incompetent under either party. England figured out the idiocracy of a union with country states without a common goal.

      Certification of pilots could be a state or country function now, as it is around the world. I would probably avoid a Road Island license as you might not be able to fly far if it isn’t recognized by other state countries.

      It is pretty clear if you look at any function of the union of states governance it is for the common good of only those in said governance, not for the citizens of said states, or the states themselves.

      If I go dark you will know the states union is completely out of control and needs to be resolved quickly.

  4. “Cost Paring”? Hunh?

    Stroke of a pen and back to previous status quo. Or spend 4 years writing new rules.

    Pick One on the basis of cost.

  5. Does it surprise anyone that the agency charged with supporting air commerce and insuring safety in this administration is more worried about pronouns than doing it’s job. At least now if you make a smoking hole due to the lack of available quality instruction you will be a gender neutral, diverse smoking hole.

  6. The FAA is a governmental agency. How is the government operating overall? One of the many reasons to not put your hopes and prayers into the hands of the government. Like a Xmas with no gifts you will be disappointed.

  7. Though there are thousands of government regulators, is there ANY government regulatory agency more feckless (“lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible”) than the FAA? Seriously–if your life depended on it, would YOU take advice from the FAA? Obviously not–THIS SITE is more popular and useful than any would-be FAA site!

    Why do we put up with a government regulatory agency that is unable to even articulate or accomplish their objective?

    • TSA! As far as other government agencies go how about Customs, ATF, or the IRS. Even EPA is as bad. But I will go with TSA as the absolute worst with the FAA right behind.