Pilot Groups Ask For SFAR Extension

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Aviation groups have jointly asked the FAA to extend the terms of the special regulations (SFAR) that provided extensions for medicals and flight currency, among other things. SFAR 118 went into effect on April 30 and extended certain medicals due to expire between the end of March and the end of May until June 30. Biennial flight reviews due through the end of June were extended by three months with restrictions, and a grace period for instrument currency was extended through the end of June, again with restrictions. 

Now, however, with the country opening slowly and the FAA not yet fully functional, the “alphabets” feel pilots and owners need more time. The groups are asking for “an additional 1 month of flexibility for pilots, operators, and certificate holders to comply with certain training, recent experience, testing, and checking requirements provided in SFAR 118; additional relief until September 30 for duration, medical and renewal requirements provided in SFAR 118, and relief for pilots, operators, and certificate holders who face expiring experience, testing, checking, duration, medical, and renewal requirements in July, August, and September 2020.”

“We are pleased and heartened to see that the hard work by federal, state, and local governments and diverse groups of essential workers have resulted in a slowing and reduction of COVID-19 cases. In many places in the U.S., individual states have begun lifting stay-at-home/shelter-in-place restrictions and businesses are beginning to reopen. However, while restrictions are easing in some areas, we continue to see burdens and restrictions that will continue to negatively impact the aviation community into the foreseeable future,” the groups said. “The undersigned associations also request that the FAA make similar relief available to those pilots, operators, and certificate holders who face expiring experience, testing, checking, duration, medical, and renewal requirements in July, August, and September 2020. As previously mentioned, the nation’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is slower than initially predicted. The mitigations included in SFAR 118 have proven effective, and they will allow these operators to continue conducting necessary relief flights safely while accommodating stay at home orders and social distancing requirements rescinding at various rates.”

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3 COMMENTS

  1. That would be fine, but the SFAR is so narrowly defined that I’m not sure who exactly actually qualifies for the extensions, other than the medical extensions. I meet all of the experience requirements to have my flight review extended, but I can’t think of any type of flight I would make that would qualify for the extension. Thankfully I’m good for another year+, but many others are not.

  2. I’m a few hours shy of the 500 hours for non-commercial operations, AND the reason I want to fly is for proficiency, AND I’m flying under SP at present because my medical expired before the start of the extension period but my visit to renew got canceled by covid. So, I’m ruled out by a) the experience requirement for Private b) proficiency flying is not covered and c) Sport privileges aren’t covered.

    The mistake the letter groups made was to base the request in the idea that pilots help with covid response. They should have positioned it as minimizing unnecessary medical risks to AMEs and instructors, by allowing pilots to defer their visits to either/both.

    Oh well. I’ll go back to polishing the spinner.

  3. Agreed, “minimizing medical risks to AMEs and instructors, by allowing pilots to defer their visits to either/both” as a basis for requesting relief under Special FAR provisions. Hoping for a prompt response from the FAA.