The Federal Aviation Administration has granted the National Air Transportation Association's (NATA) request for an extension to exemptions regarding certain crew training and checking requirements.
The two exemptions, available to all Part 119 certificated carriers operating under Part 135, were initially granted to NATA in late March, with one extended until 31 July and another extended until 31 October. Operators that submitted a letter of intent prior to May 29 2020 in accordance with the original issuance of this exemption have met the requirement of Condition and Limitation No. 1 and do not have to submit another letter. Additionally, operators will be required to update the safety risk assessment or safety analysis and corresponding risk mitigations. Every Part 135 operator should obtain and carefully review these exemptions.
The exemptions provide additional time for completion of recurrent training and qualification activities of up to three calendar months after the month that the activity was due to have been completed. As an example, the inclusion of training due through 31 July means that, for a crewmember who was due to complete recurrent training in July as to a requirement that already allowed for one grace month, the original grace month is August. With this two-month extension, the crewmember's grace months are August, September, and October. If the crewmember completes the training between August and October, the crewmember will be considered to have completed it in July.
“Our continued engagement with the FAA is crucial as restrictions are lifted and the country begins a gradual return to operations. We are grateful the FAA understands the needs of the industry in ensuring access to air transportation remains available and the timeline required to address the currency matters of operators,” states NATA vice president of regulatory affairs John McGraw.
In other news, NBAA and other associations have requested that the FAA extend the effective date for several exemptions or extensions for pilot medical certifications, training proficiency and a host of other requirements contained in Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118.
The relief package, which became effective on 30 April 2020, with most extensions expiring on 30 June, provides regulatory relief for affected pilots to remain in compliance with several FAA mandates during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a May 29 letter to FAA associate administration for aviation safety Ali Bahrami, NBAA and other associations expressed gratitude to the FAA for the agency's quick response to the compliance challenges caused by stay-at-home and other mandates resulting from COVID-19. While many states are lifting stay-at-home mandates, and businesses are beginning to reopen, some restrictions continue to negatively impact general aviation.
“The aviation community continues to move through an unprecedented and unpredictable period in our nation's history,” the associations said in the letter. “The nation's return to unrestricted movement and person-to-person contact is taking longer than expected. While government entities continue to progress through various stages of reopening, additional flexibility will allow airmen and examiners to abide by CDC and individual state recommendations, while stimulating the economy and moving medical and emergency supplies when needed. The current mitigations in SFAR 118 will continue to ensure the safety of these operations during this additional extension.”
“While states and businesses are reopening, we are still far from normal,” said Brian Koester, CAM, NBAA director of flight operations and regulations. “This extension will give pilots and operators an opportunity to meet training and proficiency requirements in a safe manner and allow pilots to fill critical roles in COVID-19 recovery.”
Associations signing on to the letter include the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Air Medical Operators Association (AMOA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Helicopter Association International (HAI), National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) and National Air Transportation Association (NATA).