The National Business Aviation Association has welcomed an announcement by the FAA of upcoming amendments to Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 118 extending validity on certain medical, training and testing requirements by up to three additional months.
The agency issued SFAR 118 on April 29 in response to concerns raised by NBAA and other industry stakeholders about pilot training, currency and medical certifications due to expire as the nation grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. As deadlines neared for the FAA's extensions on those certifications, NBAA appealed to the agency for additional relief.
The revised document grants a three-month extension beyond the original expiration date on medical certificates due to expire in July, August and September 2020, and extensions for other regulatory requirements such as certain flight reviews, crew requirements and provisions addressing large aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.
“The amendment recognises that even as stay-at-home advisories are lifted, airmen continue to experience difficulty complying with certain training, recency, checking, testing and duration requirements,” the announcement notes of the upcoming amended SFAR, which will be published in the Federal Register on June 29.
NBAA has remained engaged with regulators in recent months, as extended stay-at-home orders and social-distancing guidance have continued to restrict availability of safe or practical means of renewing those certifications.
“We are pleased the FAA recognised the unprecedented situation that general aviation pilots and operators continue to face during this crisis, and we thank the agency for responding to the ongoing concerns of NBAA and other industry stakeholders in granting these extensions,” says NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.
The FAA emphasised this and other “limited extensions” to earlier deadlines under SFAR 118 are to allow flexibility in scheduling necessary medical certification and training events as the nation continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, and that certificate holders “should seek to schedule those events as soon as it is practical and safe to do so given individual circumstances.”