Charter Operators Face Grounding Over Training Issue
Charter operators might see pilots and fleets grounded because of a change made last year to the FAA Inspector’s Handbook. The handbook clarifies FAR 135.337 by stating: “Before an air carrier authorizes a contract instructor or nominates an individual to become a contract check airman, the air carrier must provide its POI [principal operations inspector] with evidence that these individuals have completed at least one air carrier’s initial training and qualification curriculum as a flight crewmember for an operator certificated under the same CFR part.”
The problem, according to operators, is that FAA POIs had previously approved Part 142 instructors and check airmen who didn’t strictly meet the above requirements, and few instructors and check airmen meet those specific standards. Volo Aviation is facing the prospect of not being able to find a qualified check airman and the company’s fleet could be grounded by March, it said. Sky Limo Air Charter told AIN that one of its jets has been grounded for more than 75 days due to this issue.
FlightSafety International is aware of this situation and is discussing this issue with the FAA. NBAA and other organizations have developed a proposal to the FAA to resolve this problem, according to Doug Carr, the association’s vice president of safety, security, operations and regulation. “We’ve got a phone call with the FAA on Monday to discuss how we’re going to move forward.”