Calif. Legislation Could Cost Flight Training Providers

 - May 13, 2010, 11:46 AM

Assembly Bill 48, passed last year by the state of California, eliminates a long-standing flight training facility exemption from authorizing legislation for the Bureau for Private Post Secondary Education (BPPSE). If the bill is enforced as written, any flight training facility, including independent flight instructors, would need to comply with post-secondary education institution regulations, according to the National Air Transportation Association. Some requirements include filing an application for approval to operate; the right of BPPSE to audit a flight training facility before issuing approval to operate; minimum operational standards, including “all instructors must have at least three years of education or experience in the field they teach or the institution must demonstrate equivalency”; $2.50-per-$1,000 collected from students to pay for a student tuition recovery fund; and thousands of dollars in application and renewal fees. “We couldn’t afford it,” said Joe Justice, owner of Justice Aviation in Santa Monica, Calif. The legislation could run into problems with the FAA. According to an FAA spokesman, “The state cannot set limits on the qualifications of flight instructors or the curricula of FAA-certified flight schools. We could intervene to stop an illegal state action if someone filed a lawsuit challenging it.” The public comment period ends June 7.