GA Wants Better Vetting of Foreign Flight Students

 - July 19, 2012, 4:10 PM

Two general aviation groups provided suggestions to a U.S. House of Representatives’ panel yesterday on how to make further security improvements to the process of training flight school students from foreign countries in the U.S.

Doug Carr, NBAA vice president for safety, security, operations and regulation, told lawmakers on the House subcommittee on transportation security that the collaborative government-industry approach to security in the years since 9/11 should continue to be applied to the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) implementation of its program for screening student pilot candidates from other countries. He also offered several recommendations to bring further clarity and consistency to vetting foreign flight training candidates.

Jens Hennig, GAMA vice president of operations, testified about policy changes developed jointly between industry and the TSA during the past few years. He added that GAMA filed a petition in 2011 to restructure the Alien Flight Student Program (AFSP).

GAMA also provided its perspectives on the recommendations released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to reform the program. The report said that a loophole could allow foreign flight students to take flying lessons before even being cleared to fly as passengers on U.S. airlines.

GAMA believes the restructuring of the program will provide a more effective vetting of foreign nationals seeking flight training while increasing the efficiency of the program,” Hennig said.