FAA Extends Medical, Training Relief

 - June 26, 2020, 12:06 PM

This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.

The FAA yesterday released an extension to a special federal aviation regulation (SFAR) to provide up to three months on certain deadlines surrounding medical, training, and testing requirements. SFAR 118 originally was issued on April 29 at the request of industry groups concerned that airmen would be unable to meet deadlines amid the travel restrictions, operational restrictions, and general health concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

To be published in the Federal Register on June 29, the amended document grants an additional three months for all classes of medical certifications (except BasicMed) that were set to expire from April through September, and provides other extensions for requirements surrounding certain flight reviews and crew requirements, among others.

“Without the relief in this SFAR, beginning July 1, 2020, and with each month thereafter, a new group of pilots will become unavailable to perform critical operations due to an inability to comply with regulatory requirements,” the agency said. “The amendment recognizes that even as stay-at-home advisories are lifted, airmen continue to experience difficulty complying with certain training, recency, checking, testing, and duration requirements.”

Aviation groups, which have continued to work with the FAA as the previously relief was set to expire, praised the extension. “We are pleased the FAA recognized the unprecedented situation that general aviation pilots and operators continue to face during this crisis,” said NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen.

“During this complicated time, it comes as a relief for many general aviation pilots affected by the ever-changing situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic,” agreed Mark Baker, AOPA president and CEO. “We look forward to seeing more pilots returning to the skies safely while also having this extension to make it easier to remain in compliance with medical certifications while doing so.”