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4 Regulations The FAA Has Changed In Response To COVID-19

In response to COVID-19, the FAA has issued numerous policy changes. Here are 4 of the most relevant to you as a pilot...

1) Single Pilot Oxygen Mask Use

The FAA has amended its cockpit oxygen-mask regulation to reduce the potential for pilots to be exposed to any pathogens that may be on the masks. The amendment fulfills the requirement of Section 579 of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018.

In short, the revision says that pilots are no longer required to don an oxygen mask between FL250-FL410 when they are the sole pilot at the controls.

2) Distance Learning And Training Suspensions

This revision allows Part 141 pilot schools to temporarily use distance learning programs, or suspend operations, for a period of time.

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3) Airline Training Exemptions

The FAA has granted certain training exemptions to scheduled and on-demand air carriers. There are now grace periods for completing certain training and qualification requirements. Also, it gives crewmembers relief from having to don protective breathing equipment or oxygen masks in training, checking, or evaluation.

If you're training at an airline, these new exemptions could apply to you.

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4) Flying With An Expired Medical Certificate

This new FAA policy allows pilots to fly with an expired medical certificate without FAA enforcement action from March 31st-June 30th, 2020. There are a few "gotchas" to this policy, which we explain in the following article:

The FAA Is Allowing You To Fly With An Expired Medical Certificate

What's Coming Soon...

According to AOPA, "In times of crisis, an SFAR (special federal aviation regulation) is typically used as a temporary rule to address a situation listed at the beginning of the most relevant existing regulation... For the past several weeks, AOPA and industry groups have worked tirelessly with the FAA to find solutions for expiring certifications, currency, and training requirements... AOPA is very pleased and supportive of the FAA in using an SFAR to provide the regulatory flexibility for the general aviation community to continue its well-demonstrated benefits to the public."

So, expect for there to be more changes coming soon and possibly more relief for pilots facing certificate expiration, currency loss, and additional training requirements.

What other changes have you noticed in the industry? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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