There have been lots of changes in all parts of our lives with the coming of COVID-19. All of our lives have been affected in one way or another. We hope and pray that none of your families have been directly affected by the illness.
A lot of us have been living under Shelter in Place orders for several weeks now, only going out for groceries and making sure to keep our distance from people. We have to take a different mindset when we go out now. Even meeting new people is different since we can’t shake hands.
Flying has been an afterthought for a lot of pilots. There have been multiple ATC facilities where controllers have been afflicted with the virus and have had to shut down for hours or days. Airspace can change pretty quickly, going from what we all know as normal, to an ATC-ZERO scenario. This was the case for New York Center several times over the last two weeks.
There was some uncertainty regarding flight training under the shelter in place orders and Texas Top Aviation has been asked several questions about it over the last week. Yesterday, the Flight School Association of North America (FSANA) announced that flight instruction was indeed an essential business.
In an article on GeneralAviationNews.com, the website quoted a memorandum of understanding written by attorney George Winton on March 24th. Winton was a senior attorney for the FAA and U.S. Department of Justice, and now operates The Aviation Law Firm in Annapolis, Maryland.
“This memorandum affirms the statement that…flight training would be included as a critical infrastructure activity. Those engaged in the provision of and receipt of flight training who work to provide enhanced compliance with CDC recommendations for limiting potential COVID-19 exposure and spread would be considered exempt from travel limitations imposed by local authorities.”
Winton’s memo was sent to the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). In the memo, Winton stated:
“CISA listed Other Community-Based Government Operations And Essential Functions as follows: Workers who support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for transportation workers.”
“The aviation sub-sector stakeholders involved with operation of recreational aircraft and flight schools, who employ Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers from the Transportation Sector, support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for transportation workers seeking pilot certification by the Federal Aviation Administration. Since CISA intended to be overly inclusive to reflect the diversity of industries, the aviation mode stakeholders understand that essential employees involved with the operation of recreational aircraft and flight schools continue to be identified as Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers from the Transportation Sector. Accordingly, the aviation sub-sector stakeholders who employ Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers from the Transportation Sector will continue to operate recreational aircraft and flight schools, appropriately modified to account for CDC workforce and customer protection guidance, based upon the CISA memorandum dated March 19, 2020.”
Based on the above guidance, Texas Top Aviation will continue to operate flight training in all of it’s normal capacities, while maintaining vigilance concerning sanitation, cleanliness, and health. Our company will keep it’s customer’s up to date on instructor health and wellness and won’t hesitate to cancel if there is any kind of health concern. We ask our customers to do the same.
If you are scheduled to train with Texas Top Aviation, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you might have.
To read the entire memo from George Winton, you can find it here.
Concerning the 2020 Texas Top Aviation Santa Fe Golf Fly In scheduled for June 5th-7th, that event is currently being re-scheduled for September 2020. Dates will be announced by the end of April. We look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe in September!