The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the AOPA Air Safety Institute have created two guides to help pilots safely return to flight as states modify social distancing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Return-to-Flight Proficiency Plan for individuals, sponsored by Hartzell Propeller, includes profiles for VFR and IFR pilots and is designed to give a clear step-by-step approach to refreshing knowledge and sharpening skills that degrade after a period of inactivity, such as grounding due to local quarantine orders, according to AOPA officials.
Rusty pilots and dormant aircraft can be, by themselves, problematic. In combination, they present an expanded risk to aviation safety, AOPA officials note. AOPA’s guidance takes these factors into consideration and aims to help ease the transition to reopening while maintaining a high standard of safety, officials explain.
The COVID-19 Flight Operations Guide is designed to help flight schools, flying clubs, FBOs, and other aircraft operators move from risk “avoidance” to risk management. The guide provides factors to consider when making the decision to open and offers suggestions on how to do so carefully while monitoring for signs of sustained operational wellness, according to AOPA officials.
“AOPA recognizes operators have some difficult choices to make under unprecedented circumstances,” said Air Safety Institute Executive Director Richard McSpadden. “The COVID-19 guide offers them a framework for how to assess their situation and then some suggestions on steps they can take to resume and sustain operations.”
For news and advocacy updates around the impacts of the coronavirus on GA, go to AOPA’s resource page.