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"FAA Proposes Less Stringent Pilot's License"



Tuesday, April 2, 2002

FAA Proposes Less Stringent Pilot's License
FAA Is Taking Public Opinion Through Online Forum
Channel 3000


HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Federal Aviation Administration is considering
offering a new license for pleasure flying that wouldn't require as much
training or money.

Getting a pilot's license can cost up to $8,000, something many people can't
afford. This new license would cut the costs and training in half. But some
say the tradeoff would be safety.

Glenn Stewart teaches flight lessons at Capital City Airport, in York
County, Pa. His students don't get their licenses until they've put in at
least 40 hours in the air.

The proposed sport pilot license would require only 20 hours of training.

"If you're someone who's intelligent enough, has the coordination and is
able to do that in 20 hours, fine," Stewart said.

Others think safety will be jeopardized.

"It sends shivers down my spine thinking of people with 20 hours experience
under their belt flying around with me up in the air," said Ben Cling,
airport operations manager.

The FAA is considering the new license to attract people who want to fly as
a hobby, but don't want to invest a lot of money or time. They'll be able to
fly small, single-engine planes with several limitations. Sport pilots will
not be able to fly at night, or in congested areas, and will only be allowed
one passenger.

"We probably won't even know they're there. They'll be using uncontrolled
airports, in unpopulated areas, just going for fun flying. That's what it's
for," Stewart said.

There is another angle to this proposed license. Sport pilots wouldn't need
to be medically certified; instead, they'd just have to show their drivers'
licenses.

"I'm just concerned that if you're not healthy enough for a private pilot's
license, does that make it all right to be a sport pilot?" Cling said.

Before the FAA makes a decision, it wants the public's opinion. You can send
your comment to the FAA online through its discussion. You will have to
register to take part in the discussion, which ends April 19.

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