Flight Schools Are Open and All Systems Are Go…Well, Almost.
We are thrilled that flight training schools are opening today and that students will take to the skies again. This moment couldn’t have come any sooner for aspiring pilots who are eager to recommence their training and get back to business after lockdown. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean it will be business as usual, as per the regulations below.
So, what exactly does flight training under lockdown level 3 look like?
According to the Government Gazette 30 May 2020 Vol.659 No.43375 all aviation training falling under Part 141 (flight training schools) and 109 (aviation security training) may resume.
The guidelines for flight training according to the Gazette are as follows:
(1) Aviation Training Organisations are allowed to conduct both virtual and in contact aviation training to students that are South African citizens and to foreign students that are already in South Africa, subject to the applicable COVID -19 Regulations and Directions.
(2) Foreign students who are not within the borders of South Africa are allowed to only conduct virtual training.
(3) Additional authorization for training flights is not required, provided that the aircraft used is registered with an approved Part 141 Aviation Training Organisation.
(4) Skills tests are allowed, provided that the Examiner or Instructor is authorized by the South African Civil Aviation Authority to conduct a flight test.
(5) General aviation operators shall be required to develop and implement procedures consistent with applicable COVID -19 Regulations and Directions.
Will foreign students be allowed to resume flight training?
If you’re a foreign student who is currently in South Africa, you may participate in both virtual and in contact flight training (fly the plane).
However, if you are not within South African borders, you may only participate in virtual training for the time being.
Will skills tests be allowed?
Yes, skills tests are allowed provided that the Designated Flight Examiner (DFE) or Instructor is authorized by the SACAA to conduct flight tests. This means you can do an initial skills test or renew your existing license.
Pro tip: Notwithstanding lockdown regulations, it is always good practice to ensure your examiner is current and authorized to carry out your flight test. The consequences could be both expensive and frustrating if his/her license has expired because your flight test will be considered invalid.
will students be allowed to write theoretical exams?
Yes! The SACAA is open and allowing students to take their theoretical exams again.
Is hour building allowed during lockdown level 3?
Yes, students are allowed to do hour building subject to restrictions implemented by flying schools. Some schools are allowing hour building as long as no full stop landings are made.
Is it safe to do flight training during the COVID 19 pandemic?
Flight training schools are required to develop and implement procedures consistent with applicable COVID -19 Regulations that will ensure the safety of its students, staff members and examiners.
Your school will have measures in place before they open to ensure your safety. It is also up to you to make sure you uphold the highest hygiene standards and remain vigilant. Wear your mask and follow the COVID-19 hygiene guidelines set out by the WHO. Keep in mind that we are all responsible for one another’s safety and not just our own.
Be safe, be vigilant and be responsible.