The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the AOPA Air Safety Institute have created two guides to help operators and pilots safely return to flight and facilitate a strategic return to normal operations, as states modify social distancing restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
“AOPA recognizes operators have some difficult choices to make under unprecedented circumstances,” said Executive Director of the AOPA Air Safety Institute 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.”
The Return-to-Flight Proficiency Plan for individuals, sponsored by Hartzell Propeller, Inc., includes profiles for both 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.
Rusty pilots and dormant aircraft can be, by themselves, problematic. In combination, they present an expanded risk to aviation safety. AOPA’s guidance takes these factors into consideration and aims to help ease the transition to reopening while maintaining a high standard of safety.