As you may know, the FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2011 has now been signed into law. Buried within the law is a section that mandates FAA oversight of Part 141 flight schools. Section 561 requires the FAA to submit a plan to congress by 2/13/2013 that details how the FAA will oversee Part 141 flight schools. Specifically, the plan must include measures “(1) ensuring that the curriculum and course outline requirements for such schools under subpart C of such part are being met; and (2) conducting on-site inspections of each such school not less frequently than once every 2 years.”
Additionally, Section 561 requires the General Accounting Office (“GAO”) to “conduct a comprehensive study of flight schools, flight education, and academic training requirements for certification of an individual as a pilot.” The GAO must then submit a report with the study’s results to the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation by 8/6/2011.
Since Part 141 flight schools are already regulated and subject to FAA oversight, it is unclear exactly what this mandated oversight will entail. Will it be more? Could be. Will it be less? Doubtful. Or will it be something else? Possibly. I guess we will have to see what the FAA submits. Also, with such a broad directive, it will be interesting to see the results of the GAO study when they are released. Should make for good reading.