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Bulletin 2-25-13

       

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BULLETIN: FAA ANNOUNCES CURRENT POLICY REGARDING FUEL REIMBURSEMENT EXEMPTIONS FOR VOLUNTEER PILOTS  

Dear Volunteer Pilots, Group Leaders, Staff Members, and Friends of Public Benefit Flying,

Friday February 22, 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA AFS-800 branch) published a notice in the Federal Register concerning reimbursement for fuel expenses for pilots involved in charitable patient transport operations.

The notice, available at http://1.usa.gov/ZugfYn , published to comply with Section 821 of Public Law 112-95 (FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012), effectively states that the FAA will continue to entertain waivers (exemptions) to CFR 14 61.113 as the mechanism for volunteer pilots to receive compensation for fuel expenses.  It further provides the current operating conditions and restrictions guiding issuance of the existing waivers held by several Volunteer Pilot Organizations (VPO's).

The Air Care Alliance has been working with AFS-800 over the past two years hoping to reduce the onerous restrictions contained in the waivers, and we have made significant progress toward this goal.

As part of these ongoing discussions, we were told late last week that the Notice was to be published in the Federal Register strictly as a matter of fulfilling an administrative requirement to satisfy the law.  We were asked not to release this information until after the Notice was officially published and were also reassured that this in no way obviates the ongoing discussion to get to a more reasonable set of conditions for fuel reimbursement.

In fact, ACA will brief AFS-800regarding specific proposals intended to reduce the burden on pilots and groups that choose to reimburse for fuel.  At this point, the Notice simply reiterates the status quo and in no way affects the ongoing discussion.  Our contacts in AFS-800 remain open to hearing proposals reducing these requirements, and to open, honest discussions about how to provide a higher level of safety in instances where pilots receive reimbursement.

As before, this notice and the discussions do not affect volunteer pilots who do not seek or accept reimbursements for their charitable flights.  The existing FAA policy still applies, as discussed on the Air Care Alliance site at http://www.aircareall.org/tax.htm

The Air Care Alliance welcomes your continued input on this issue so please take the time to make your thoughts known.  Send your comments directly to ACA President Lindy Kirkland at lindy.kirkland@aircareall.org

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