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FAA Grants Restrictive Young Eagles Exemption
In response to a petition filed by EAA in the spring of 2012, the FAA recently granted a partial exemption from sections of 14 CFR 61.113, allowing pilots to receive compensation for flights under the EAA Eagle Flight and Young Eagles programs. While the petition included sport and recreational pilots, the FAA exemption applies only to pilots holding private pilot certificates or higher. “The inherent limitations of the recreational pilot and sport pilot certificate do not lend themselves to quasi-commercial flying of this nature,” the FAA said.
The exemption allows for compensation for the cost of fuel during EAA Eagle Flight and Young Eagles flights, including the fuel used for transportation to such events. There are, however, some new regulations associated with the exemption. For example, the EAA must maintain a record of all disbursements under the exemption, including the date of the event; name and pilot certificate of the pilot-in-command receiving compensation; make, model and registration number of the aircraft used and the amount of fuel disbursed. In addition, it is up to the EAA to ensure the airworthiness of the aircraft used for the events.
In addition to holding a private, commercial or ATP certificate, pilots must meet hourly flight and currency requirements. There are also restrictions regarding the flights themselves under the new rule. These include altitude restrictions, weather minimums beyond basic VFR minimums, including wind restrictions, and operational restrictions. For example, flights would have to be conducted within 25 nautical miles of the departure airport and no landings would be permitted at other airports.
The restrictions may make the exemption too onerous for the EAA, the organization said. An official statement sent by email to Flying from an EAA representative said: “EAA is continuing its review of the FAA’s final exemption for the Young Eagles program. We are concerned, however, about some of the onerous requirements that are part of this exemption and whether they fit the true intent of Young Eagles operations.”