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California Flight Instructor Alert

by John M. White |

California Flight Instructors and Flight Schools appear to be under attack by California's drive to find revenue resulting in my friend and 2008 Instructor of the Year Max Trescott to send me the following email: California Instructors & Flight Schools Under Attack Please forward this information to other California pilots. We need the help of all California pilots TODAY in generating letters, faxes and emails regarding new regulations that will levy large state fees, increasing costs to flight schools and flight instructors. This will raise the cost for pilots to get flight instruction, and effectively put many instructors and flight schools out of business. Since states often follow what other states do, this legislation could become law in other states too. California’s Bureau of Postsecondary Education (BPE) says all comments must be received by Monday, June 7. Even if you cannot meet that deadline, please send a letter, fax or email to the Bureau and your elected California state representatives as soon as possible. Their contact information is listed at the end of this email. Background: California A.B. 48 was signed into law giving the BPE, part of the California Consumer Protection Agency, authority to levy new fees on flight schools. The bureau appears to be taking the broadest possible interpretation of the law and proposes to include all independent flight instructors and flight schools, including Part 141 and Part 61 schools. To quote a story by EAA, “Each instructor would be charged an initial application fee of $5000 and a $3500 renewal fee every three years. If the instructor has a second location an additional fee of $1000 would be assessed. Finally, they would be required to pay an operation fee of three-quarters of a percent of the CFI’s income (not to exceed $25000 annually).” Compliance includes providing the Bureau with audited financial statements each year. Apparently, flight schools and flight instructors were included in an amendment to the law, due to the bankruptcy of Silver State helicopters, which left hundreds of students stuck with $50,000 loans and no flight instruction. Previously, according to a BPE document, “Individual flight instructors not having an established place of business other than their residence also were fully exempted from the Reform Act provided they do not negotiate formal contracts of indebtedness or require any advance payments. Exemptions from some, but not all, provisions of the Reform Act also were provided for Flight instruction schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration that were operating in California on December 31, 1990.” If you can attend the public hearing in Sacramento on June 7, please go and express your concerns. You’ll find details here: http://www.bppe.ca.gov/lawsregs/propregs_notice.pdf Writing Your Letter: Individual letters are more effective than form letters. Please write as little as a few sentences but not more than 1 page of comments telling your personal story and how these regulations will affect you. Explain the impact that complying with the new rules will have on you. If you know a Member or staff aide, say so at the start of your letter and state if you live in the member’s district. Be courteous, constructive, and not negative. If the regulations seem to be the wrong solution to a problem, propose constructive alternatives. Staffs are severely overloaded, so confine your comments to one typewritten page and address only one topic: implementation of A.B. 48. Contact Information: Please contact the following: 1.Joanne Wenzel Staff Services Manager III Bureau of Postsecondary Education 1625 N. Market Blvd., Suite S 202 Sacramento, California 95834 Phone: (916) 574-7784 Fax: (916) 574-8652 Email: Joanne_Wenzel@dca.ca.gov 2. Your California state assemblyman and state senator. To get contact information for your California state assembly and senate representatives, go to http://www.assembly.ca.gov/defaulttext.asp and click on “Find My District” in the left column . 3. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger State Capitol Building Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916-445-2841 Fax: 916-558-3160 Email: fill in form at http://gov.ca.gov/interact#email Thank you for your help and please forward this information to other California pilots. Sincerely, Max Trescott 2008 National CFI of the Year Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 ps: Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter "All Things Aviation" here!

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