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Brooks introduces bill to help civilian Defense Department pilots qualify for licenses

DOD civilian pilots cannot currently use FAA regulation to add an FAA certificate or rating.


Congressman Mo Brooks, R-Alabama, on Thursday introduced the Civilian Aviation Certification Equity Act. This legislation would require that the Federal Aviation Administration modify their existing regulations so that Department of Defense civilian pilots who receive the same training, instruction and qualifications as their active-duty, reserve and national guard counterparts receive the same treatment with respect to FAA recognition of pilot ratings.

“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) currently allows active-duty, reserve, and national guard pilots to use their training and flight hours earned from their time in the military to qualify for a civilian pilot license and for type ratings,” Brooks said. ”But, Department of Defense (DoD) civilian pilots do not enjoy that privilege, even though DoD civilian pilots receive the same training and qualifications as their active-duty, reserve, and national guard counterparts. It is unjust to force DoD civilian pilots to pay out-of-pocket (which can easily exceed $20,000) in order to qualify for FAA pilot’s license and/or type rating when they have proven to be as competent flying their aircraft as other military pilots.”

“This issue was brought to my attention by a Meridianville pilot who recently asked the FAA if he could add (pursuant to existing regulations for “military pilots”) a certificate or type rating based on the qualifications he earned as part of his job as a DoD civilian,” Brooks said. “When the FAA declined his request, the pilot contacted my office for help. By requiring the FAA to expand the definition of ‘military pilot’ to include DoD civilians, I aim to ensure equal treatment of pilots with the same training and qualifications no matter if they serve as a civilian or as an active-duty, reserve, or National Guard pilot.”

FAA regulations currently allow U.S. military pilots or former military pilots to apply, on the basis of his or her military pilot certifications, for commercial pilot certificates, instrument ratings and type ratings. The FAA, however, currently interprets this regulation to apply only to pilot certifications earned while the applicant was a member of the U.S. armed forces.

DoD civilian pilots cannot use FAA regulation to add an FAA certificate or rating, based on qualifications earned while the applicant was a DoD civilian, even if the applicant received the exact same training and qualifications as their active duty, reserve or national guard counterparts.

Brooks is serving in his sixth term representing Alabama’s 5th Congressional District.

Brooks is leaving the House at the end of his current term to run for the U.S. Senate. Brooks is in a crowded Senate field that includes former Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda Blanchard, former Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Boyd Britt, and Prattville businesswoman Jessica Taylor. Former Brighton Mayor Brandaun Dean is running as a Democrat.

The Republican primary will be May 24, 2022.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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