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The Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS) and Air Medical Operators Association (AMOA) are requesting specific forms of relief for their members as the critical care transport industry scrambles to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Steve Dickson on March 20, AMOA executive director Sally Veith asked for relief from regulatory time restrictions for air medical operators, their pilots, and mechanics during the crisis.
“AMOA members operate more than 90 percent of the air medical transports in the United States utilizing over 1,100 air medical aircraft,” Veith wrote. “Transporting sick patients to a higher level of care is what we do. As the COVID-19 virus moves through our nation, we are called to continue providing lifesaving missions for those in need whether stricken by the virus or other health emergencies.
“However, the implementation of COVID-19 mitigations throughout the country and within the federal government will impact our operations,” Veith continued, expressing specific concern about the ability of air medical pilots to complete recurrent training and proficiency checks in a timely manner due to the unavailability of FAA inspectors or authorized check pilots. The timely renewal of pilot medical certificates and authorizations for mechanics is also in jeopardy, she wrote.
According to Veith, AMOA plans to submit a petition of exemption for these and other time-constrained regulatory requirements, as “without the ability to extend these due dates, certificate holders may be unable to exercise the privileges of their FAA certificates. This in turn may hinder air medical response capabilities during the current national health emergency.”