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Friday, 26 June, 2020

FAA Issues Amendment to SFAR 118, Providing Relief Related to Operations During the Pandemic


The FAA, responding to concerns voiced by NATA and other industry organizations, will publish an amendment to SFAR 118 on Monday, June 29, 2020. The original SFAR 118 recognized that stay-at-home orders, social distancing considerations and other disruptions caused by compliance with CDC guidelines addressing the Covid-19 pandemic led to difficulty in complying with relevant Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). SFAR 118 provided relief from a variety of requirements in the following areas:

  • Training, recent experience, testing and checking requirements
  • Duration of medicals, knowledge tests
  • General procedures for completing a practical test
  • Renewal requirements for inspectors, flight instructors & pilot schools
  • Requirements for mechanics, parachute riggers, UAS ops
Since many locations still have significant limitations on travel and personal interactions, NATA has been in frequent discussions with FAA regarding the continuing difficulty of completing examinations and other events necessary to comply with FAR. The new rule, SFAR 118-1, provides relief similar to the original SFAR 118 but for a new group of airmen. It also modifies the relief for compliance with medical certification defined by the original SFAR. It is important to note that, apart from certain specific medical certification requirements, SFAR 118-1 is not generally an extension of the original relief. Rather, it is an expansion of relief to a group of airmen not originally covered by SFAR 118. Like the original SFAR 118, the relief for operational, training and testing requirements does not apply to operations conducted under 14 CFR Part 135. Relief defined for medical certification is applicable to all covered airmen.

The full text of the rule, including a comprehensive chart summarizing the differences between the amendment and the original SFAR, can be found here. In addition, a NATA webinar addressing the original SFAR can be found on the NATA web site under archived webinars or at this link. Members whose operations may be impacted by these changes are encouraged to review the rule promptly. Questions about the application to a specific situation can be addressed to local FAA offices, to the individuals shown in the “For additional information, contact...” section of the rule or to NATA at or

For general press inquiries, contact Shannon Chambers at 703-298-1347 or

The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) has been the voice of aviation business for 80 years. Representing nearly 2,300 aviation businesses, NATA’s member companies provide a broad range of services to general aviation, the airlines and the military and NATA serves as the public policy group representing the interests of aviation businesses before Congress and the federal agencies.