Ambassadors Program COVID-19 Questions and Answers
The Department of Aviation has received questions from airports and from Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program participants regarding how the novel coronavirus COVID-19 will impact the program and how it will operate during the crisis. This document seeks to answer some of those questions. As conditions change, we will update the policy.
Is the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program still underway?
Yes, the program is still underway despite temporary limitations being in place. Please continue to follow all Executive Orders as you fly and wear masks and social distance when on airports.
We will continue to supply passport books when requested.
Are Virginia’s airports open during COVID-19?
Public use airports are open unless there is a NOTAM posted. It’s still highly recommended that a pilot call before launching on a trip to verify that the fixed base operator is open.
Grundy Airport is currently closed so a stamp is not needed for the Ambassadors program.
Have the operating hours of Virginia’s airports with control towers been affected?
Yes, two airports, Manassas Regional and Newport News/Williamsburg International temporarily had their tower hours adjusted. Please check NOTAMS before flight.
I need an Aviation Safety seminar and a Fly-In to complete the program. Have these been scheduled?
In-person safety seminars and fly-ins are not currently available. Keep an eye on the Department of Aviation’s website for additional information as it becomes available.
Alternatives for the In-person safety seminar during the COVID-19 crisis include:
- An online aviation safety seminar that prints out a graduation certificate (email email@example.com for approval of the seminar).
- Choose to extend your flight review grace period by three months by earning three FAA WINGS credits (document this as we can’t access your FAA records). See https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/05/04/2020-09472/relief-for-certain-persons-and-operations-during-the-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19-outbreak
- The oral portion of a flight review if it is specifically documented in a logbook by the instructor who provided the review. The flight review must have been successfully completed within the last two years.
- A written test for a new pilots license or rating that was successfully passed within the last two years. The FAA form documenting that the test was successfully passed must be presented.
Alternatives for the required Fly-In during the COVID-19 Crisis:
An extra aviation museum stamp may be substituted for the Fly-In. You are required to obtain four museum stamps; a fifth museum stamp will substitute for the Fly-In stamp until further notice.
I need an aviation museum stamp, are these facilities open?
You will need to check the museum websites to see whether they are open or closed. While some of the museums are now open, they may have restricted hours and new policies for admission.
What if I visit an airport that doesn’t have a stamp?
What if the airport terminal building is not open to the public?
What if I visit a Virginia aviation museum that can't stamp my passport.
Ambassador program participants may substitute a dated selfie of themselves at airports/museums where stamps are not available. Please be sure that the photo features something unique to that facility so it is easily recognizable (terminal building, sign, etc.) and that you have the digital file with you when your passport is reviewed at the completion of the program.
I have completed the gold level of the program, can I get my passport reviewed and receive a jacket?
The Department of Aviation is currently unable to allow visits to our office so you are not able to have your passport reviewed or try on a leather jacket. We also cannot order leather jackets currently. Please hold on to your passport and continue to check the agency’s website for updates about when we can start reviewing passports and awarding jackets again.
While the Department of Aviation is still unable to schedule appointments in our office, we are holding two special events to allow Ambassadors who have completed the program (Gold Level) to get their passports reviewed and to try on a leather jacket. On the mornings of July 30 and 31, Ambassadors may schedule an appointment to fly-in or drive-in to the Department of Aviation's facility on Richmond International Airport and meet with Betty Wilson and Kim Wells in the Department of Aviation hangar to complete paperwork and get sized for a jacket. Appointments are available from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on both days.
Ambassadors who are unable to to schedule an appointment for one of these days, will have other opportunities to have their passports reviewed at a later time.
I have completed bronze or silver level, can I get my passport reviewed and receive my reward?
While you may not visit the Department of Aviation’s office, you may mail/ship your passport to the Department for review (please copy it first). We will review the passport and continue to issue pilot bags, hats, and pins as long as we have them in stock. Once the stock is depleted, we’ll place a note on the website and you’ll need to check back to see when they’re back in stock.
Has a date and location been set for the 2021 Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Awards Ceremony?
No, a date and location have not been confirmed for 2021 because we don’t know where the COVID-19 crisis will stand in the fall or what events may end up taking place. Any decisions we end up making about a date and location will be promptly posted on the Virginia Department of Aviation’s website. If we're unable to hold a ceremony in 2021, all Ambassadors will be welcome at the next ceremony we do hold in 2022.
Thank you for participating in the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program. Please contact us with any additional questions that you may have about the program.