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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 social distancing in terminal buildings.

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. 

Note:
Grundy Airport is currently closed so a stamp is not needed for the Ambassadors program. 

VA Tech/Montgomery County Airport is currently closed so a runway extension project can be completed.  The scheduled reopening date is July 14 but pilots should check the NOTAM.

Have the operating hours of Virginia’s airports with control towers been affected?

Yes, two airports, Manassas Regional and Newport News/Williamsburg International have both had their operating hours temporarily 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.

Note:
Alternatives for the In-person safety seminar during the COVID-19 crisis include:

  1. An online aviation safety seminar that prints out a graduation certificate (email betty.wilson@doav.virginia.gov for approval of the seminar).
  2. 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

I need an aviation museum stamp, are these facilities open?

All of the Virginia aviation museums that we have heard from are currently closed.  You will need to check the museum websites to see what their plans are.

What if I visit an airport that doesn’t have a stamp?

Because the Virginia Department of Aviation is temporarily unable to replace broken or stolen airport stamps, pilots may substitute a dated selfie of themselves and/or their aircraft at airports where stamps are not available.  Please be sure that the photo features something unique to that airport so it is easily recognizable (terminal building, sign, etc.)

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.

Note:
For those individuals who visited the Department of Aviation offices to have your passports reviewed just prior to COVID-19 restrictions becoming effective, we are unable to order the jackets you’ve earned at this time but will do so as soon as we’re allowed to make discretionary purchases.  You will be contacted when we’re able to move forward.

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 2020 Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Awards Ceremony?

No, a date and location have not been confirmed for 2020 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.

Thank you for participating in the Virginia Aviation Ambassadors Program.   Please contact us with any additional questions that you may have about the program.