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(out of date) Flight Schools and COVID-19 in the Commonwealth (out of date)

This article is now out of date.  See "Don't Travel for Flight Training" for current guidance.

The Department of Aviation has received several phone calls from aviation flight schools requesting guidance/direction on continued flight school operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We offer the following thoughts/suggestions/recommendations to flight school providers:

  • The Governor’s Executive Order-53 does not prohibit individual flight instruction. It does limit ground schools or other activities to no more than 10 individuals.
  • The executive order states:

All businesses shall, to the extent possible, adhere to social distancing recommendations, enhanced sanitizing practices on common surfaces, and other appropriate workplace guidance from state and federal authorities while in operation.

While social distancing of six feet is the preferred method for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, that is not possible inside the cockpit of a training aircraft.  The order allows flying dual by stating “to the extent possible”.

If two healthy, non-symptomatic individuals take proper precautions like washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes, sanitizing and disinfecting all surfaces, and maintaining what distance you can in the aircraft, you will reduce the risk of infection.  All surfaces includes NAV/COMs, mic buttons, flight instruments, yokes, seats, door handles, etc.

If your business is being impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic, help is available.  Following a request submitted March 18 by Governor Northam, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Virginia. Small businesses and nonprofit organizations throughout the Commonwealth affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis can now apply for low-interest federal disaster loans of up to $2 million from the SBA to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses.  To submit a loan application through the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, please visit

Here is Executive Order 53: