A quick recap for those new to this Blog: I have recently moved to the USA and almost my first task was to sign up with a flight school to start training for a Private Pilot's Certificate. As with many things in life, however, all is not as simple as it might be. As a Permanent Resident Alien I must first be vetted by the Transport Security Agency in much the same way as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services vetted me for my Green Card. Fortunately, the TSA didnt take the two and a half years that the immigration process took and I he finally managed to fulfil the last requirement a week or so ago.
Hence, the following email:
"All of the required information, including fingerprints, associated with the following Request for Training has been received. Based on information available at this time, the Transportation Security Administration grants Permission to Initiate Training for the following flight training request:
Student: Timothy Elson
Provider: *****Aviation, Inc.
Training Request ID#: *******
Training Request Course Name: Initial
Training Request Aircraft Type: Piper PA28-181 Cessna C-172SP Cessna C-152
Training Request Category: 3
Estimated Training Request Date: 04-01-2010 to 04-01-2011
The Flight Training Provider has been granted authority to initiate training. Training must begin within 180 days of this email being sent by TSA. If TSA subsequently receives information indicating that the candidate poses a threat to aviation or national security, TSA will require the Flight Training Provider to cease training in accordance with 49 USC 44939 and 49 CFR Part 1552.
If you require help with the AFSP process, please visit the Candidate Frequently Asked Questions page at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov/afsp_faq.htm.
If you need further assistance, please contact AFSP.email@example.com or call (571) 227-4544.
I might quietly question the effectiveness of the prevention provided by the Alien Flight Student Program, or cringe that its processes must be followed every time a new phase of training begins (new fee payment, new submitted documents, new fingerprints, new photograph by the Flight school). In the end it isn't all that much of a burden for the student and I have no complaints.
I wasn't here when those foreign trainee pilots were unknowingly taught to perform the worst single terrorist act in this nation's history. I can see that something had to be put in place and I hope that this fulfils the purpose.
For me, I now get to choose between Cessna 172 and Piper Archer II. Priced $5 an hour apart everyone I've talked to has an opinion on which I should choose. I hope you'll share yours and I'll write more about it soon.
Oh, and the Alien Flight Student Program may be found at www.flightschoolcandidates.gov.