Solo flying in areas with shelter-in-place policy
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Answered By AOPA
Currently there is a shelter-in-place policy active in CA. The official rules indicate that travel is only allowed for essential services.
Outdoor activity (walking, hiking, running) is allowed as long as social distance is observed.
Solo flying either for fun or practice does not seem to be 'essential', and is also not a direct 'outdoor activity', however, is needed to maintain proficiency, keep currency, and as long as it is solo, still observes social distance.
It seems though that with the current ruling (which may not be detailed enough on the flying aspect) does not allow for flying, even solo, at all.
Can AOPA get this clarified or discuss this with states/cities enforcing this?
16 Replies
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Just fly. Airplanes and pilots require exercise to remain safe.
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1012 Posts
There have been no explicit restrictions on flying issued by Maryland.  From Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's order:
 
"Marylanders are allowed to go to an essential job or leave the home for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes."

If your flying is "essential", say, because you need to maintain proficiency/currency (I'm not giving training right now, but I do need to stay proficient/current), or you're doing a COVID-19 support flight, or it's job related, or something like that, it's not prohibited.  People have been flying right along, although most everyone I know is doing it solo or with someone with whom they share living quarters.  You might also want to wipe down the self-fuel equipment before using it, or stay 6 feet from the line crew.  But I don't see a $100 hamburger as being "essential", not to mention airport restaurants are largely closed and hamburger is getting scarce.

FWIW, I've been out at Salisbury (SBY) several times to fly solo for proficiency (and to keep the the oil clear and the rust out of the engine) and to clean my plane (with nobody else in my hangar or within 6 feet of me).  The Wicomico County Sheriff's deputies aren't patrolling the T-hangars, and Salisbury Tower isn't asking why you're flying.
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I see the Governor in MD is allowing recreational fishing, off-roading etc as of May 7. I am trying to find guidance for Maryland's General Aviation community. Do you know if we're permitted to fly?
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Ron,

Thanks for the reply.  I just started flying about 3+ years ago, at age 58.  Something I always wanted to do.  Our club has been good as it allowed me to enter aviation at minimal cost.  I enjoy AOPA and my Foreflight, and  looking forward to getting back in the air, before I become a "Rusty Pilot."
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1012 Posts
Kenneth Jackson:
I recently spoke  to a member of the Airport Board and was told that the FAA had not grounded GA.  Seems to be a lot of traffic moving around, so I don't thing getting back and forth to the airport would be a challenge.

While it is true that the FAA hasn't grounded anyone, the fact that "a lot of traffic [is/seems to be] moving around" on local roads doesn't mean there are no state or local restrictions on leaving home.  Please do check your local information sources on that score.  Some states have said aviation is an essential service, but would recreational flying qualify?  I suppose that if you fly professionally, say, as an instructor, you could make the argument that maintenance of your proficiency is essential even if you're not training anyone right now.  But that argument might harder to make if you don't fly professionally.

In addition, shared airplanes like those in your club have risks of contagion.  See the following NBAA and AOPA recommendations:

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/march/12/senior-ame-offers-tips-to-protect-yourself-from-coronavirus
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/april/08/aircraft-maintenance-disinfecting-aircraft-to-protect-against-covid-19
https://pilot-protection-services.aopa.org/news/2020/march/24/a-flying-doctors-perspective-on-covid-19-virus
https://nbaa.org/aircraft-operations/safety/coronavirus/aircraft-disinfection-and-cleaning-procedures-guide-now-available/
 

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I am an AOPA member and member of the Stoddard County Flyers in MO.  We has hangered our club plane for the past two weeks.  I recently spoke  to a member of the Airport Board and was told that the FAA had not grounded GA.  Seems to be a lot of traffic moving around, so I don't thing getting back and forth to the airport would be a challenge.  I not seeing much traffic in the air, except for cropdusters.