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Masks required during Flight Instruction?
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Are there any current FAA/TSA requirements around mask wearing during flight instruction? 
4 Replies
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Hello,

There are none for flight instruction, although perhaps a good idea especially if you or the flight instructor are not vaccinated.
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1230 Posts
The latest CDC pronouncements suggest that when unvaccinated people don't mask up, the person most at risk is themselves.  Choose wisely.  I was masking religiously while giving training (and demanding the same of my trainees) until I was fully vaccinated. These days, seems all my trainees are already vaccinated.
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This order from the CDC is still in effect: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html
also: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/pdf/Mask-Order-CDC_GMTF_01-29-21-p.pdf
It explicitly states "Persons must wear masks over the mount and nose when traveling on conveyances into and within the United States."
and yes the definition of conveyance in the order includes aircraft.
It does exempt: "Private conveyances operated solely for personal, non-commercial use"; However flight instruction is typically a commercial activity.

Given that they allow for vaccinated people to meet for commercial or non-commercial purposes I assume they didn't really consider flight instruction explicitly in this order.  I believe the level of risk associated with today's daily case rate combined with if the instructor and student are both vaccinated pose a very low level of risk.

However, as it stands today June 1. Flight instruction for hire without a mask would be a violation of this order; in my non lawyer reading of the order.
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1230 Posts
Frederick Niles:

It does exempt: "Private conveyances operated solely for personal, non-commercial use"; However flight instruction is typically a commercial activity.
...
However, as it stands today June 1. Flight instruction for hire without a mask would be a violation of this order; in my non lawyer reading of the order.

The FAA has long said that flight instruction is not a commercial operation.  See Part 119 and a host of Chief Counsel interpretations. As such, the choice of masking during flight training is entirely up to the individuals involved.