March 26, 2020

Uncertainty in the Aviation World Due to COVID-19

Michael J. Schofield is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Aviation Law and experienced civil trial attorney.

Uncertainty in the Aviation World Due to COVID-19

PENSACOLA, FL (March 26, 2020) –

Are you operating a flight school, charter operation, buying and/or selling aircraft (transactional), or do you have other aviation concerns? Due to the novel circumstances that we find ourselves in, there are many questions circulating and as many answers. However, in general, the federal airspace and the operation of aircraft, including general aviation, charter operators, air ambulance, etc., is considered to be governed by federal law with very limited state application. At present, there is no closure of the federal airspace, and there is no “stay at home” order on aviation – commercial or general. However, best practices may dictate that you sanitize aircraft carefully, wipe down control surfaces, limit the number of persons gathering at your facility, FBO, or flight school, and even limit the interaction between pilots, crew, passengers, instructors, students, etc.

If you are operating a flight school, at least in Florida at present many of those schools are still in operation. Most schools are taking steps to social-distance, clean all surfaces thoroughly, and avoid close interaction when possible, recognizing that it is impossible to separate six feet within the confines of a flight instructor and student. Some schools have also passed strict regulations on their instructors that if there is so much as a slight sneeze, tickle, or allergies, consider yourself quarantined and stay home.

In the transactional world, it is certainly far easier to engage the services of qualified counsel, and arrange for DocuSign documents, so that a transaction can be completed totally online and electronically. Unfortunately, there is still the necessity for a pre-buy and pre-purchase inspection, the retention of a good mechanic (A&P) to review an aircraft, and there may be the necessity to review aircraft logs and other documents. Again, common sense can assist in these times by having such items delivered to a location where they can then be examined separately with an in-face meeting with sellers, brokers, and other persons.

If you have questions in the aviation field, our firm stands ready and able to assist you in these matters.


Michael J. Schofield is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Aviation Law and experienced civil trial attorney. In addition to his aviation, he has experience in products liability, construction, commercial, insurance coverage disputes, and general liability. He is a Certified Mediator and Qualified Arbitrator in Florida, and Mediator and Arbitrator in Alabama. Mike also serves on the Commercial Panel of the American Arbitration Association’s National Roster of Arbitrators, and as an arbitrator and neutral in other ADR matters. Contact Mike at (850) 208-7062 or

About Clark Partington:

Clark Partington is the largest business focused firm in the Florida panhandle with offices in Pensacola, Destin, Grayton Beach & Tallahassee.  The firm also maintains a presence in South Alabama with an Orange Beach office.  Since 1976 Clark Partington has grown to over forty lawyers and has served the people and businesses of Florida through an innovative and collaborative approach to practicing law.  Our lawyers are consistently recognized for their service to the profession and excellence in the courtroom.  More information about the firm’s practice, its attorneys, and recognitions may be found at