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PILOT SCHOOL RESUMES INSTITUTION GETS CHANCE TO APPLY FOR NEEDED LICENSE SCHOOL RESUMES TRAINING.

Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

MOJAVE - Training of foreign military pilots resumed Wednesday at the National Test Pilot School, after the U.S. State Department lifted a cease and desist order while the school applies for a defense trade license.

The decision to lift the order came after school representatives met with State Department officials for about four hours on Friday in Washington, D.C., officials said. The decision allows the school to continue its 11-month test pilot course, which includes 15 foreign students in its latest class.

``We've got a letter lifting the cease and desist order,'' said Russ Stewart, an instructor and the school's marketing director. ``We're still not out of the water. We do not have our license yet.''

Although the school has been operating since 1981 and had been featured in national publications, the lack of a license only recently came to the attention of the State Department after Pakistani pilots sought visas to attend the school at Mojave Airport.

The nonprofit school offers the 11-month course at a fee of $500,000 per pilot. The training is similar to that offered at the U.S. Air Force and Navy test pilot schools.

The school also has a variety of short courses that target specific areas of flight test equipment and procedures.

The test pilot course provides about two-thirds of the annual revenue for the school, a nonprofit educational corporation.

Students get classroom instruction and fly a fleet of 30 aircraft, including the twin-engine Beechcraft Queenair, Vietnam-era Bell UH-1N helicopters and the Swedish-built SK-35 Draken supersonic fighter.

The State Department letter, which arrived at the school at noon Tuesday, states the school can go forward with its classes, but must not teach sensitive, technologically advanced areas until a license is approved.

The school will delay radar and electronic warfare instruction until the license is approved, Stewart said. The licensing process is expected to take 40 working days.

The current class lost six days of instruction from the cease and desist order. The school hopes to be able to make up that time.

The school received the cease and desist order from the State Department in December, stating it was not licensed by the Office of Defense Trade Controls and was in violation of international arms trafficking regulations.

School officials said they believed they were operating properly. The school had discussions with the State Department during the 1980s, but were never ordered to get a license.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jan 13, 2000
Words:409
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