February 12, 2014 - The House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill that would compel any FAA requirements for sleep apnea testing and evaluation to be part of a public rulemaking process. The legislation was in response to controversial policy changes first announced by the FAA in November, with a similar bill awaiting action in the Senate.
EAA and its Aeromedical Council had joined other general aviation and aeromedical organizations in opposing the FAA's initial policy proposal, maintaining that the decision was not data-driven and had little correlation to actual accident causes. EAA was also greatly concerned about the possible costs to individual pilots who could be subject to the testing and that the subsequent backlog would overtax FAA's special issuance system for medical certifications.
"EAA remains dedicated to finding a solution to this conflict, but one that includes the input of those who will be affected by any policy change," said Sean Elliott, EAA's vice president of advocacy and safety. "EAA and its Aeromedical Council have offered alternative ways to address this issue without adding burdens to aviators or venturing into predictive medicine, even as this legislation works its way through Congress. We continue to urge that education is a much better remedy than regulation on medical certification issues."