June 5, 2014 - Legislation to alter the third-class medical certificate requirement for private pilots continues to work its way through Congress, while the aviation community awaits an announced rulemaking proposal from the FAA to reform aeromedical certification.
H.R. 3708, the House version of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act filed by Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), has so far garnered the co-sponsorship of over a quarter of the chamber and is currently before the House Subcommittee on Aviation. The bill would allow pilots of aircraft less than 6,000 gross take off weight, with six seats or fewer, and flying VFR under 250 knots and under 14,000 feet MSL to fly with a valid driver’s license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate. EAA, AOPA, and other associations continue to lobby vigorously for the measure on the GA community’s behalf.
At the same time, the FAA has announced a “rulemaking project” to modify third-class medical requirements. The specific language of this proposed rulemaking is not yet known, but a public announcement is expected in the near future. This follows the EAA/AOPA petition for exemption to the third-class rules for many pilots, which has been under evaluation by the FAA for more than two years.
“We are eager to see what the FAA’s proposed rulemaking offers the GA community,” said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. “That said, we are leaving open all options for bringing needed reform to aeromedical certification, and we will diligently pursue all possible avenues for change until we have an acceptable end result.”