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EAA Efforts Bring Change to Aviation Medical Certification and Processing

 

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (April 4, 2006) — One of the pilot community's most pressing needs, the timely processing of aviation medical certification special issuances, is poised for a practical solution thanks to the work of the Experimental Aircraft Association, its members and the EAA Aeromedical Council.

EAA President Tom Poberezny, EAA government relations staff and Aeromedical Council representatives were invited to Washington, D.C., on March 30 to meet with senior Federal Aviation Administration officials that included Associate Administrator Nick Sabatini and FAA Flight Surgeon Dr. Fred Tilton. During that session, EAA followed up on the organization's recommendations submitted to FAA last December.

"We were very pleased to hear that FAA had listened to EAA members' concerns regarding medical certification delays and to EAA's ideas to relieve the backlog of special issuance cases," Poberezny said. "FAA is taking immediate steps to ease the backlog, while at the same time working toward sweeping, long-term improvement in the medical certification process. This is a big step that will benefit all pilots as they continue to enjoy the freedom of flight."

EAA's recommendations to improve medical certification processing were contained in a proposal that featured four major points:

  • Review of the interval between medical examinations
  • Review of special issuance medical conditions, with the potential for eliminating some and reduced reporting requirements for others
  • A "Super AME" concept, which includes Aviation Medical Examiners willing to accept the responsibility of review and approval authority for medical certifications
  • Review of the Third-Class medical certification with possibilities ranging from relaxed medical requirements to complete elimination of that certificate.

EAA's proposal grew out of the annual "Meet the Administrator" session at EAA AirVenture 2005, where EAA members and other pilots repeatedly voiced concerns about the current medical certification process, particularly in the areas of special issuances. Since this is a topic that will affect tens of thousands of pilots during their lifetimes, EAA used its positive relationship with government officials to craft practical recommendations to meet this challenge.

In response, FAA called EAA's recommendations "right on target" and is immediately undertaking several actions to ease the special issuance backlog:

  • FAA regional flight surgeons will help review special issuance cases, increasing the number of doctors available to review and approve these applications
  • Increasing the number of approved conditions for which medical examiners may renew special issuance certificates, instead of sending those applications to FAA for review
  • Educate AMEs to participate more fully in the Aviation Medical Examiner Assisted Special Issuance process, in order to dramatically ease the renewal of special issuance certificates
  • Explore EAA's recommendation for increased medical certificate duration and greater delegation of authority to individual AMEs under EAA's "Super AME" proposal.

"EAA's Aeromedical Council of physicians, who volunteer to assist fellow EAA members with medical questions and issues, has done outstanding work to outline the current situation and provide solutions," Poberezny said. "EAA and this council will continue to work with FAA to ensure that the promised changes are implemented to improve the process for all pilots."

EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH is The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration and EAA's yearly membership convention. EAA members receive lowest prices on admission rates. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1-800-JOIN-EAA (1-800-564-6322) or visit www.eaa.org. EAA AirVenture information is also available through the World Wide Web at www.airventure.org.

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