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EAA Continues Efforts Toward Expanding Medical Self-Certification

October 28, 2010 — A report this week that an individual citizen has filed a petition to FAA to expand the use of driver’s license medical self-certification beyond the sport pilot category is one of numerous ones the agency receives each year. EAA, AOPA and other aviation organizations have been working toward expanding medical self-certification for pilots for more than two decades and are continuing those efforts.

 “EAA has advocated easing medical certification requirements for the past 25 years and has presented specific petitions to FAA for such a move,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. “Although EAA and AOPA have each had several petitions rejected by FAA over that period, we will continue this important work and welcome any pilots who wish to join us in this unified effort.”

For instance, one petition filed in May 2009 but highlighted in aviation news reports just this week, would ask the FAA to allow pilots to fly aircraft up to 6,000 pounds using the driver’s license medical certification. Such certification is currently allowed only in the sport pilot category, which includes light-sport aircraft up to 1,320 pounds.

 “The initial six years of sport pilot data have shown no increase in accidents caused by medical incapacitation, which is good news for all of us who seek an eventual expansion of the self-certification program,” Lawrence added.

Lawrence also mentioned ideas from many suggestions and petitions will have to be merged into a proposal that will meet the medical, legal and regulatory hurdles that exist.

“The ongoing goal is to find ways that reduce the hurdles so more people can pursue aviation, while maintaining and enhancing high safety standards,” he said. “EAA will continue to work toward that end with all interested aviation groups.”

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