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Medical Reform Update: What You Can Do

July 20, 2015 - EAA’s number one advocacy priority is reforming the third-class medical certification process.

As many pilots know, the current system is burdensome and its overall contribution to general aviation safety for the investment of individual and government resources is questionable. This is particularly true in considering the fact that operations not requiring a third-class medical certificate (balloon, glider, and sport pilots) experience a similar or even better medical incapacitation rate than those with medical certificates.

When it comes to obtaining a special issuance certificate, the burdens are oftentimes so great as to discourage healthy pilots from flying. EAA has worked for decades on this issue, through petitions and the sport pilot rulemaking, and today we are striving to go farther.

In recent years EAA and other aviation organizations have sought to build upon the success of the sport pilot certificate, which uses a valid driver’s license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate.

In 2012 EAA and AOPA launched a joint petition for an exemption from the Federal Aviation Regulations that would allow pilots of smaller aircraft to fly under similar “driver’s license medical” rules. The FAA responded by developing a rulemaking project that promised a broader and more lasting solution to the medical issue than even the original petition would have provided.

While FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced at AirVenture 2014 that the agency had approved the rulemaking package, it currently remains under procedural review at the Department of Transportation and has yet to be revealed to the public.

With rulemaking seemingly stalled, the most promising effort to reform the medical certification process is currently underway in Congress. EAA worked closely with Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) on the legislation that was introduced as the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (PBOR2), which would, among other provisions, allow pilots of most GA aircraft to use a driver’s license in lieu of a medical certificate with some conditions. The bill was introduced by Inhofe, and a companion bill was introduced in the House by Representative Sam Graves (R- Missouri).

PBOR2 currently has 38 Senate and 117 House cosponsors and is currently moving procedurally in the Senate.

We need your help! PBOR2 is at a crucial point, and we need more senators to sign on as cosponsors in the next few days to help move the bill forward. Please call or e-mail your senators today and ask them to support S. 571 known as the Pilots Bill of Rights 2. For more information you can visit the Government Advocacy kiosk in the EAA Welcome Center throughout the week, or find your congressional representatives’ contact information at Govt.EAA.org. With your help, resolution to this important issue may be within reach.
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