July 15, 2016 – A huge number of EAA members and other aviators will now be free from many of the expenses and hassles of the current FAA medical certification system under legislation signed on July 15 by President Obama reforming that system. The provision was included in an FAA funding extension that replaces a short-term funding measure that expired on July 15.
“It’s important to celebrate this moment, which has been a long time coming and resulted from an incredible amount of work over the past five years,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO/Chairman. “EAA was a leader in getting this done because it was the right thing to do for members, working in cooperation with fellow aviation organizations, congressional leaders, and others to persistently pursue this path against many challenges. This win is for everyone who loves recreational flight.”
Details of the new provision, its timeline, and what it means for pilots are outlined in EAA’s Frequently Asked Questions sheet on third-class medical reform. More information about it will also be available at the Member Welcome Center during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016. EAA’s advocacy and membership teams will also be talking with members regarding the bill’s language and what it means for individual members, and hosting an information forum on Monday, July 25, at 1 p.m. in Forum Pavilion 3.
Also, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma), a longtime pilot and EAA member who authored the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 that contained the medical reform language, will be in Oshkosh to discuss the new law. Sen. Inhofe will speak on Saturday, July 30 at 10 a.m. in Forum Pavilion 1. Reps. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) and Todd Rokita (R-Indiana), who led the effort in the House, are also expected to attend AirVenture.
Meanwhile, appreciation from EAA members quickly came via social media and other channels to thank EAA’s persistence in getting medical reform to the finish line:
• “Props to EAA … for helping shepherd this through!”
• “Good job to all at EAA who have worked tirelessly for our benefit … you all ROCK!”
• “That is great news! Really believe this will have a positive influence on our industry.”
• “It's been a long haul. Thanks for staying the course.”
• “Now maybe someday I can fly again!”
Aeromedical reform has been a top advocacy priority of EAA members for a number of years, and led to EAA and AOPA initially petitioning the FAA for changes in the third-class medical certification process. The goal was to reduce the unnecessary regulatory and expense barriers that pushed aviators out of recreational flying and kept potential pilots from engaging in aviation. This new law, which will fully take effect within the next 12 months, surpasses the initial petition request by including more pilots and aircraft.