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OP-ED: Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2
By Sen. James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma)
June 15, 2016 - The Pilots Bill of Rights 2 (S. 571) is the single most important general aviation bill currently being considered by Congress. The foundation of the bill establishes the third-class medical reform we’ve long been waiting for, and because of the support of the entire general aviation community, the legislation passed the Senate by unanimous consent just before Christmas. S.571 was also included in the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill and the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which have both passed the Senate.
S.571 has received consistent, strong bipartisan support in the Senate, and now it sits at the doorstep of the U.S. House of Representatives. In order to ensure this legislation is signed into law this year, it will take pilots and readers like you calling the House and urging that S.571 move forward as part of the House’s next steps for authorizing the FAA’s activities – whether that is an extension or a full reauthorization.
You and I both know how burdensome today’s third-class medical process is, and it’s the product of a system that encourages pilots to hide their medical conditions from the FAA instead of being treated for them.
S. 571 enhances the safety of the skies by entrusting the ongoing decision of a pilot’s fitness to fly with pilots and their private physicians, where an open and complete dialogue can be established. Under the new system pilots will be required to undergo a routine medical examination every four years with their personal physician after an initial review by the FAA when they first receive their certificate. The legislation requires pilots to be treated for all warranted conditions and to complete a medical education course every two years.
We have already done our part in the Senate. The reforms contained in this bill have been long desired by the General Aviation community, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless help of EAA members like you. I want to thank Jack Pelton, CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and his team for their leadership and support from the beginning.
Pilots across the nation have always been instrumental in educating my colleagues in Congress on issues that affect pilots. I urge pilots to once again reach out to their Members in the House of Representatives, remind them how important the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is, and ask them to ask Congressman Bill Shuster, the Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and House leadership to bring the bill up for a vote. Together we can finish this today.
James Inhofe is the senior United States senator from Oklahoma, representing the state since 1994. A member of EAA since 1981, he is an active GA pilot and has regularly attended AirVenture for more than 30 years. Inhofe is the original Senate sponsor of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 third-class medical reform bill currently being considered in Congress.