Education Can Replace Third-Class Medical

The petition asks the FAA to allow pilots to fly fixed-gear single-engine airplanes of 180 hp or less under daylight VFR using a driver’s license as an alternative to the FAA third-class medical. Four-seat aircraft can be flown but with only one passenger.

The petition by EAA and AOPA to allow required medical education to replace the third-class medical for recreational flying is the first proposal that I think actually can improve safety and be approved by the FAA.

The petition asks the FAA to allow pilots to fly fixed-gear single-engine airplanes of 180 hp or less under daylight VFR using a driver’s license as an alternative to the FAA third-class medical. The airplane could have four seats, but pilots opting for the driver’s license option would be restricted to carrying a single passenger.

This type of petition has been made many times by various groups and even individuals in the past with no success. What’s different this time is that pilots using the driver’s license would be required to complete an online aeromedical awareness training course, including a test to be sure they correctly and completely absorbed the information.

Previous petitions for relief from the third-class medical have pleaded that the medical certification process does no good and adds nothing to safety. But that is not exactly true. The airman’s medical certification system as it exists now has many problems, but the fact is pilots need to be aware of how a variety of health issues can affect their flying safety. It is that information and education on how health problems can impact flying safety that is missing from the present medical certification process.

The airman’s medical certification system as it exists now has many problems, but the fact is pilots need to be aware of how a variety of health issues can affect their flying safety.

Under the present system we pilots tell the aviation medical examiner (AME) about our health and medical visits and procedures over the past few years. The AME then compares that information to what the FAA allows and a medical certificate is issued, or not. The certification system is neither predictive nor preventative. If we don’t tell the AME honestly about our health there is very little in the exam that could uncover a problem. And during the two years – or longer for younger pilots – the medical certificate is valid each and every one of us pilots determines before each flight if our health that day is up to par.

So we self-certify for 729 days that we are fit to fly, and then on that 730th day we ask the AME if we are. How much better and safer a system we can have if we pilots are trained in what medical issues to watch out for, and how to deal with them, and that’s what the petition proposes.

For example, I know that flying with a cold, or after taking some cold remedies, can compromise safety. But do I know exactly why that may be true, and which symptoms and medications to watch out for? No. But I would learn that under the required training.

There is an entire range of medical and health issues that affect our daily activities, and through the training we can learn how those issues may also have specific flying effects, if any. The pilot choosing to fly recreationally with a driver’s license if the petition is approved will have much more useful information about how health can affect safety than the pilot who simply goes through the motions to get an FAA medical certificate.

The bottom line is that we can’t just say the FAA medical certification system doesn’t work so let’s throw it out. What we must provide is an alternative that will work better, and that’s what the petition does.

I’ve heard from many pilots who want to see the required medical certificate for all personal flying under FAR 91 in any propeller airplane go away, but at this point that is not realistic. To make substantial changes in long-standing rules the FAA needs data to show that the new rule is better and safer than the one it replaces.

We have collected at least six years worth of data in LSA flying where pilots can use a driver’s license instead of an FAA medical and there has not been a single medical incapacitation-caused accident. It’s a good start. And the recreational flying petition, if it is approved, will collect safety data much more quickly because so many more airplanes and pilots qualify under the petition.

The pilot choosing to fly recreationally with a driver’s license if the petition is approved will have much more useful information about how health can affect safety than the pilot who simply goes through the motions to get an FAA medical certificate.

More than half of all piston singles have engines with 180 hp or less, and though I don’t have hard numbers, I believe the majority of homebuilt airplanes also would qualify with fixed gear and the 180-hp or less engine. That means that as soon as the petition is approved 60,000 or more airplanes will be instantly available to be flown by pilots with a driver’s license.

Bottom line, this is a petition to make the pilot medical certification system more effective and safer, not a petition to eliminate all medical standards. If there is one thing we have learned in aviation over the decades, it is that it is always safer to train a pilot on what to do rather than just say, “Don’t do that.” The current medical system just says “don’t,” but the petition will teach pilots what to do about their health and flying.

The full petition will be filed with the FAA early next year when details of the medical training course have been established. After the petition is in the system there will be a comment period and that’s when we need to make our thoughtful and constructive comments to the FAA. We at EAA will keep you posted on progress of the petition, and when and how to make your comments.

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105 Responses to Education Can Replace Third-Class Medical

  1. Pete Palumbo says:

    Mac: This sounds like a really good idea but why the 1 passenger limit? Just because Light Sport currently only allows a pilot plus 1 should not limit a 4 place fixed gear aircraft to 1 passenger. In fact, as I’m sure you know, most 180 hp or less can only accomodate a pilot and 2 passengers with full fuel anyway. It does not add nor detract fro safety to limit by 1 or 2 the number of passengers when the pilot uses a drivers license in lieu of 3 class medical for day VFR flight. In addition, where a 180 hp Cherokee fixed pitch prop aircraft cruises at about 130 kts, most RV’s (of which there are more than 7,000) with 150 hp to 180 hp, except the RV12, can cruise at 160-180 kts. How does it add to safety to limit the number of passengers in a 172 or Cherokee when the RV’s under this proposal can scream through the sky at very fast speeds? People making this proposal seem not to have thought this out very well.

    • Rodney says:

      I think that it is very hard to make ANY rule that covers all the contingencies. There will always be people that say, why not 200hp, why only 1 passenger, why only fixed pitch, why not retractables and on and on. I think that in order to get it passed it has to be as simple as possible. We are talking about people flying recreationally and not IFR on a business trip. Furthermore we need to take baby steps, get it passed, get the data, evaluate and then proceed. I would much rather be able to fly a 2 place or 4 place, fixed gear, fixed prop for recreation and the occasional trip without worrying about my medical than see it shot down because we, as a group, tried to go too far too fast.

  2. Tom says:

    All I can say is a “big thank you” EAA, AOPA! I know thousands of other pilots agree with me that eliminating the third class medical under the outlined conditions could be the silver lining that saves General Aviation. Let’s just hope the FAA is perceptive to the idea.

  3. Mac says:

    Hi Tom,

    EAA and AOPA have crafted the petition around the rules for the recreational pilot certificate. We must walk before we can run and basing the petition on an existing standard for airplane capability and the number of passengers is a start. The driver’s license rule is already in place for LSA, and the new petition would move that up a level so more experience and data can be collected to show that education is as effective, or I think even more effective, than the current third class medical system.

    Bests,

    Mac Mc

  4. Bill Berson says:

    My Grob G109 motorglider has a gross weight of 1820 pounds and can be flown without a medical because it is certificated as a glider.
    This fact could be used as additional evidence in the petition perhaps, since the 1820 pounds is more than the LSA limit of 1320 pounds. (and history goes back to 1980 or more)
    In the case of a motorglider, a drivers license is not required either.
    Bill

  5. Richard says:

    I guess I do not have enough of a background on this subject, but just what does a medical certification have to do with competency to operate retractable landing gear?

  6. Mac says:

    Hi Richard,

    Long standing certification theory is that complexity adds at least a small amount of risk. We can argue over whether that is true, but that is how the building blocks of pilot certification has been handled over many years. The primary objective is to make a petition that can be approved so we start with the basics, and then if the evidence shows–as I am sure that it will–safety is not compromised, we can move ahead from there.

    Bests,

    Mac Mc

    • Richard says:

      Thanks, Mac,

      I am aware of the complexity factor. A friend went through the process to get checked out in high performance retractable gear a few years ago. I just dot see how a medical certification relates to that although I very much agree with the take what we can get and work from there approach.

      The online training you suggest is probably way overdue. I had occasion to point out to an acquaintance the significance of using oxygen at the altitudes he wanted to cruise at because one of the first things to “go” with hypoxia, as is the case with hypoglycemia, sleep depravation or intoxication, is judgment. In the service it used to be that everyone had to take a ride in the altitude chamber to learn their own personal hypoxia symptoms, but a video demonstration would certainly be better than nothing.

      Cheers

  7. Chuck Bodeen says:

    I agree that my drivers license guarantees neither my health nor my ability to fly an airplane. The annual Third Class Medical is somewhat more to the point, but what happens if I get incapacitated between the required medical exams … or drivers licence renewal for that matter?

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      Don’t fly.

      Also, while we’re on the subject, here are a few other things you shouldn’t do, that no government agency or process is able to stop you doing:
      - Don’t fly in thunderstorms
      - Don’t fly IMC unless trained and equipped to do so
      - Don’t fly drunk
      - Don’t do low level aerobatics
      - …

      You get the idea.

  8. Mike says:

    >>”EAA and AOPA have crafted the petition around the rules for the recreational pilot certificate. We must walk before we can run and basing the petition on an existing standard for airplane capability and the number of passengers is a start. The driver’s license rule is already in place for LSA, and the new petition would move that up a level so more experience and data can be collected to show that education is as effective, or I think even more effective, than the current third class medical system.”<<

    This is Good as far as it goes. What is needed is a time table to change the whole rule. Say, three year from recreational to all operations that are non commercial. If you can get the FAA to go along with setting a time table, the we could be done with this once and for all. Otherwise this is going to go on forever. I have said before, this needs to be on the front burner at full boil. The squeaky wheel get the grease, always.
    I can't wait for the comment period……………..
    Mike

  9. John Hansberry says:

    Back in 1960, when getting my class III medical renewed the Dr. found I was colorblind, and added the restrictions to the medical, “Not valid for night flight or by color signal from the control tower”. This was missed on my first medical. I have never had a color signal from the control tower, or know of anyone who has. The night flight restriction is valid because of the taxi, runway, and other ground lighting. How could this be overcome if we in essence self certify? The test is simple and perhaps a logbook entry by the local FFS, or CFI would suffice. This would be a onetime test. With color vision you either have it or you don’t. Any thoughts?

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      A few.

      First – color vision is not a binary thing. You can have greater and lesser degrees of colorblindness. Everyone is colorblind at sufficiently low light levels. You may very well be able to see the colors of airport lights at close range on the ground, but not from the air, for example – but from the air, the color of taxiway lights isn’t so important.

      Second – With care, you should be able to operate in the airport environment at night without needing color vision, I think. There are multiple other visual cues.

      Third – From what you’ve learned in your flight training, you know that you should approach self-certification at night with great care. You have a special condition and need to take it into account, just as an older smoker should think twice about flying at 12,500 ft without oxygen.

      Fourth – There are more than a few of us who, as we have grown older, have decided to just stop flying single-engine airplanes at night. We stop kidding ourselves and recognize that if the fan out front stops, at night we are just passengers at the crash site.

  10. Jeff says:

    I agree with the gist of this proposal. Anything that would ease the cost and regulatory burden associated with flying is a postive.

  11. Thomas Boyle says:

    I have one concern about the online training, which is that it will “educate” pilots by listing a long and vague set of medical conditions that require self-deferral to an AME and Oklahoma City. Then, if the FAA wants, it will almost always be able to find some condition that would have required self-deferral. In other words, “go right ahead, but we will be able to find you guilty of wrongdoing anytime we want, after the fact.” For example, if the education says that controlled diabetes is a risk factor for pilots that would bar issuance of a Class III medical, and you have taken the education course, can you now self-certify for recreational flying? Can the FAA later claim that you should have known you were not fit to fly?

    I strongly prefer the driver license medical, which says that if you have a driver’s license, there is a presumption that you are fit to fly.

    True medical education sounds great, but we already have access to that. This proposal could too easily turn into either a “gotcha” system, or a system that forces the pilot to apply Class III standards to themselves.

    • Mike says:

      I am not so concerned about pilots having to apply a perceived standard to themselves. I feel that in the end most people seeking to fly on a driver’s license standard, will apply a driver’s license standard during their decision-making process. However, having said that, I also feel that a system like this could very well be abused by the powers to be. For example, how will you be given these privileges unless you are indeed identified as a person unwilling to seek a third class medical certificate. After all, isn’t that what we are really talking about here. Without a doubt, once your name is in the database, there is potential for consequences that are not so obvious at the offset.
      The only way that I can see to avoid the pitfalls of this scenario, is for EAA and or AOPA to administer the testing and issue the certificates of completion. If the FAA insists on keeping a database, then one would have to wonder about the motives.
      In the end, if all pilots were required to complete the medical education, then our sport and indeed the entire industry would benefit, and the need for any individual database would disappear.
      Mike

  12. SkyGuy says:

    Why 180 HP limit ? Sounds like the C-172 market will be the biggest benefactor.

    • Mac says:

      Hi SkyGuy,

      The petition is built around the Recreational Pilot standards. It is always better to make a first attempt for a procedural change using an accepted standard, and the Rec pilot standard is there on the books. The petition for the driver’s license option does not exactly repeat the Recreational Pilot limits and standards, but does copy the major ones such as daylight VFR, fixed gear, one passenger and 180 hp.

      An important part of an exemption, which is what EAA and AOPA are asking for, is that the exemption can be modified and expanded in the future. So what we need now is a start, and the 180 hp limit is just one of the places to start.

      Bests,

      Mac Mc

      • Rodney says:

        All the above is good but why not set the limit at an existing setpoint. Make passing a test on medical conditions part of or incorporated into the basic private pilot test and make a medical required for a complex aircraft, Instrument, Multi Engine or commercial rating but not for tailwheel or seaplane rating. We already have various certifications and type ratings which delineate aspects of aviation so why not make the line at the same place instead of creating a new line to add complexities. If it is a fixed gear, fixed pitch, and you have a PPL you should be able to fly it, include tailwheel and seaplane and you probably cover 80-90% of what recreational pilots fly.

      • SkyGuy says:

        Mac…..If this ever passes……the day after (if) you guys had better look after the best interest of us over 180 HP pilots. Currently I can not support something that “picks” on me and “favors” other pilots.

        • hey sky guy…. do you also not support no medical for under 1320 lbs? Did light sport “pick on” you too? Re read what Mac said about “recreational”. One step at a time. Half better than none. Somebody has to be at the cutoff. If you want AOPA/EAA to jump for you on “the day after” then I guess you better support this petition.

          • SkyGuy says:

            - I have been in this GA industry for decades….have seen a lot.

            -And most of it is more “division” of GA ranks…..tiss bettter to merge closer together verses further division.
            - The whole medical thing is left over from WWII….when flying an airplane was a big deal.
            - We now have safer airplanes (regardless of HP)…..ALL HP should be included into any regulations merger activity.
            - I have watched the Light Sport industry “stagger” under regulations that are still not fully understood today. Light Sport is pretty well a failure.
            - I have worked at a “primary” flight school and fully know why GA is losing new pilot completins. Is called $$$$$ that were not neeed to be spend decades ago.
            - Further division amungst the pilot community will insure further loss of interest in GA by us pilots that can offord high HP but are being “picked on.” Period.

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  14. Tom Davis says:

    I agree with the spirit of this proposal, but I’ve never seen the connection between having a driver’s license and medical fitness. Where I live, there’s no requirement that a person be in good health to have a driver’s license. The education portion seems much more relevant.

  15. Matthew says:

    Here in New Zealand we have this option already, one mitigating factor in its introduction was that it was considered safer for somebody who was really comfortable in a 172 etc to carry on flying this type of aircraft than learning new skills in microlights/ ultralights. It was found that due to the low wing loading and lack of intertia in the LSA, pilots converting to this type of aircraft were having “issues’.

    • Mac says:

      Hi Matthew,

      EAA and AOPA are making that same point in the petition to the FAA. The very light wing loadings of LSA does make a difference in how they fly, particularly in the wind and pilots with experience only in heavier conventional singles have had a number of “fender bender” type of accidents in LSA. Obviously, it will be safer for a pilot to continue flying the kind of airplane he learned in, and logged his experience in.

      Thanks for the comments,

      Mac Mc

      • Thomas Boyle says:

        While it’s true that LSAs, as a class, have rather low wing loadings, aren’t they the same as the C152′s wing loading, for example?

  16. Jeff says:

    Writing this proposal based on the Light Sport class is the hook that’s going to satisfy the FAA in this round. The fact is, new LSA aircraft are pricing many of us out of the market. Additionally, LSA aircraft are flying with less reliable engines and less safety features in order to save weight to meet the LSA weight standards. The FAA FASST Teams are meeting with local EAA Chapters to talk about LSA Safety as even the FAA recognizes that the accident and fatality rates in LSA Aircraft are unacceptably high, even significantly higher than the Amateur Built Experimentals. At the same time, not a single LSA accident has been linked to medical incapacitation. From a safety aspect, it makes sense to have pilots that have spent a life time flying in GA aircraft continue flying those same aircraft rather than transitioning to aircraft with very light wing loading and little inertia. The only way the FAA is going to let this happen is if they can be convinced that it is a step forward in Safety.

    • Richard says:

      Jeff,

      You touch on an important problem, new LSA prices. A good used GA aircraft is affordable for a great many more people.

      I don’t know how this proposal would affect pilots wanting to take instrument training, something that is unquestionably increases safety of flight as weather conditions can and do change from those forecast during flight. The accident rate of pilots without training caught in such conditions demonstrates the benefit of instrument training.

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      Jeff,

      You say that

      the FAA recognizes that the accident and fatality rates in LSA Aircraft are unacceptably high, even significantly higher than the Amateur Built Experimentals

      That’s rather distressing news! I knew the accident rates were higher than the GA fleet as a whole (allegedly too many former drivers of heavy iron who don’t know how to land a light aircraft) but not that the fatal accident rate is higher than for E-AB. I’d like to follow up on that. Can you point me to your source?

      Thanks!

  17. Thomas Ivines says:

    Jeff, Thomas:

    It is well known that airplanes ride the air much like a boat rides the water. The heavier the boat the better the ride and likewise the rougher the water the rougher the ride for both.

    At 1320 lbs an LSA is equivalentlent to that of not much more than a dingy. Put one out it in the middle of a large lake on a windy day and you will know precisely what I’m talking about. True, the design of the hull does play a role in the ride but not significantly enough to make up for the very light weight of the craft overall.

    A General aviation airplane with a take off weight closer to three thousand pounds will definitely be safer and much easier to control, not to mention capable of a much better ride.

    Fodder for thought:
    The LSA market because of its ability to allow otherwise grounded pilots to fly, has kept the purchase cost of their airplanes out of range for most pilots. But, who wants to fly a lesser airplane anyway? You can buy in most cases a very good, used Cessna 172 for a third of what a light sport cost.

    Now, be aware because the LSA manufacturers are going to be fighting against this push to include the driver’s license rule to other airplanes, because it will surely kill their market – a market that, by the way, right now shares a very nice monopoly.

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      Hi Thomas,

      I was trying to make the point that people refer to aircraft with low speeds and low wing loadings as an LSA-specific phenomenon, as if it were new, and as if it were a uniquely hazardous thing introduced by these dangerous newfangled machines. It’s not: plenty of certificated aircraft, including the once-ubiquitous C152 and the beloved-of-aviation-magazine-writers-but-rarely-seen-in-the-wild Piper Cub (and Piper Super Cub) share those characteristics. And yet, I don’t remember people worrying about these aircraft as having dangerously low wing loadings (at worst, they were “not great instrument platforms”).

      By the way, most sailplanes have wing loadings closer to 6-7 lb/sq ft, have low roll rates due to their long wings, and routinely fly (and seek out) what most people call “turbulence.”

      Mostly, I was just nit-picking. I do admit that I get annoyed by the aviation community’s fierce conservatism: “if they didn’t do that in my grandfather’s day, it oughta be stopped.” Thus, Piper Cub (an abysmal machine, by modern standards) = Good, but LSA = Bad. Thus, the refusal to accept that the groundlooping problem was solved before WWII ended, by putting the 3rd wheel on the right end of the aircraft. And don’t get me started on the parachute debate.

  18. Ron Gowan says:

    I am a Long EZ driver with over 1800 in type. Are the canard pushers with retactable nose gear considered fixed or RG? As you may know if a Long EZ has a nose gear failure ( or forgets) the only damage would be is a little to the nose and lots to the pilot’s pride.

    • Mac says:

      Hi Ron,

      At this time the Long EZ is considered to be a retractable gear airplane, even though only one of the three landing gear retracts. But, one of the great aspects of an FAA exemption instead of a new rule is that new petitions for additional exemption can be made. So, if the driver’s license exemption is granted as EAA and AOPA are proposing EZ pilots could then make a petition to add their unique aircraft to the exmption and probably have success.

      Mac Mc

  19. zlinskipper says:

    Great comments and ideas all around. A new rule such as this might decrease the pilot attrition rate. However, will it do much to increase new pilot starts? I have read lots about middle aged folks getting back into flying thanks to the LSA rules but not very much about them bringing in the under 35 year old crowd. I also doubt that younger student pilots care too much about whether they need to get an FAA medical. The cost of training and competion with jet skis, motorcycles, and numerous other sorts of recreation seem much more of a threat to the future of GA. We need to figure out a way to activate the ‘flying gene’ in the younger population. Still, every little bit helps.

  20. Richard says:

    Mac,

    I suspect that you are correct in doubting that this proposal will do a great deal to attract younger people to flying. Not only are the recreational alternatives you mention a challenge, I suspect, any young person interested in flying has aspirations of something more than recreational flying. Putting ourselves back a few years, wouldn’t we be working to get an instrument ticket and build up hours towards becoming an instructor to build up more hours for a multi-engine rating and on up the ladder?

  21. Eric says:

    Just a few clairifying statements about the comment about LSA safety/ fatality rates/ and experimental amateur built accidents.
    It is really easy compare apples to oranges. Until very recently, the FAA and NTSB only had ONE catagory or box to check for “Experimental” on their accident forms. Amateur built, exhibition, R&D, E-LSA, S-LSA etc were all grouped together. In other words, if the accident aircraft had a pink airworthiness certificate it went in that one group. There could be a transport catagory airplane undergoing R&D, a warbird, a LSA, a homebuilt, and an antique all being classified the same. We all know that these are very different types of operation and to establish a rate we have to compare two variables. With that said- to document a statistically solid accident/ fatality rate we would need to know the actual number of hours flown for the entire fleet by catagory/ purpose and the number of accidents for that exact catagory/ purpose of aircraft. General aviation DOES NOT report hours flown- all we have to go by is a FAA survey that may not be accurate. (EAA recently released a survey as well) Aircraft registry data is not accurate either. It is getting better but there is still significant variation in the data. My point is that we have more variation in our measurement system than is tolerable- it is like trying to measure in thousandths with a yard stick.

    I think that our best chance in making any type of flying safer is education. To know of your risks BEFORE you fly is key to managing them. We can use data to identify risks for a particular make and model or type of flying extremely accurately. LSA has shown us that the risk of medical incapicatation due to lack of a 3rd class medical is highly unlikely. I hope we can use that data, open up more airplanes to an education/ drivers liscense certification and get more people flying. . . . . .safely.

  22. Tim says:

    This proposal could keep more people active and bring in new people. The other thing is that more aircraft might actually get used instead of wastng away. But, what about the catch 22 that hasn’t been addressed at all? The discussion that makes little sense to me is the differences between LSA and single engine cert or experimental. We are supposed to be pilots, learning different aircraft is part of the fun, right.

  23. Larry Kindrick says:

    I agree with a lot of people that point out, if you can’t pass a third class physical you probably shouldn’t be flying. It’s so basic it’s almost worthless… we could do just as good, or better, without it. My problem with the third class is what the FAA can do after the physical. Having the third class in place gives the FAA the right to dig into your medical history to whatever extent they want with no explanation required.
    I passed my physical without a problem, and was issued a medical, but I confessed on the physical form I was admitted to the hospital in the previous year for a non serious problem. It wasn’t something I would not have gone to the ER for, if I was home, but I was traveling and the doctors recommended that I not drive home until I had it checked out more. They said the only way to check it out quickly was to admit me. My AME who is also my PCP was aware of it. Now for the last 18 months I’ve been trying to prove to someone who has never seen me that I’m healthy enough to fly. They apparently don’t believe my AME because he’s written and called the FAA to tell them there is nothing wrong with me and asked what the problem was. I even had an FAA safety guy from my local FSDO write to them tell them that he spoke to me and didn’t observe any obvious physical problems. I’ve sent in every test, report, and image (MRI) they’ve request but they just keep asking for more. I even volunteered to go the Oklahoma City so they’re doctors could see me in person but I was told “we don’t see people, we just review records”. I can’t find out what they think is wrong with me. All of my doctors, PCP/AME, neurologist, cardiologist, etc…, don’t know what the problem is or what the FAA is looking for. The FAA won’t tell. That’s what’s wrong with having the third class medical.

  24. Richard says:

    Larry’s experience why many people never have the AME as their PCP. Experiences such as Larry’s with the FAA not being forthright about the matter is also one of the reasons that few people trust the FAA.

    Sadly, Larry may have to involve his Congressman, or a lawyer, to even find out what the question is so that he can address it.

    Way to go FAA! (Not!)

  25. Stephen says:

    The timidity of EAA and AOPA on this issue is stunning.

    Why on earth would you go to the trouble and expense of obtaining a PPL, only to throw its utility out the window to avoid needing a 3rd class medical? Yet, this is exactly the result of their proposal.

    Yes, please put all kinds of restrictions and requirements upon us so that we then can fly with a regulatorily-gutted PPL, in an aircraft the utility of which has been onerously diminished from the same one we can otherwise operate with a demonstrably unnecessary piece of paper. This is an acceptable trade off ? You cannot be serious. Yep, this is what I pay dues for, comfort zone representation by underachievers.

    The airplane you fly, when you fly it and how many seats you fill have not a single iota of importance to the issue of medical condition or effect upon one’s medical situation. This is a canard of the worst sort. The plane, time of day or number of seats have no clue whether you’re healthy or not. So, what does this have to do, at all, with whether a 3rd class medical is a desirable process or one that has long outlived its usefulness? Nothing.

    Rather than continuing to pander to the FAA and trying to always be their buddies, the EAA and AOPA need to flex the political muscles they seem incapable of finding or are unwilling to use. This sort of weak proposal does not represent the level of member service and advocacy they ought to be providing.

    As is noted in the article, you are officially good to go on only the single day of the exam within whatever renewal cycle you must observe. The entire rest of the time you self-certify. That fact and the impressive results of the no-medical LSA program already constitute all the evidence needed to address Mr. McClellan’s position: “… we can’t just say the FAA medical certification system doesn’t work so let’s throw it out. What we must provide is an alternative that will work better, and that’s what the petition does.”

    What other data do we need? It’s already there and indisputable.

    Yes, we CAN say the FAA medical cert program doesn’t work because the abundant experience of the LSA model thoroughly demonstrates that the 3rd class medical is unnecessary and that self-certification clearly shows an alternative that already works better.

    Stop being afraid of the FAA. Remember, they work for us (supposedly). If the FAA cannot see its way to why elimination of the 3rd class medical for non-commercial flight is desirable, then expend your energies and capital on garnering congressional support to force the FAA to change, not lame actions such as this inadequate proposal. Other groups do this in their niche arenas, and do it quite effectively. So should the EAA and AOPA.

    • Please don’t make this into a political battle about the FAA and who is afraid of it, and how they are like other bad bureaucracies. Your comment is emotional. Your thinking the FAA will have to see the logic in your opinion. Did you try to kill the light sport regs because they weren’t enough? Please let the AOPA and EAA experts and lawyers fight this one for us. We will be very lucky if we get it. After it passes, there can still be reforms made to the FAA rules, and for that matter all laws can be examined continuously as is the American way. These lawyers of ours just might get this through. The key is the “recreational” aspect. We can’t change City Hall overnight. I don’t want this proposal to die on the hill that your standing on.

      • Pete Palumbo says:

        Lloyd; you and others with your point of view seem to think that AOPA and EAA are taking the correct steps in order to eliminate the need for a 3rd class medical with all the restrictions attached. It seems that you have all forgoten that it’s the FAA that is going to transfer the cost of NextGen to we pilots in the form of requiring several thousand dollars to be spend by us on ADS-B equiptment for our small GA aircraft just to fly where we can already fly, and that the experts you refered to in AOPA and EAA agreed. This is nothing but another “tax” in sheep’s clothing and were are the ones getting sheared. I say again, the FAA is not our friend and it’s time our representative organizations stand up and actuall fight for something meaningful for all of us. Unless we really raise hell, nothing’s going to get done

        • nothing will get done if you try to tear down the whole system. we could be six months away from having drivers license self cert.. Do you really think you can win a fight against the FAA by going all or nothing? If AOPA and EAA are part of the problem as you describe, then I am confused as to where your support would come in your quixotic quest. Why not support this little initiative now, then after 60,000 more GA planes are available to self cert. pilots, and I no longer need a 3rd class, then go back to your fight with the FAA. I agree with you about ADS but if I can only fly a cub, or a glider, it may be a moot point. Just because you don’t agree with some things going on with FAA, or AOPA, or EAA doesn’t make this proposal a bad idea. We need relief from the 3rd class regardless of how injust other aspects of the system are.

      • Stephen says:

        I wasn’t addressing my comments to the FAA, nor trying to make it political (at least not at the outset…if they are effective no politics need be involved). I was speaking to the EAA and AOPA and want them to be bold, not timid. I have no opinion on the LSA regs other than using them as the logical and well-documented basis to eliminate the 3rd class medical for the rest of us.

        You seem optimistic that incremental change is possible and is the best way to advance. The FAA loves that approach because it gives them small issues which they have proven adept at ignoring.

        If incremental change were effective, we’d have seen enormous improvements in antiquated processes over the years. We haven’t. However, fundamentally, the elimination of the 3rd class medical for the LSA crowd represented, at the time, nothing less than a very bold move, so it shows the organizations are capable of making them and the FAA accepting same. Why should we expect or accept anything less?

        Ultimately, when you have an unresponsive agency, political action becomes the means by which you force change. The 3rd class medical requirement is an indefensible process. If the FAA were more responsive and responsible, it would have been eliminated years ago. Few regulatory agencies willingly give up authority and control they possesses. When such is the case, political oversight and legal processes end up making them do what they won’t do on their own.

        EAA and AOPA could achieve major progress if they didn’t walk in their own shadow.

        • So Stephen……..should AOPA/EAA move ahead with this plan which they think they can get passed prob within 6 months and make a lot of their membership happy because they are self certified. Or should they abandon the plan in favor of a political solution. What would be best for me would I think suit us both. Let the AOPA/EAA get this medical thing done. You and other patriot citizens can be working concurrently on the political solution. If you reform the FAA please fix the IRS too. I just want to fly my Cherokee instead of the 7AC which I do not yet own.

  26. Osprey797 says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, so hopefully this subject has not been approached yet.

    Does ‘fixed gear’ eliminate the possibility of flying amphibs like the Osprey2 and Coot and others with the driver’s licence medical? I do have a seaplane rating and a commercial ticket, just no medical at this time.

    Tony Vaz
    Movella, MS

    • Mac says:

      Hi Tony,

      LSAs with amphib floats are allowed by declaring the landing gear to be “repositionable” instead of retractable. Perhaps the same could happen down the road if the exemption request is granted. But at this time the retractable gear of amphib floats is retractable.

      Mac Mc

  27. Roger Cable says:

    Way to go. This is exactly what is needed. I have been flying for 55 years, have held Commercial, ME, Instrument endorsements, and accumulated over 7,000 hours of flying in all types of aircraft. I never had an accident or been denied a medical, although after my open heart surgery 10 years ago (which grounded me for a year) I was suddenly saddled with the annual renewal of my 3rd class medical. This has became more complicated every year and very expensive. I made the decision to not renew my medical this year as I was only flying about 10 hours a year. I have looked at the LSA aircraft and have flown a couple, but find them a little out of my financial capability in retirement. I have a A-36 at my disposal that I was flying for the past 10 years and also have a friend with a 172 that I could fly if this is passed. I look forward to the comment period. Keep up the good work, you truly have the future of our beloved hobby in your hands.

  28. Ray Ware says:

    As a former denial of a third class medical it is an expensive and time comsuming trial to get reinstated. I went thru it to be able to fly LSA if I don’t think I can pass the medical. I will probably let it lapse next year because I can’t find a plane to rent within 50 miles, and both places also rent LSA cheaper than PP. After going back and forth with the FAA aeromedical for a year I found this statement in the EAA medical advisory FAQ.:

    It is helpful to have all consultants to state in their letters (if they can) that you are “no more likely to be suddenly incapacitated by your condition than anyone in the general population.”

    A month later I had a third class medical approval.

  29. Jim Wapelhorst says:

    We pilots are a unique individualistic breed. When’s the last time we’ve ever banded together to do anything?

    The proposal will not please everyone – none ever will.

    This is a first step in what could help many pilots(your comrades) get back into the air.

    Please, please, please don’t let your particular issues keep you from actively supporting this idea.

    • well said. I would like to add my “please please” to it. I don’t want a long term pissing contest with the FAA for big stakes. I want a short term cooperation that will keep us all flying. Recreationally flying. If you are a hot shot with a twin, sorry you’re not invited, but don’t sabatage the party cause you don’t get to go.

  30. Pete Palumbo says:

    Here, here Stephen. EAA and AOPA seem to be afraid to confront the stupidity of the FAA. Of course I guess we shouldn’t be suprised at this as the people running these organizations are the same ones who thought Randy Babbit was a “friend” of GA. It has become painfully obvious that any Obama appointee is no friend of GA and wants us out of the sky. Instead, let’s use whatever muscle we have and go after the big, bad FAA and really get something positive accomplished instead of pandering to these regulators.

  31. John says:

    Everyone who thinks this is “timid” is naive. Asking to eliminate all class 3 medicals for all Private pilots is a great way to guarantee the FAA ignores it. It may be right, but it’s also dead on arrival. This proposal, while not perfect, actually has a chance to pass. That’s a huge step, and every pilot–regardless of what they fly–should support it!

    • Stephen says:

      So, please explain how this is any different than the elimination of the 3rd class medical for an entire category of pilots….the LSA crowd? A crowd that only has to demonstrate half of the training hours in order to fly.

      It isn’t. Especially when you consider that PPL pilots are nominally more experienced, by virtual of greater training requirements (not trying to debate the relative merits here, just the fact that more time, depth and breadth of training is required).

      So, yes, the EAA/AOPA proposal is timid. Totally.

      Yes, I know the LSA bunch has operational restrictions and requirements. They were willing to accept them to get that certificate. I was willing to accept the restrictions and requirements of the PPL, making the effort to get the more useful certificate. I do not need nor want it dumbed down after the fact; and there is no demonstrable reason why it should be.

      The LSA program was bold in more ways than one…no medical, less training hours to certificate, ability to do their own inspection signoffs (on E-LSA, even if they didn’t build it; 16 hrs of training gets the ticket), and the ability to get an LSA A&P license (and do commercial work) with a mere 120 hours of training. Those are bold achievements.

      So, asking the EAA/AOPA to just eliminate a piece of paper PPLs without spurious restrictions is naive? I don’t think so. What it shows is the EAA (not sure what the AOPA position on that was) put a lot more effort into creating a new class of pilot than it apparently is willing to expend for those of us holding a PPL.

      Something is terribly skewed here.

      • Pete Palumbo says:

        Stephen: all I can add is that you have hit the nail directly on the head. I’m afraid that our representative organizations, AOPA and EAA, have sold out and don’t have the courage to take a strong stand and fight for what they supposedly believe in and know is right. The word “comprimise” should be removed from the English language. EAA and AOPA must find the courage to demand the changes that are needed. Remember, this is our government and those who regulate are our civil servants.

  32. Chad says:

    We all know the 3rd class medical should be eliminated for all non-commercial purposes, but I don’t think EAA and AOPA are weak or cowardly for limiting this initial application to recreational privileges. It would be a huge step forward and welcome for many, myself included. I was, unfortunately, diagnosed with ADHD as a child and have found out it would cost thousands to go through all the testing to get a medical, and even then it would not be guaranteed. I simply can’t afford to do that plus pay for flying lessons. I started light sport training, but the school shut down, so now the nearest light sport is nearly 4 hours away. I can rent a Warrior, DA20, C152, or C172 within 15 minutes of my home. If this rule passes, it literally means the difference between me realizing a life-long dream or it fading away. I applaud EAA and AOPA for their effort and am counting the days until the comment period.

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      For people who don’t think a “DL Medical” would help bring young people into aviation, just think about how many young people have been diagnosed as ADHD in the last decade…

      As medicine advances, there are new diagnoses. And almost every one of them leads to a medical deferral for someone who would not have had an issue when many of us were young.

  33. Warren EAA733296 says:

    The medical education thing is a great idea. I am all for it. I already signed your petition. But who wrote this proposal anyway? Was it EAA and AOPA, or was it written by GAMA, the General Aviation Manufacturer’s Association?
    One of the reasons I quit AOPA was because I felt they did not fairly represent me as a pilot. I still feel the same way.
    This proposal is great for giving me access to more aircraft; hence it’s a boon to manufacturers. But what is the benefit to me? As a Light Sport Pilot I still can only carry one passenger, and I still can only fly during the day. So I don’t really gain anything I do not already have, except maybe the chance to spend more money in a more expensive aircraft. Hooray for Piper and Cessna. It makes me wonder if GAMA is influencing AOPA (I think they are) and maybe EAA.
    If you want a real difference, how about a proposal that allows us not to just fly bigger aircraft, but also do something useful with them, like maybe take two or even three passengers, or perhaps fly VFR after dark?
    As it is, I sold my Cessna 150 and have no plans to buy another one. I have this silly dream to hop in my plane and fly out to the beach for the day. It is silly because I must leave either my bride or my son behind. Oh, and I have to go after sunrise, and get back before dark. And I can’t take much luggage either.
    Like I said- I already signed the petition. Hey, take baby steps to get what you want. But I am not excited about it. Thanks anyway.

  34. John Worsley says:

    I understand the concept of baby steps, but taking them doesn’t get you very far very fast. How long will it take to take further steps, assuming you can get the first one approved? At 63 I am healthy and not in any danger of losing my medical, but who knows what the future holds. I got my PPL at 59. When I took my first medical exam, the AME had to send my application off to Oklahoma City for approval because I reported having surgery for a melanoma in 1968, 39 years earlier. If you are familiar with melanoma, you know it is a particularly virulent form of cancer. If it hadn’t been cured, I would have been dead many years earlier. My oncologist, who will rarely say you are cured, told me at the time that, if nothing happened within two years, the chances of a related recurrence were virtually nil. My AME said ” he thought they would cut me some slack since it had been 39 years. If it had been less than 10, I wouldn’t have a prayer of approval”. What bearing any of that had on my ability to fly safely still eludes me.
    Bottom line is, how long will it take to get the remaining steps taken and what good will the current one (which won’t even be submitted until next year) do me and my Cherokee 6?

    • John…… next year is only two months away. This proposal won’t get you pic in your cherokee six without a medical. But it is an immediate step in the right direction. This proposal doesn’t take anything away from you that you haven’t already lost. This proposal takes you a huge step further in getting what you want. I’m not saying you have to be happy about it. Keep fighting your own battle. Please support this AOPA/EAA plan. If it wins, you’re halfway to the “six”. And maybe u can get a 180. If it loses, we are all back to hand propping an airknocker. For myself, I’d rather fly a light sport than have to go through the time and expense for even one more special issuance 3rd class medical where 9 months after getting the medical I’m back at the lab getting together the nonsense for the next medical which is only good for 12 months. Many of us don’t appreciate that we, at least now for the past five years or so, have the drivers license option in the ragbaggers. A C172 is a whole lot better than that. Let’s not overplay our hand and give the feds a way to say “no, hell no”.

  35. Lou Whitaker says:

    Thiis petition can benefit the many low budget pilots sittiing on the sidelines now because of the lack of affordable LSA’s. The only thing affordable is home buillts, old rag and tube tail draggers with no electrical systems (hand propping) and some Ercoupes (65 years old and counting). Come on guys, lets get our foot in the door first – then work on exceptions later. We, like our airplanes, are all getting older and weaker while bureaucracies get bigger and stronger.

  36. Tom Muller says:

    This is a good step. However, we would have to keep the third class medical in place for those of us who wish to continue flying at night, with more than one passenger or IFR. Perhaps after a few years that could be added. One thing I am not clear on is whether the proposal would prohibit drivers license pilots from Class B & C airspace?

    • Mac says:

      Hi Tom,

      Recreational pilots can fly in regulated airspace such as Class B, C and so on if they have received specific training on the requirements of the airspace and a signoff. Private pilots and higher already have that training by virtue of the certificate so they would be able to fly in the regulated airspace VFR if the petition for exemption is approved.

      Mac Mc

  37. Bob Burns says:

    Sincerest thanks to the authors of this Petition.

    This Petition is a giant step forward from the LSA rule. Under this Petition, many pilots will safely fly the kinds of proven and safe airplanes with which we have considerable experience and want to own and fly. There will not be an increase in the accident rate. A needless medical requirement will be eliminated. Pilots will be encouraged to learn about airmen medical issues and improve their well-being.

    So, Mac, I have enjoyed your articles for many years, and I sincerely appreciate your efforts. I want to safely fly as a Recreational Pilot under this Petition. What can I do to help?

    • Mac says:

      Thanks, Bob, and we can all help by making appropriate comments to the FAA when the petition for exemption if opened for comments next year. Both EAA and AOPA will keep members up to date on progress and give the specific details of how to make an effective comment.

      With the health education requirement in this petition I think this proposal really has a chance, particularly if supported by many pilots as I know that it will be.

      Mac Mc

  38. Mike says:

    Love this effort by EAA and AOPA. Much appreciated. I think this will have a strong impact on retaining active pilots, and might even help grow the new-pilot population somewhat.

    I have read some conflicting reports about the limitations on fixed-pitch versus constant-speed props. Some say that the new rules would allow a non-medical pilot to fly constant-speed props; others say the opposite. Wondering if anybody (Mac?) has any more information. If I read it right, I believe that the recreational pilot rules do not specify the type of prop.

    My inquiry is directed mainly at my interest in DA40s , which have 180 hp but have constant speed props.

    Thanks.
    Mike

  39. Don Griffin says:

    We sometimes lose privileges in large amounts but nearly all gains are incremental. This does address what LSA does not in that we will be able to fly readily available and likely less expensive aircraft. I’m all for this change. I’ll be for the next increment when it comes around too (night, IFR, complex, high performance, helicopter, all part 91, etc) whether I hope to fly such things or not. I hope a CFI/CFII will be able to instruct w/o medical (in the appropriate aircraft) and that such training will also count toward any higher rating.
    Don

  40. Mike says:

    AOPA & EAA – this is such a great idea. I hope it moves forward swiftly!

  41. Thomas Ivines says:

    For those who are not satisfied with the way the drivers license proposal is written by EAA and AOPA, let it be known that fractioning can only result in the failure of the FAA proposal passing. Please support and stand by it for now… You’ve heard the saying I’m sure: “United we stand; divided we fall.”

  42. J. S. Tomlin says:

    What is wrong with the proposal already put forth. This is the one that really got the ball rolling anyway. The EAA and AOPA just need to endorse this proposal and life would be simpler for everyone.

    May, 6, 2009 – AMENDED & FINAL
    Proposed Rulemaking: To amend FAA’s 3rd Class medical (limited to private pilot, non-commercial, not-for-hire) to include the following: “A valid driver’s license is required to pilot any aircraft,” and “A 3rd Class Medical is only required for operation of aircraft heavier than (an automobile) 6,000 lbs max gross weight.”

    FAA DOCKET FAA 2009-0481
    DAVID WARTOFSKY
    OWNER OF POTOMAC AIRFIELD, NEXT TO WASHINGTON DC
    A GENERAL AVIATION PILOT, AND AIRCRAFT OWNER
    HAS PETITIONED FAA / DOT TO AMEND THE 3RD CLASS MEDICAL
    TO NO LONGER BE REQUIRED FOR PRIVATE-USE AIRCRAFT UNDER 6,000 LBS

    http://potomac-airfield.com/dot_petition.htm

  43. Tom. Z says:

    The reason for the 180 hp limit is that there is an existing rating with this limitation . “Recreational pilot ” by limiting this exemption to 180 hp no new rule making would be needed. This will simplify and expidite approval.

  44. roger B says says:

    Having read ALL of the comments, I too want to commend AOPA and EAA for their willingness to proceed with this proposal, and I too would prefer a 230-or 260 hp rating, and 4 passengers… and night vfr and ifr … BUT, lets get this one under the belt first. support and defend this model… When it goes through, lots more planes and pilots available to enhance our next upgrades. It can also show our strength in numbers together, even with David Ws proposal, which I too support.
    I don’t think the contestant speed prop is an issue for the 180hp ruling. \
    Bottom line, many of us have been commenting to our organizations to get us a change toward the drivers license model…medical education is a great underscore to propel
    us toward this achievement. Fussing amongst ourselves could lead to gridlock…which we may be seeing in the ‘real’ government operating today… I prefer using our energy to get this proposal enacted as quickly as possible…then as Mac has noted, seeking higher changes for the related issues. Thanks Mac!

  45. Rod says:

    Mac

    There are a lot of pilots who have “walked away” from aviation and are no longer EAA or AOPA members or follow aviation news. Many of these non-active pilots would support this proposal. I hope EAA and AOPA are developing a strategy to contact these pilots and allow them to support this initiative. A mass mailing based on the FAA database and last known addresses for expired EAA and AOPA members would be a good place to start.

    Rod

  46. John says:

    Just do it!! Baby steps……. everyone. This is just one more stepping stone in the right direction.

  47. Del says:

    I can agree with most that the current rules need to be changed. And using the Recreational limits as the benchmark as a starting point is where the limits should be at this time.
    I do wish that those drafting this proposal would have given more consideration to the current PP’s. By adding a provision to grandfather in all the privileges that we currently have been signed off for would have done a lot of good for everyone.
    First, support from PP’s that don’t see this as being of no benefit to them. Second, would have put into place a stepping stone for further rule changes. As it is now proposed there will be a bottle neck that might make it harder to be able get everyone past where the limits stops. Taking PP’s to no medical with current privileges now would be the exact same argument used for this petition. The main argument is to not have a third class medical. Training and qualifications the last time I checked were not health based.
    The biggest thing that bothers me about this is exactly what is going on this and other sites that we are putting our comments on. I am referring to the ones we have all read about the PP that is waiting for these changes, because they are having a hard time getting a medical. The old joke, saying or whatever you call it of not having your PCP as your AME has been around probably since medicals were required. It should now be expanded to not posting problems being able to get a medical on a site that is promoting changes to not having medicals. Current rules prohibit using your driver’s license if you have been denied or know you won’t qualify for a medical, and I don’t see that changing. If you don’t think that the FAA does not read stuff on these web sites you would be wrong. A lot of FAA employees are so because of their love for aviation, not because they hate pilots and want to make our lives miserable.

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  49. Paul says:

    I am a private pilot. I surrendered my 3rd class medical at the FAA’s request 3 years ago after they reviewed my biennial medical paperwork. My physical limitation still exists. If this new rule becomes law, will I be able to fly on my driver’s license? Or, is there a wrinkle in that because I surrendered my medical to the FAA?

  50. John Horahan says:

    What the EAA/AOPA do not mention, and no one seems to realize, is that as proposed the 3rd Class Medical will STILL BE REQUIRED to obtain a Recreational or Private Pilot license in the first place. The exemption only covers EXISTING pilots in these categories who have not been denied a Medical. Why? Because to eliminate it entirely would require a rule change (as opposed to an exemption) which EAA/AOPA believe can’t happen.

    I submit that a more logical “baby step” would be to COMPLETELY ELIMINATE the Medical requirement for Recreational Pilot and let Private Pilots and above fly under those regs sans medical as they do now under Sport Pilot. The model is well established and accepted with the Sport Pilot category, simply extend it up a notch.

  51. Richard says:

    @John Horahan

    What you have to say sounds logical, perhaps even compelling. That said, do you have any reason to believe it is achievable? The existing proposal sounds a bit like a dog bone with a night out of it, but that may be all that is to be had.

    Mac has pointed out the AOPA’s rational as being one of building data to support a subsequent request for a rule change. One hates to say this, but, perhaps, something is better than nothing.

    Cheers

  52. John Horahan says:

    The reasons I believe it is achievable are the same used to support the current proposal: the clean record of Sport Pilot in this regard over the past six years, the combined influence of 500,000+ members of EAA/AOPA and the Medical Education-in-lieu-of-Physical component. Not to mention the current dire financial straits of the FAA may just force a view of this as a rather simply achieved cost cutting measure. Also it would be a HUGE shot in the arm to GA with all of these pilots now able to fly the more familiar, more available and more affordable legacy aircraft sans Medical.

    Once the 3rd Class Medical is TOTALLY eliminated at the Recreational level (with PP and above free to fly under those regs sans medical as they do now under Sport Pilot), data would be compiled to support its elimination at the next level, Private Pilot, and so on up the chain.

  53. Thomas Ivines says:

    If the drivers license initiative is passed, I wounder how it will leave those of us who are flying on a special issuance 3rd class medical? As you know, when the “no 3rd class medical needed for light sport rule” was passed, the FAA at the last minute came in with an exception saying if you were ever denied a 3rd class medical, you still did not qualify.

  54. David N says:

    I think it is very telling that there never has been an LSA incident based upon medical. I can tell you that there are a lot of people flying LSA who have medical conditions that would prevent them from getting a medical. So, the current LSA actually selects for people with medical conditions. and, yet, no problems.

    This actually doesn’t surprize me. I have a friend who is an actuary and we once looked at this. he said that a high risk individual at 60 (meaning they smoked, had high blood pressure, and diabetes) had a 1% chance of getting a heart attack or stroke in that year. Ok, most people fly about 1% of the time per year. Finally, only about 30% of heart attacks/strokes are immediately incapacitating. So, the overal probabliliy of a health issue in this high risk individual is 3 x 10-5. Or about one in thirty thousand.

  55. Pete Palumbo says:

    I just listened to an AvWeb interview with Tim Taylor of Free Flight, a company which specializes in ADS-B equiptment, and let me tell you, it was a real eye-opener. He is throwing around costs for an ADS-B system for small GA aircraft to the tune of from “a few thousand” to over $10,000 with the statement that it “seems reasonable”. I don’t know about most of you, but with my legacy 172, currently worth about $35,000, it will make absolutely no economic sense to install this equiptment nor can I afford to spend that kind of money to be able to participate in an ATC system that requires this equiptment. What this interview brought into specific relief is that the government has just passed a huge tax increase on all of aviation by chosing a system that requires so much expense from us at no more benefit than we currently have. Therefore I, and I suspect a lot of you who own aircraft, will simply stop flying in 2020 and either sell (if there is a market) or junk our planes. All this “no medical” talk is great but it won’t make any difference if we can’t afford to fly. I suggest EAA, AOPA and any other GA organization, begin to concentrate their efforts at cost or equiptment requirment reduction so that they will still have pilots and aircraft owners to represent.

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  58. melvin Freedman says:

    Its time to take the FAA to task. Its not about safety. Check who lobbies the FAA every day. To keep it. Check who were the charter mbrs of the aopa. Boy are you people nieve.

    • Pete Palumbo says:

      With Babbitt’s resignation as FAA Chief, it is more important than ever that EAA and AOPA push for and strongly support a pilot candidate who has a non-airline pilot background so that we in GA get a fair shake. We cannot allow the FAA Administrator’s position to be nothing but a stepping stone for someone like Hersman, who has been described as having “a strong safety background”, but is nothing but another Washington bureaucrat.

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  62. Alan Mankamyer says:

    Kudos to all those involved in the effort for the medical exemption petition. I definately feel that this is would be a well deserved boost for GA and most importantly a move forward for the FAA in an effort to show that they can and are willing to build a partnership with the pilot population that will open a host of new opportunities for private flying that is despirately needed. I certainly feel for those who would like to load up their beloved 4 seater heavys just as they always have, but as many have iterated on this post before, one step at a time. No organization, public or private makes any decisions these days without significant and proven data. So, lets hope this exemption passes and then we can go out and build some positive data, just as the Sport Pilot priveledges have, and move the needle forward for the GA pilot population.

    • Richard says:

      I can not find the link to the news item just now, but the FAA have apparently dropped the requirement for a physical for Sport Class instructors or check pilots, I don’t recall which, so they must be inclined to move in that direction.

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