August 2, 2012
By Dan Namowitz
Many pilots and aviation supporters who attended EAA AirVenture took the opportunity to submit comments to the FAA on the AOPA/Experimental Aircraft Association medical petition, which would allow pilots to fly recreationally under certain conditions by completing an online medical awareness course, performing self-assessment before every flight, and using their driver’s license in lieu of a third class medical.
Attendees who dropped by AOPA’s tent during AirVenture, held July 23 to 29 in Oshkosh, Wis., could file their comments online directly from the site. They also were asked in a brief survey whether they supported the effort, and how critical they thought it was to the continued success of general aviation.
Of the 3,233 people who entered a daily drawing at the tent, 3,001 also took the survey. Of those, 2,822 respondents, or 94 percent, said they supported the effort, continuing the overwhelmingly supportive trend that was seen after the announcement of the initiative at AOPA Aviation Summit in 2011, and at the Sun N’ Fun International Fly-in and Expo in April 2012.
The survey and opportunity to comment came during an extended comment period granted by the FAA that makes it possible for pilots to state their views on the medical petition until Sept. 14.
In an extraordinary outpouring of responses during the original 20-day comment period, more than 15,000 comments were filed. Updated totals that include responses filed to date after the extension was granted are awaited. Review the AOPA/EAA Guide to the Medical Petition, or consult the frequently asked questions to learn more about the exemption request. You can submit your comments and/or review previously submitted comments at the Regulations.gov website by searching Docket FAA-2012-0350.
Advocacy and Legislation,
AOPA Aviation Summit,
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry fewer than five passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.