Medical exemption petition comments pass 1,250

May 9, 2012

Have you told the FAA that you support the AOPA/EAA medical exemption request?

The FAA has received more than 1,250 comments on the request by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to provide pilots who fly recreationally the option of becoming educated on medical self-assessment and using a driver's license as the baseline for their health in lieu of obtaining a third class medical certificate.

“The continued outpouring of support since the proposal was presented to the FAA March 20 demonstrates the importance the general aviation community places on the request,” said Rob Hackman, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs.

There is strength in numbers--and this is the time to tell the FAA how granting the request would positively affect your flying or bring you back to the airport. Pilots flying under the exemption would be restricted to day-VFR operations in a single-engine aircraft of 180 horsepower or less, four seats or fewer, fixed gear, with no more than one passenger, among other criteria.

To sharpen members’ understanding of what the associations are seeking, and to make the potential effects on pilots’ personal flying clear, the associations recommend that members review the complete proposal, peruse these guidelines for submitting comments, and submit comments online.

Effective comments should emphasize how the proposed self-assessment education will enhance safety for members personally. An ideal way to make that point is to show how it applies to his or her personal flying experience, circumstances, and decision making.

This comment submitted by a pilot who flies an experimental aircraft approximately 80 hours a year listed four specific benefits for GA, and for him personally. The commenter concisely discussed how a medical course such as the one proposed would improve on the FAA’s existing regulation that prohibits pilot operations during a medical deficiency.

“The proposed exemption would provide information I need to self-assess my medical fitness to fly, in stark contrast to the vague guidance provided in FAR 61.53,” wrote the private pilot.

Members who want to keep track of the petition’s progress can sign up for email alerts.