July 28, 2014
By Dave Hirschman
Experimental Aircraft Association Chairman Jack Pelton called FAA delays on third class medical reform “deeply frustrating” and said at a press conference July 28 that the aviation industry may have to pursue a “legislative solution” if the stalling continues.
“We had been told for quite some time that there would be an (FAA) proposal no later than May,” Pelton said. “We have seen nothing. There’s great intent—but nothing has happened.”
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta was scheduled to appear at EAA AirVenture later in the week, and Pelton encouraged pilots to bring up their concerns with the agency leader.
Huerta recently told AOPA that a formal proposal, known as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for new medical standards is imminent. But Pelton said he is losing patience with what already has been a drawn out, multi-year process.
“It’s long overdue for (the FAA) to get out an NPRM,” he said. “I’m getting kind of tired of this.”
Pelton also said the aviation need tort reform to prevent “frivolous” lawsuits that drive up manufacturing costs and consumer prices. And he said a recent move by the FAA to delay a streamlined aircraft certification process until 2017 at the earliest is harmful.
“It shows the chasm between what the industry needs and what the regulatory agencies are willing to do on a timeline that supports the free market.”
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
The FAA hopes to have its proposal for medical certification reform out for public comment by the end of the year, FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker told AOPA President Mark Baker at the AOPA Homecoming Fly-In Oct. 4.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
As momentum builds for the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), a co-author of the bill expressed optimism on AOPA Live This Week that medical certification reform will happen, either by FAA rulemaking or legislation.
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