The FAA filed a “differences” opinion, a protest of sorts, with ICAO, and was able to agree to a different procedure, that of requiring pilots to carry the authorization letter with them when flying. This decision, although better than what ICAO required, resulted in complaints from the aviation community about the impact on pilots' privacy concerns. Fortunately, the FAA and the ICAO agreed, so that requirement was rescinded, and, effective July 20 this year, pilots no longer need to carry their authorization letters in the aircraft.
Just remember, though, to keep those authorization letters accessible as you will need to refer to them each time you renew your authorization to make sure you are providing the FAA with the information they need to recertify you.
To learn more about the program or to enroll, visit the Pilot Protection Services website.
For those of you with special issuance authorizations, you may recall on your previous authorization letters that there was a statement requiring you to carry your authorization letter with you when you fly. This requirement was put in place as a result of an audit from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in 2007, in which the auditor determined that the FAA was not in compliance with ICAO International Standards and Recommended Practices by not including the disqualifying medical conditions on the airman's medical certificate.