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Senators urge quick action on medical reform

Eleven senators, all co-sponsors of a bill to reform the third class medical process, are asking the Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget to take quick action on their review of the FAA’s proposed medical reform rule.

In the Sept. 2 letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and OMB Director Shaun Donovan, the senators warned that “this is a time-sensitive issue” and asked that both agencies complete their review within one month. Once the reviews are complete, the FAA can open its notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) for public comment. The NPRM would expand the medical standard now used by sport pilots to thousands more pilots who could fly recreationally without needing to go through the costly and outdated third class medical certification process.

The letter is the latest in a series sent by legislative and industry leaders urging the Department of Transportation and Office of Management and Budget to move quickly through the review process. Previously, the original co-sponsors of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, 32 members of the House GA Caucus, Senate GA Caucus Co-chair Mark Begich (D-Alaska), and a coalition of seven general aviation industry groups led by AOPA all sent similar letters.

“In recent years, general aviation has suffered significant setbacks, and our country risks losing its position as a global leader in GA,” the bipartisan group of senators wrote in the latest letter. “Tens of thousands of GA pilots are giving up flying. The loss of these women and men in general aviation has a significant negative impact on economic conditions and job opportunities in sectors ranging from manufacturing and agriculture to tourism.”

The letter was led by Sens. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and signed by their fellow General Aviation Pilot Protection Act co-sponsors James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), and James Risch (R-Idaho).

Elizabeth Tennyson
Elizabeth A Tennyson
Senior Director of Communications
AOPA Senior Director of Communications Elizabeth Tennyson is an instrument-rated private pilot who first joined AOPA in 1998.
Topics: Advocacy, Pilot Health and Medical Certification, Aviation Industry

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