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84 members of Congress urge swift action on medical reform84 members of Congress urge swift action on medical reform

A bipartisan group of senators and congressmen signed letters to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, pressing the agency head to ensure third class medical reform is implemented on time and according to the provisions signed into law in July.

The Capitol is home to the U.S. Congress and its House and Senate governing bodies, two of the many government agencies that have influence over general aviation. Photo by David Tulis.

“AOPA has been working for third class medical reform for decades and we thank our advocates on Capitol Hill not just for their work in passing it but also for ensuring pilots can take advantage of the reforms according to the timeline laid out in the law,” AOPA President Mark Baker said.

The letters ask the FAA to “follow the intent of the new law,” and to implement third class medical reform “within the 180-day time line outlined in the statute.”

If the FAA does not implement the legislation within a year, the agency will not be permitted to take enforcement action against pilots who do not hold a third class medical but make a good faith effort to comply with the reforms.

The letters also point out that AOPA has already developed a free online medical education course following the recommendations of the FAA-Industry General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, which could be used to meet the medical education requirement.

“Between now and July, FAA is working to implement third class medical reform, a foundational component from my Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 that was passed into law earlier this year. Part of these reforms included the creation of an online medical education course available for free to all pilots. The AOPA and FAA have been developing such a course over the past two years, and 84 of my colleagues felt it was vitally important to remind the agency to work efficiently by incorporating its collaborative efforts with AOPA, as Congress intended,” said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). "I appreciate the continued efforts by AOPA and the general aviation community to engage directly with FAA on these reforms, and I appreciate Senator Manchin and Representatives Rokita and Graves for joining me in leading bipartisan, bicameral letters to FAA urging the implementation of third class medical reform under Congressionally mandated timelines.” 

“I am pleased to work with Representative Sam Graves and Senators Inhofe and Manchin to lead this letter to the FAA as it begins third class medical certification rulemaking,” said Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.). “As passed by Congress, the law’s intent is clear and straightforward. Therefore, the rules should be equally straightforward and simple to write, resulting in them being created expeditiously. This letter is an important step in reaffirming Congressional intent in this matter, and I look forward to continuing our work on behalf of aviators going forward.”

Fifty-eight members of the House of Representatives and 26 senators signed the letters.

More information about the reforms is available on AOPA's FAQ page.

Joe Kildea

Joe Kildea

AOPA Senior Director of Communications
Joe is a student pilot and his first solo flight was at AOPA’s home airport in Frederick, Maryland. Before joining AOPA in 2015, he worked for numerous political campaigns, news organizations, and the White House Press Office.
Topics: Advocacy, Capitol Hill, Medical Reform

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