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US, UK officials call for bilateral general aviation agreementsUS, UK officials call for bilateral general aviation agreements

Lawmakers around the world are reforming requirements for general aviation pilots in a number of areas, and urging their respective governments to recognize these changes.

In a Sept. 26 joint letter to the FAA, the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency, members of both Congress and Parliament argued that recognition of each country's new medical standards by the other would help benefit general aviation. Additionally, the letter urged the authorities to explore ways to issue pilot certificates "on the basis of a foreign pilot license."

The letter was signed by three members of Parliament—Sheryll Murray, Mark Prichard, and Grant Shapps; and by Sen. John Boozman (R-Ariz.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.).

Graves, who is chairman of the House General Aviation Caucus, hopes that shared goals will result in a prosperous GA community in both nations. "Third class medical reform in the U.S. was a landmark win for general aviation and we want to be sure that it is recognized when American pilots fly in the United Kingdom and Europe. We expect the FAA would grant similar recognition for U.K pilots flying in the U.S. [under the U.K.’s new rules]."

So far, 36 nations have successfully implemented their own alternative medical standards that save noncommercial pilots time and money. In the United States, BasicMed is highly popular, with more than 40,000 pilots flying under the rule in just over a year since its implementation. AOPA advocated to reduce the bureaucracy, cost, and red tape of the medical process because they were increasingly pushing pilots out of aviation. Now, under BasicMed, private pilots can visit their own medical doctor or continue to visit a government doctor if they wish. In addition, the new program requires a medical education course that pilots must take and pass once every two years. The U.K. also developed a new medical standard for its pilots, giving them more freedom to assess their fitness to fly. However, neither country recognizes the other’s updated medical certification, making it difficult for private pilots from either country to fly in the other country's airspace.

The joint letter comes just a week after representatives from the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) met with officials at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal to discuss medical standards for GA pilots across the globe. The IAOPA delegation encouraged ICAO to come up with universal medical guidelines for GA pilots—especially as the industry is facing a pilot shortage.

AOPA Communications staff

Topics: Advocacy, Airman Regulation, Medical Reform

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