U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) have introduced legislation–S.1941–to require the FAA to follow the established rulemaking process as the agency tries to implement its obstructive sleep apnea screening rule. Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), an original cosponsor of the bill, is a member of the Senate general aviation caucus, along with Manchin and Inhofe.
In November 2013, the agency announced a plan to require sleep studies for all pilots with a body-mass index of more than 40 before issuing a medical certificate. The FAA did not originally plan to ask for any industry guidance on the new rule. This new Senate legislation is similar to H.R.3578, introduced last fall by House aviation subcommittee chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.).
Following a meeting with FAA flight surgeon Fred Tilton, the National Business Aviation Association’s vice president of regulatory and international affairs Doug Carr said the agency plans to draft a revised version of the OSA-screening plan that takes into account industry concerns.
FAA officials have indicated their desire to make a draft of the revised plan available before implementing any permanent change.