Fed up after two and half years of delays, a group of seven of the most influential aviation groups led by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has sent a letter to the head of the Department of Transportation calling for an expedited review of third class medical reform.
In the August 15 letter to DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx, the groups call on the agency to complete its review of the FAA’s driver’s license medical rule within 30 days and open the proposal for public comment.
“The FAA’s medical certification system has evolved into an onerous and costly one which has questionable, if any, benefit to general aviation pilots,” the groups wrote. “Aeromedical safety has improved due to pilots properly assessing their physical fitness to fly, prior to each and every flight. The FAA recognized this standard 10 years ago in 2004 when it implemented the Sport Pilot rule. Over the last decade, this standard has been safely and effectively used by thousands of pilots.”
In addition to AOPA the letter was signed by the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the National Agricultural Aviation Association, the National Air Transport Association and the National Business Aviation Association.
The trade groups say third class medical reform would save pilots $140 million a year and the FAA $1 million a year. The groups have proposed replacing the third class medical for many private pilots with online medical self-assessment tools.