FAA responds to Alaskan pilots' concerns
The FAA has begun a rule making process to allow certain pilots to use their driver’s license to demonstrate readiness to fly. This is in direct response to a letter sent by Sen. Mark Begich two weeks ago citing concern that some Alaskan pilots are forced to get a FAA third-class medical certificate, which Begich says is unnecessary red tape preventing them from flying.
“Alaskan pilots agree that for certain types of flying, having a FAA third-class medical certificate doesn’t improve safety, and is really just an unnecessary piece of red tape,” said Begich. “One of the reasons I founded the Senate General Aviation Caucus was to help ensure Federal agencies responded to common-sense ideas like this from the general aviation community. I encourage the agency to work through this process quickly and consider offering relief to some pilots earlier if it can be done safely.”
Recent studies have shown that under a similar set of FAA rules for “Light Sport Aircraft,” where a driver’s license is enough to show a baseline of health, there have been no accidents attributed to pilot medical problems. The AOPA petition asks that this approach to medical certification of pilots be expanded to other types of low-risk, non-commercial flying. Eliminating the need for periodic renewal of an FAA medical certificate is estimated to save affected pilots $241 million and the FAA $11 million over 10 years.