AOPA is hoping for some movement on the relaxation of third class aviation medical requirements “in the next few weeks,” according to a report recorded for AOPA Live. Jim Coon, AOPA’s senior vice president of government affairs, told the program that medical reform remains AOPA’s top priority. “This is an issue we are working on every day,” said Coon. “We know how important it is to members and to the future of general aviation, so we will keep pursuing reform through every means available to us.” Coon said there now bills before both the Senate and House to introduce the measure and it’s also possible it could be added to another bill or as part of the coming FAA reauthorization. FAA funding runs out Sept. 30.
Under the proposal, no medical would be required for private pilots flying aircraft less than 6,000 pounds in gross weight, VFR and IFR, with up to five passengers, at 250 knots or less. More than a year ago, the FAA drafted a proposed rule that would have been much more restrictive and the Department of Transportation has stalled that proposal. Earlier this year, AOPA decided to pursue the legislative route toward medical reform and although there has been some activity there has been no action. “We share our members’ frustration with how long it is taking to get this done, but we are not giving up,” Coon said. “In fact, we’re more determined than ever to get pilots the relief they need from this outdated and costly requirement, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen.”