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EAA Government Advocacy

Comment Period Open for Medical Exemption Request

Now is the time to make your voice heard - The exemption request filed by EAA and AOPA pertaining to third-class medical certificates has been officially posted by the federal government, making it possible for the public to submit comments on the proposal.

Public comments are currently accepted online. AOPA and EAA have issued a guide to assist aviators when making their comments on the exemption. Read More

Frequently Asked Questions on the EAA/AOPA medical exemption petition request

EAA, AOPA Request Exemption to Third-Class Medical Requirements

Your time to comment is now! On March 20, 2012, the long-awaited exemption request regarding third-class medical certificates was formally submitted by EAA and AOPA. The reaction to this request has already been strong and positive. More importantly, now is the time for you to forward your comments to the FAA on the proposal.

EAA and AOPA submitted the proposal jointly because the exemption, if granted, would increase the level of safety and significantly reduce a substantial economic and regulatory burden for those who fly recreationally. The organizations are asking the FAA for an exemption to the current regulation that requires all pilots hold at least a third-class medical certificate to exercise the privileges of a private or recreational pilots certificate. The exemption request would give pilots who fly recreationally the option of either retaining a third-class medical or, instead, participating in a recurrent online education program that will teach them how to self-assess their fitness to fly.

The aeromedical education program would exceed the FAA’s currently mandated training. Participating pilots would be required to hold a valid driver’s license and conduct a meaningful self assessment prior to each flight. The self-assessment required in the exemption will be similar to what pilots do now between AME visits, except pilots will have a higher level of knowledge for the self-assessment after completing the required education program.

The requested exemption would help to mitigate the increased risk inherent in transitioning to unfamiliar and sometimes distinctly different aircraft, which is the only alternative currently available to the FAA’s third-class medical.

The complete exemption request is now posted and open for public comments. EAA and AOPA also have created a guide for commenting on the proposal, available at the top of this page.

Don’t wait— let the FAA know that you support this important exemption request!

GA Safety Interventions Proposed

Last month, the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee’s (GAJSC) Loss of Control Working Group (LOCWG) wrapped up its yearlong work researching, analyzing, and developing solutions to prevent fatal loss of control accidents in the future.

The working group was formed to study LOC fatal accidents, focusing on those occurring during the approach and landing phase of flight, determining contributing factors, and developing intervention strategies that will be implemented by both the FAA and industry. The group focused on 90 fatal accidents that were selected using a customized random sampling methodology. The 90 accidents were divided into three categories: amateur-built, turbine, and reciprocating non-amateur- built.

The working group of 25 industry and government subject matter experts followed the processes established by the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) and applied them to general aviation. “By following a process that has proven to be effective for commercial aviation, it allowed key GA stakeholders to actively cooperate and focus on the right things,” said David Oord, EAA’s manager of government and regulatory affairs, who chaired the working group with Kevin Clover, National FAASTeam operations lead.

The interventions developed by the working group were incorporated into detailed implementation plans (DIPs) that cover the statement of work, lead organization for overall project coordination, safety enhancement, outputs, resources needed, timeline to implement, actions, relationship to current aviation initiatives, and performance goals and indicators.

The plans cover a wide range of safety improvements, from angle of attack indicators, transition training, and aeronautical decision-making to better utilization of type clubs. The plans are being finalized and will be presented to the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee for final approval. “Once approved, the real work begins,” Oord said. “The proper implementation of the plan and getting the safety-critical information or technology, whether in the cockpit or in training, will positively improve safety and prevent these accidents from occurring in the future.”

EAA remains committed to the process developed under the new GAJSC structure and looks forward to participating in the next working group, beginning later this year.

Another Milestone

As you have undoubtedly read, AOPA and EAA developed a petition to allow recreational flying with a valid driver’s license and specialized online medical self-awareness training in lieu of a third class medical. Early in March, EAA and AOPA submitted the final version of the petition to the FAA. With this submittal, it is more important than ever before that you take the time to make your voice heard.

Posting your comments is easy. Once you see the search block on the opening page of www.Regulations.gov, enter Docket No. FAA-2012-0350. That will take you to the page with a link to the petition and a link to post a comment. Click on “Submit a comment” on the upper right side of the page.

Now is the time to submit comments in support of this petition. As of this writing, there are more than 500 comments already posted. Please consider adding your thoughts to the growing list. I cannot stress enough that your voice makes a difference within the FAA process. Each of us who takes the time to submit supportive comments is helping to establish the relevance of the petition subject matter. You can make a difference!

Submittal of this petition is a major milestone for AOPA and EAA. It has been more than six months since the petition was first announced at the AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford, Connecticut, last fall. What we now have is the final product from some very smart teams of staff members within both organizations. This is significant in that we truly are more effective when we combine the efforts of the two largest aviation organizations. I am certain you will see future initiatives for aviators being supported in this manner as well. “Stronger Together” really does work.

Remember, this petition is a long road. Its submittal to the agency is just the beginning, but certainly it is a milestone. Read the petition and submit your thoughts; then stay tuned as the process continues.

EAA continues to work hard on these issues and others of importance to EAA members and other aviators. There is strength in numbers, not only in EAA member participation but also in joining with other aviation groups and important allies such as the general aviation caucuses in the House and Senate.

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EAA's Government Relations department works to preserve the freedom of flight and reduce the regulatory barriers affecting affordability and access to EAA members’ participation in aviation. Protecting the freedom to fly is the foundation on which all of the organization’s advocacy initiatives are built. EAA fights to preserve this freedom by providing clear solutions and practical alternatives backed by hard work and dedication. EAA’s 55-year history of success is a testament to that philosophy.

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