More than 16,000 comments on medical exemption request

End of public comment period moves measure to next stage

A late flurry of public comments to the joint EAA/AOPA third-class medical exemption request pushed the total number of comments to more than 16,000, one of the largest totals for any public comment period involving GA activities, according to Experimental Aircraft Association officials.

The public comment period for the proposal had been extended in July and ended on Sept. 14.

According to EAA officials, the FAA will now review the comments regarding the proposal, which was offered jointly by EAA and AOPA to bring more people into aviation while keeping a high standard of safety for pilots. The FAA has not established a timetable for its final decision, which could include accepting or rejecting the proposal in its entirety, accepting parts of the proposal, or deciding to study it further.

The petition for exemption asks that pilots be able to fly fixed-gear, single-engine airplanes of 180 hp or less carrying no more than one passenger in day VFR using a valid driver’s license as evidence of medical qualification. The exemption also would create an online aeromedical training course that each pilot must complete. An online exam will test retention of the course material.

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