An open letter to the FAA administrator: How can we help?

A third-class medical exemption for pilots operating four-seat, 180-hp (or less) aircraft in daytime, VFR conditions probably is not a high priority item for FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. Can you really blame him?

But it is to me, and no doubt a great many current, and potential, recreational pilots. So…Michael — can I call you Michael? — how can we help?

I understand that with the sequestration and its impact on the FAA budget, you have a few things on your plate, but we’d like to help.

I wonder if more pilots would be a good thing for the FAA’s budget?

At present, the FAA is working with the industry to re-write FAR Part 23 aircraft certification with the stated goal of cutting the cost of certification in half, and doubling safety.

So, let’s do the same with the third-class medical.

Here’s my punchlist…what am I missing?

DATA: Eight years of it from the Sport Pilot population. Safety, using a valid drivers license in place of a medical, hasn’t been affected in any measurable way.

REGULATION: Perhaps the people who will need to rework the regulations are on furlough. If so, I’m sure the folks at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and perhaps a private attorney-pilot — or 10 — would be happy to step up and help make the necessary edits.

DECIDE: You can make this decision. Reading your bio, I can see you’ve made some big decisions in your day. You have a “reputation for managing complex transportation challenges” that saw you named the “Managing Director of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.” What better decision than to exempt pilots who operate four-seat, 180-hp (or less) aircraft during the day, in VFR conditions from having to get a third-class medical?

Not that you are thinking of your legacy already, having only been on the job since Jan. 9, 2013, but wouldn’t it be cool to look back in a few years and point to a more robust recreational market and say, “I did that.”

I know this isn’t a high priority for you, but you’ve got to admit: This is on your to-do/to-decide list and it would feel great to check it off…done.

How can we help make that happen? Give me a call, and in the spirit of saving the FAA money, use our toll-free number 800-426-8538.

Comments

  1. Many unused well equipped aircraft are waiting anxiously for flight but ALAS big brother FAA has forbidden competent seasoned pilots from taking them to the air because of this idiotic class 3 medical thing

    Your average LSA can’t take the crosswinds, has a far less reliable snowmobile engine which keeps the pilot on edge not knowing when its going to quit. So in actuality the FAA is creating a far more hazardous environment.

    • Sonny Meadors says:

      I am in the same situation for my 3rd class medical! Every year is nerve racking if some intern in OK city will find u medically unfit? Please get this approved and give us relief from the interns!

    • Melvin Freedman says:

      Hey folks, The faa is the most powerful agency in th federal bureaucaracy. Its time for a complete overhaul of it, but who is listening to your pain

  2. The third-class medical has been the most destructive thing that ever happened to general aviation.

    Out of the hundreds of millions of vehicle trips that happen daily in this country how many times do you see something serious happen as a result of a medical condition? ALMOST NEVER. So rare as to be less than 1% of 1% of 1%.

    No other recreational activity has this type of onerous requirement as does general aviation.

    We are not astronauts. We are not going to the Moon or to Mars. We are private pilots who have the ability to self-regulate when it comes to medical condition to fly.

    It is time to completely end the third-class medical. No qualifications – just end it.

    .

  3. I am still waiting for my medical papers, at the end of June my medical exspired, now I set and wait, for as I am concerned in my situation it’s nothing but a medical scam, because of one two per diabetic pill and a little blood pressure! It costs a fortune to take all the tests they require and trying to doctors to give you the tests these days is nearly impossible even 3 months before your dead line is due! This is out ragious to deal with! Now the turned it back over supposedly to the AME , but they still send your paper wor back to the FAA? So trying to figure out why they sent the letter out in the first place? Hmmmm

    • Melvin Freedman says:

      Sonny,I had bypass surgery 1992, at age 62, had to wait until I went on medicare to be able to afford to do a waiver. My first doc insinuated that I was lying when I told him I don’t take pharmacuticals to lower my cholesterol. well After 2 waivers and 1 turn down , didn’t wait 6mos after 10yr check(angagram) everything was great. I threw in the towel. Also all docs are not very coopertive on the paper work, you have to walk it yourself and gather all and mail it yourself too okla city. Also the time comes off the 1yr med when the paper work reach okla po, not when they date and mail it to you. Its 20yrs later.

      • Mooney 9242V says:

        Excellent summary and this reflects the true cost to GA, the FAA is busily disenfranchising the most eperienced pilots and understand the benfits of GA. Keep the ball rolling!

        • Don Dale says:

          Why is it that a recreational pilot is required to have a 3rd class medical to perform as PIC of a Piper 180 or a Cessna 172, yet a drivers’ license is all that is required for him/her to drive a 50 foot RV towing an SUV, which together weigh 3 to 4 times as much as the Piper or Cessna, at highway speeds within 20 feet of other vehicles traveling in the same or opposite directions? Which presents the greater danger?

  4. Mooney 9242V says:

    Several months have elapsed since my last post. Once again, I have won the FAA’s expensive lottery and have been awarded a new medical for one year. A great deal has been said but clearly, one thing is lacking; a cohesive force that brings all of this together and forces the FAA to act responsibly. The only opportunity I see is the AOPA. However, they are clear first cousins to to the FAA. How do we get the AOPA to move lockstep with its propeller membership to force actions by the FAA to remove its strangle hold on GA.

    If you are a member of the AOPA, why not send a communication to the AOPA to get behind its membership and get rid of the medical certification for the private pilot, period, no exceptions, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    We do need a champion who will pursue the goal. I have no doubt the troops are available for support. Any ideas on how to get a real ground swell in motion.

    In conclusion, lets stop the leakage of the pilot population from the older and more experienced end of the spectrum. Promoting general aviation by trying to get new pilots in an environment that is cost prohibitive is not going to work. This is similar to having your house on fire and rather than calling the fire department, you call a builder to add onto the house faster than the firs is consuming the building. Really a stupid strategy.

    We need a person with the time, the aviation experience and the demeanor that will capture the attention of the “leaders” who seem so reluctant to lead.

    • Melvin Freedman says:

      Mooney, I was a mbr of aopa fr71-yr11, they were founded by docs and lawyers. They support the 3class med. I quit when I realized they hired an ex aero med guy fr the faa ok city. He signed my meds and waivers fr 40yrs, He hustles the 3rd class med nearly every issue. The aopa mbrs don’t seem to care that they are adding to the income of this doc who has a faa govt retirement.

    • Otto Keesling says:

      We all know the FAA the rest of the government is not getting out of our business but, more in it. It would surely be nice and a shoot in the arm for GA if they would eliminate the 3rd class physical entirely. This won’t happened unfortunately. We are self certifying and will continue to do so. Mooney hang in there and let me know if I can help the cause and that is what it has become.

  5. Whatever happened to Land of the Free, and the “pursuit of happiness”?

    The last 8 years of LSA data have shown us that dispensing with the third-class medical has resulted in no increase in risk for anyone.

    It is past time to just end the third-class medical completely for private pilots. No qualifications – just end it.

    The third-class medical has been nothing but completely destructive to general aviation.

    .

    • Melvin Freedman says:

      Gerry, you spoke the truth. This old pilot knows well. We don’t stand a chance. I and you know that the faa uses the pvt pilot as pawn, just like they do with the atc people. I don’t expect to see the 3rd class med gone in my life time. Too much money in it(ama, etc)

  6. I’m thinking that as a group, we all need to stop blowing smoke about how lousy the FAA is, and do something that would have a little more impact. How about a National Aviation Stand Down Day or something? I’ll bet the little weasels at the FAA would start scurrying around trying to do something if all aviation in America just stopped for a day with pilots demanding change. Truckers do it. Cops and Firemen do it. Teachers do it. Why not pilots? Can’t you just see all the FAA guys trying to protect their little fiefdoms if that happened?

    We have a lot of clout among our ranks if we just figure out a way to exercise it. Commenting on blogs and writing letters to bureaucrats isn’t going to motivate anyone in authority to do anything, and that includes AOPA and EAA. Something like 50% of all people flying in Alaska don’t even have pilot’s licenses. The FAA can’t possibly catch them all, so doesn’t even try. Methinks it’s time for a little organized civil disobedience in the lower 48… Time for us to stand up and say: “We’re mad as Hell and We’re not going to take it anymore”

    • Melvin Freedman says:

      jEFFRO, I like what you say but, you’re dreaming. From what I’ve seen in my lifetime, (83yrs) the american people don’t really care whether you or I enjoy our passion of flying. Believe it or not the american people are really affaid of flying but as you know they are like sheep. As for the faa, they are beyond repair. If I could afford a little bird, I be flying without that worthless piece of paper(3rdclassmed). Hey, look what the NRA has done to convince all those politicans that guns are great, what a con game that was, and I was a hunter. If you want to know about waivers, you can ask me, I am an old hand that world.

      • Lawrence Lawn says:

        I do not understand your comment about guns. All I know is that the American Indians surrendered their guns to the U.S. Govt. and we can still see the results!!
        As to the American people, you are spot on. They only care about what will affect them today, no concept of the future ramifications.

        • Melvin Freedman says:

          Jeffro. In 1942 I was 12, the war was on and the NRA issue us boyscouts target rifles and a range, they were a different oustfit then.

  7. Lawrence Lawn says:

    I commute 100 miles to work on the Garden State Parkway, albeit only once or twice a week, either in my car or on my motorcycle. This is done at usual speeds of 70 to 80 MPH with hundreds of cars within a foot or so of me, in good weather or bad, dat and night.

    I fly a 150hp Grumman “4?” seater on a “special issuance” as I had bypass circa 6 yrs ago.

    Anyone with a little common sense would realize that drive to work is far more demanding. As I am 68 I am on medicare (with private supplimental coverage). Medicare is paying for the yearly testing I need to maintain my 3rd class medical. I am paying for a part of the non covered medical expenses not to mention the days necessary to get all the testing done.

    In the last 5 yrs I have had to wait an average of three months for the FAA to “get around” to reviewing my material or requesting additional new tests and therefore being grounded a month every year.

    I can assure anyone that my commute to work is far more strenuous than my flights in my Grumman. My self testing (with a copilot or passenger) on blood pressure reveals I am much calmer and more relaxed during and after a flight than during or after a drive.

    I know my days on a special are limited and my cardiologist will tell me when it is time to switch to an SLSA, as I need the relaxation flying gives me. I will then have to cease my flying for Pilots & Paws, Lifeline Pilots and other such charitable groups as space and weight limitations of an SLSA will not permit it.

    I will have to forfeit my knowledge of all my Grumman’s ideosyncrasies and begin anew with an aircraft that will make me less safe for the first few hundred hours.

    I know of no pilot who has ever not self certified himself for any flight. I preflight my plane and myself before every flight.

    I also put off some visits to my doctors until I need a new medical for fear that I will lose my medical for a part of what would then be my last year in my Grumman. Ergo I become less safe because I need a medical.

    Time, money and safety are all sacraficed because of a 3rd class medical ( and I do support AOPA & EAA’s position on limiting complexity of aircraft) that has no meaning in today’s flying environment.

    • Otto H. Keesling says:

      Lawrence I am in the same boat as you. My cardiologist is my approving physician other than that I am self certifying. Think of the money that everyone including the FAA would save if the third class is eliminated. How many are out there flying without any physical? When is the last time you were ramp checked. The insurance company is the real check. How much longer is the FAA going to kick the can down the road? Keep the faith I sold my motor cycle too many people not noticing.

    • Melvin Freedman says:

      Lawrence, I had bypass surgery in 92 at age 62. Well how could I afford a cardic eval 6 mos after surgery. My Blue Cross insur. wasn’t going to pay for a cardic aval after they just gave me all new pipes, so I had to wait until I went on Medicare. age 65, well I’ve had two waviers, by the way my ame said I’d never fly again, he turned out to be a real jerk, and charged me $55, no class doc. Fast forward I am now 83, and more airworthy than those airline pilots rushing with the passengers thru the terminal to get their plane.
      Its a sick horror story with the faa, and airworsthyness and over sight in the acft industry is #1 with me. not the end of the story.

    • Don Dale says:

      I have a special issuance because of sleep apnea. I sleep so soundly that I don’t awaken when the mask falls off despite an alarm sounded by the CPAP machine.

      The result – I don’t record enough CPAP machine hours to satisfy the special issuance.\ I don’t recall ever hearing about sleep apnea until about 12 years ago. I guess there were a lot of sleepy pilots flying around.

      I’m aware when I’m sleep deprived and I simply don’t fly, likewise if I have any condition that would prevent safe flight. We’re all big boys and pilots, among the most responsible people in the world. I believe we can be trusted to not fly if we’re not up to the physical standards.

      I guess the government will next require medical certification to own a gun.

      Don Dale

  8. Steevo says:

    You all might want to look at this, in the news today.

    Light Aircraft Revitalization Act
    http://www.kansas.com/2013/05/07/2793245/pompeo-introduces-legislation.html

    I wrote to Mike Pompeo, and I referenced this page and all the good comments. But I am not in his district.

    If you live in Wichita, please contact him and tell him we need action on the third class medical too! Point him to this page. If you live in another of the cosponsors districts contact them. If you live elsewhere contact your congressman and ask him to read this page and the comments, and introduce legislation to stop the FAA from clinging to the unnecessary third class medical at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.

    The bill is cosponsored by Dan Lipinski, D-Illinois; Sam Graves, R-Missouri; Todd Rokita, R-Indiana; and Rick Nolan, D-Minnesota.

    Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/05/07/2793245/pompeo-introduces-legislation.html#storylink=cpy

    • steveo, you are a hard worker, thanks, didyou see latest info fr the faa on 3rd class med and the changes that their doc committee decided to do?

      • Steevo says:

        No, Mel, I haven’t. Why don’t you post a link, or why doesn’t Ben write about it?

      • Steevo says:

        By the way, you might have figured out that I will not be done until the FAA completely gives up on trying to cling to the third class medical.

        If we all keep the pressure on them they will find it much too expensive to maintain that function. Both in money and politically.

        Their budget line item for medical certification is I think $52+ million. Add the amount we pay in the field and we are talking hundreds of millions of dollars, completely wasted. It’s unsustainable.

        Anything less than complete abolishment of the 3rd class medical is a waste of money.

        • Steevo Check out potomac-airfield.com David Wartofsky and his petition, Read the petition,Public Comments and Proposed Changes to FAA Regulations, Davids e-mail is bigcheese@potomac-airfield.com I do not support the AOPA and EAA petition they proposed I talk to other pilots and they say to get ahold of Sen Jim Inhofe and find out how he got his bill of rights passed so quickly he did mention a little about medical but it was on the application More bull crap that FAA has done is registration of aircraft every 3 years,annuals should be 2 years or 100 hrs your average pilot probably flys 50 hrs or less a year pull his airplane out of hangar once a month and goes to a fly-in breakfast goes home and puts it away till next time. Bi-annual flight reviews are a pain in the ass to remember when they came up with it in 1976 when pilots were starting to fly less hrs. your older pilots are going to light sport and not the new sport planes but older planes and not by choice they would rather fly their 4 seater airplanes ones they feel comfortable in . I’ve had my Skylane since 1993 and its a 66 182 Skylane and i also have a KR-1 Well enough venting hope something can be done to just gotten rid of 3rd class medical.

          • Jack, I read the Wartofski petition.

            I agree with you, I don’t support the AOPA/EAA petition. Only getting completely rid of the 3rd class medical will solve the problems in GA. And the problems of government waste.

            We have proof it adds nothing to safety. If it did all the sport pilots would be dead. FAA is clinging to it, and they must be overruled. By congress.

  9. This is still the USA, and we shouldn’t succumb to the socialists turning us into communists, as Nikita Kruschev predicted! His “we will bury you” quote, was actually “The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism”, saying that we would insidiously become communists, ourselves.

    We have relented to the politically correct, we have a Kenyan goat herder for a new world order, globalist, elite-rule, president, but we Americans, are still alive!

    Let us not give up!

    Let us restore our freedoms by reforming the status quo of robbing airmen for useless medicals.

    God bless all of you Real Americans, still alive.

  10. Mooney 9242V says:

    Issues involving medical certification for a Private pilot’s License
    Objective: Answer the question “Does a Third Class medical certification reduce GA accidents?”
    Reality:
    1. The FAA has not completed a study to show that medical events are a significant cause of GA accidents in the non-regulated arena. The general evidence is that for segments of GA not requiring medical certification, there is no difference in health related accidents.
    2. The current system does not identify initial disqualifying conditions; all conditions are self-reported by the pilots.
    3. Personally, I have known two people who were at the time holders of current third class medical certificates who died from heart attacks. So much for the predictive qualities of the FAA medical certification. I wonder how many more they have missed? The other side of the coin, the FAA has been predicting my eminent death since 1992; well at some point they will be right, but their timing on the event has been atrocious. How many of the GA private pilots are falling into the same category? There is a cost to this activity, I had the opportunity to upgrade my Mooney in 2005 but stayed in the tried and proven M20C as the cost wasn’t worth the price on the FAA unwarranted possibility of a loss of medical certification. The end of the story, in 2011 I experienced a complete loss of power over PAX and it is really hard to miss 12,000 feet of runway. Had not been for the FAA, I would have been flying a fuel injected Mooney which cannot be victimized by a stuck carburetor float. I do understand that it would it have been someone else’s problem, lucky me!
    4. The FAA has done no studies on disqualifying events occurring to pilots experiencing such an event while holding a valid third class medical. (For that matter, the FAA does not achieve perfection in predicting disqualifying event for a first class medical certificate holder (every six month) as there was a case within the last year of the PIC of an airliner dying in flight.
    5. Opportunity cost is totally ignored. The FAA requires the victimized pilot to go through cardiac testing annually, an event that should not be done unless symptoms are accepted by the pilot’s cardiologist, even though the procedure is not deemed necessary by the cardiologist. A superior use of the financial resources is available. Wouldn’t several hours of dual instruction be a superior alternative to unnecessary medical testing? Five plus years ago, a physician pilot was in a fatal accident trying to reach the Charlottesville airport with an engine out situation. The flight ended with a fatal stall / spin accident, just short of the airport. Now, where would the physician’s money and time have been better spent, on a medical certification of no value or an hour of dual instruction on engine out procedures? Perhaps that hour of instruction would have resulted in an extremely competent oncologist being in practice today. In terms of productivity, this was a major loss to society, all done to assure that Oklahoma City can have processes to follow, not work, as work presumes value is created.
    6. With medical certification and the FAA gamble on fly no fly your airplane, how many pilots are forgoing upgrades to their aircraft. I for one continue to fly my old Mooney with the proverbial steam gauges, recognizing that each year I may not win the FAA’s medical game. Upgraded airplanes are not good financial investments, but offer their best returns to the user through flight which is very uncertain in today’s FAA environment. After all, the FAA may decide your cholesterol is too high for flying, something that your personal physician is in a more knowledgeable position to make such a decision.
    Ponderable Questions on the FAA Medical Certification Role
    1. What is the difference from flying from FCI to GAI (Richmond Executive in Virginia) to GAI (Maryland) vs. driving?
    a. Drive is three hours plus vs. < 1 hour flying (departure airport is 20 minutes from my house and arrival airport is 10 minutes from my destination.
    b. Flight time is always less than 1 hour, drive time has been as high as 7 hours, yes, DC has traffic snarls
    c. I always fly IFR and typically on a VFR day I see two airplanes in route, generally passing Dulles.
    2. Where am I the greater risk, driving at 75MPH with cars five feet away on a three lane road or in the air where generally I see no other aircraft and 98% of the flight is over trees and farmland? By the way, this is considered a high density population area.
    3. In the air, the greatest risk should I experience a disabling medical condition is likely destroying my aircraft and several trees. Should I experience the same condition on I-95, let’s hope that it is only automobiles in formation with and not school or passenger bus which frequent the same roadways.
    4. The reality is there is no material risk in either mode of travel; just one is far less stressful and more economical, if one values their time.
    5. Kudo’s to the AOPA for supporting something that supports GA (private pilots), but somehow how I don’t think of GA including the kerosene burners flown at the direction of corporations for commercial purposes. However, what is the difference between flying VFR and IFR regarding medical certification? The outcome of a debilitating medical condition is likely to result in the same outcome. Ditto the same thing for flying at night. How a medical certification helps me interpret the FAA IFR regulations or helps me navigate and land at night is beyond my comprehension. Further, my Mooney doesn’t qualify for the proposed elimination of a third class medical because the wheels retract. Is speed the problem, I think not. If so, I can take a Cessna 140 and find a day with some high winds aloft and go faster than my Mooney on a calm day, and do so without a medical certificate. Do we have people in Oklahoma City that don’t know an airplane from a car?
    6. The bottom line is private vs. commercial. The same standard holds true for private and commercial driver’s licenses. A private license should be exempt from a formal medical certification process.

    Conclusion:
    Third Class Medical Certification is a cause of GA accidents, not a detriment to the event. Simply stated, the FAA is requiring the use of valuable financial resources to meet a need where there no evidence that safety is improved by the activity. The real cost of forcing experienced pilots out of GA is to eliminate the pilots with the most experience (probably safer) and additionally serves as a major damper on improving the quality of the general aviation fleet. Previously discussed are the consequences of the disincentive to upgrade to newer equipment, one that materially hurts the GA industry.
    If a compromise is needed, a possible market solution is to give the private pilot the option of seeking new medical certification every year or two years or in lieu of this, receive two hours of dual instruction annually. The focus should be on flying skills, the bi-annual can still take place so we can keep updated on the FAA’s constant bureaucratic effort to increase the complexity of our airspace.
    Maybe we will have fewer pilot caused accidents as a result of FAA mandated medical certification, resulting in a safer and more prosperous GA industry.

    Oh, by the way, the FAA will have to budget less and improve the GA environment, now that is a win – win outcome, an all too frequent non-happening. We might even see the rebirth of Mooney Aircraft!!

    • Mooney, thats a great comment you made. Every word you said is true, this old timerknows that, But do you think that the younger people in aviation know that or care.

      • Mooney 9242V says:

        If we accurately present the analysis, they will undersatnd it. The realities need to be presented. They too, one day, will be in their shoes.

        Regarding the new gizmos, I was over Philadelphia about 6 months ago using a neat Ipad app when the thing turned into an incredible sketch pad, something my children used to play qwith. Thank goodness for the ever handy paper charts and the the standby old electronics, they worker as billed!

        Bobby

    • Don Dale says:

      Good analysis! Have you sent copies to the decision makers at FAA?

  11. Robert Cone says:

    Pushed the wrong button!

    AOPA should pass these communications to the elected representatives and demand action. Personally I see little likelihood of such an action. The FAA is only one letter short of AOPA.

    • Otto Keesling says:

      I believe the FAA Administrator’s hands have been tied by the Obama adminstation. What has he done? The reaction to the suspending controllers and the contract issue was horrible. I don’t believe they FAA has drafted any reasonale plans to upgrade the air traffic system which can have far reaching consequence’s. Cost being one major the problems the delay in this area really mutiplies costs.

      • Otto, you are telling on your self. Obama has nothing to do with the 3rd class med. Check with Geo W., and see what he did for you

        • Mooney 9242V says:

          Can we leave the politics out of this. We all have a chance to promote a better use of resources for general aviation.

          • Otto H. Keesling says:

            The last time I checked Obama is President. his administration is the one who can change this. As Harry T said “the buck stops here” and he was a democrat. Let’s stop blaming George and get on with business. Keep screwing with the controllers pay checks and they will get sick. Then what?

          • Otto, It was the faa themselves who put those 12000 controllers on Reagan to fire. They just did it again and used them as a pawn. The american people just want to get fr point A-B rightfuly so, Nobody see wants to see thru that do they.

  12. Robert Cone says:

    I have little to add to what has been said. Medical certification as a requirement for the exercise of private pilot responsibilities must be eliminated. The FAA has not provided any statistically e for equipment for the existing significant evidence to support this requirement.

    Continuation of this policy will maintain the deterioration of GA, will place a material burden on the updating of GA aircraft, and will reduce the availability of resources all pilots could have available for improving GA safety.

    Unfortunately, AOPA has felt constrained in seeking the proper resolution to the problem. The FAA Is even more short sighted.

    HAOPA could support this ef

    • Robert, the 3rd class med is the holy grail for the faa. I have read many comments and nobody address the root cause. I agree that airworsthyness(oversight) is #1 but we all know a lot of money(ama, insur. co) etc working the faa.

  13. The issue that has now come to the forefront is this:

    Pilots are among the most responsible part of society. Witness with a few rare exceptions pilots never fly when drunk. Pilots never fly if they don’t feel right that day. There are exceptions, sure but they are so rare and they would not be stopped by the possession or not of a third class medical.

    Years and years ago as part of the pilot licensing process someone thought that pilots who were too sick to fly would still try to fly. With a very few exceptions this has been proven untrue. So that part of the licensing process is no longer needed, and after all these years we know this for a fact because of the LSA market. Pilots without medicals, the horror of that!

    So after all these years *nothing* has happened to validate the third class medical as a way of improving flight safety. All that has happened has proven it to be unnecessary.

    So what this all comes down to is ultimately the issue of government waste. The government is wasting our tax money on a program that has been identified and proven to be unnecessary and a complete waste of money. This is both our tax money and the money we have to pay our local doctor for the physical and all the tests that are sometimes ordered, one person said he spent $8000. One said he couldn’t get the test repeated because under medicare rules and his doctor’s opinion it is unnecessary, but the FAA still wants to go fishing. That is a *CYA* (cover your a$$) reaction by the FAA medical certification personnel. If they say “OK, your local doctor says you’re alright, here’s your medical” and something were to happen, they could be criticized. So it’s safer for the FAA to just say no, or to order another test than to just agree with the only doctor in the mix who has actually seen the patient/pilot. If you ask me, that is pretty much unethical on the part of the FAA doctors in any case.

    As some of you have found the FAA never tires of ordering another test, and then you wait two months and then another. It’s obvious why they do it, but it’s nonsensical when you think about what’s really going on, preservation of the bureaucracy.

    The only way to get rid of bureaucracy is to take away the money. Congress would have to do that. Write a letter to your congressman, fax it or mail to to the district office in your area not to Washington DC so it doesn’t have to go through the house mail room which takes weeks for anthrax screening.

    Here’s an address locator for the US House of Representatives:
    http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

    I will say something like this:

    “The FAA is wasting money, hundreds of millions of dollars on the third class medical certification process, and refuses to stop wasting money. We’ve asked them.

    They should just do away with the third class medical which has been proven over the last 40 years to have no effect on flying safety. Please force this government agency to stop wasting our money on that and to do away with that certification so that money is then available for needed government functions. Not used for waste.

    Many of your constituents feel the same way about this issue, and believe me, we vote. We are counting on you for action on this matter”

    Believe me, if each congressperson sent a few letters like this to the FAA they would know they are in trouble. It shines the light of day on their wasteful ways. And every letter they get, personally written, congress knows there are lots more voters who feel the same way.

    • Steveo, your comments are valid. But we are just a fly on the faa door. Unfortunately we don’t stand a chance.

      • Melvin, we are a fly on the FAA door. But congress isn’t.

        Congress can just cut $500 mil from their budget and use it to balance the federal budget.

        They would be at a crossroads: They can lay off half the employees at FAA, or they can cut things that don’t serve any purpose. We want them to do that second option. They would need help to accomplish it, but it’s surely possible, especially now.

        • Steveo, I believe that the faa like other fed agencies create these $ situations to further their own agenda. Also, the administrator is just a political person moving up and will not jeopardise their career by going against the wishes of the career faa people. Its that simple.

    • Copying the link to this web page and sending it to all our elected representatives in the House and Senate would be good.
      A lot of excellent comments here that are spot on…. let Congress read all these comments (IF they’d take the time to do it?).
      If enough of us do, it MIGHT do some good.

      I will…. how about the rest of you?

  14. Dan Green says:

    Great article, and I hope the FAA will take note of it. This could actually be a money-saver for the FAA and there would be no compromise in safety. Also, I think the insurance companies will certainly do their part in keeping us honest about self-certification. In the event (perish the thought) that someone has a huge accident as a result of medical incapacitation, one can imagine the insurance carrier would be less than eager to pay up, which could turn out to be a disaster in more ways than one for the pilot’s survivors. (Lawsuits, etc.). The possibility of this should serve as an extra incentive to self-certifiers to do so honestly and not use this exemption as a free pass to deliberately fly with known medical deficiencies.

  15. Deacon of Noise says:

    Let’s start writing to the Senators and Representatives about this issue, to see if they can pressure the otherwise deaf FAA.

  16. Deacon of Noise says:

    It is preposterous how we have to beg the government, which is supposed to work for us. That is the problem with regulatory agencies like the FAA, FCC, EPA, etc…. They are made up of unelected bureaucrats which effectively legislate and rule over our lives and property in an arbitrary manner, to which nobody can appeal. We still have some influence over politicians, with our votes. However, there is no way to influence or persuade the all powerful, unelected bureaucrats of the FAA.

    • You touch on a major point. Politicians create regulatory agencies, which in turn govern essentially without the “consent of the governed”. They govern by edict. Sometimes the agencies are characterized as “independent”, as though that is a positive. “Unaccountable” might be a better word. Theoretically we can push politicians to change a ruling of a regulatory agency, but it is a practical impossibility. So the problem with regulatory agencies is widespread, the FAA being a typical case.

      We need some way of increasing our clout to change this imbalance. Perhaps a lawsuit, claiming “consent of the governed” is absent. If successful, a remedy might be to require actual voting input from a pilot organizations as part of FAA decision making, i.e., consent of tne governed.

      John

  17. Don Dale says:

    The AOPA and EAA both deserve great credit for originating the idea and soliciting opinion letters from their respective memberships, which I understand was mostly favorable and put forth valid reasons why the program should be accepted by the FAA. However, has the AOPA and EAA maintained a close follow-up on the issue? Shortly after the petition was filed, the AOPA offered to keep its interested members aware of the status of the request. I was one of those who did and the only report I received was when an FAA official admitted that the issue was not given a high priority at the FAA. Well now, whose fault is that?

    As with most government bureaus and agencies, the original petition and the hundreds of supporting letters were very probably pigeon holed at the FAA. An important mission of the EAA and AOPA is to periodically clean out the pigeon holes. Several months ago, I made an email inquiry to the AOPA asking for a status report. It was discouraging. I concluded that the AOPA had doubts that the FAA would approve the petition. Both the AOPA and the EAA need to exert more effort. Contrast their lobbying efforts to those of the NRA on the issue of gun control! Regarding the fund raising appeals by the AOPA, I would prefer to pay higher membership fees instead of contributing to its lobbying costs. This is what they are about – and usually do an outstanding job. But this time, someone in both organizations needs to take the ball and run with it. Obviously the FAA is not going to champion the issue. It’s a very worthwhile initiative. Let’s see it through.

    Don Dale
    05/4/2013

  18. Gary E Sprunger says:

    I had double by-pass surgery 3 yrs ago, (no heart attack) and the FAA wants a stress test yearly for my 3rd Class Medical. Now my Cardiologist says I cannot receive the test annually through Medicare according to Abomacare unless I have symptoms. If I have symptoms it flags the FAA, justifiably so. No argument. But if I decide to have the stress test out of my own pocket my Cardioloist says he cannot give it to me because that opens him up to fines in Obamacare because he is showing prejudice in giving me a test others cannot afford to have. One agency of our government demands the test, the other agency will not let me have it. I’m healthier now than before and would like to continue to fly without going to LSA. Gary E Sprunger

  19. Steevo says:

    About the AOPA/FAA proposal, the question is not whether you can safely fly a 2 place aircraft, a 150 HP aircraft, or anything else.

    The goal of medical certification was *always* solely to make sure you wouldn’t crash because of medical incapacitation.

    Clearly if you are not subject to the danger of medical incapacitation you can fly a 19 passenger twin engine turbocharged aircraft or an F16 just as well as you could fly a 1961 C150. There is no danger due to medical issues either way, now is there? There’s either danger or there’s not.

    AOPA and EAA tried a conservative approach to try to get the government to agree, and that has failed. I know why AOPA made the proposal they did, but I am not going to publicly explain it.

    The FAA says they don’t care about the AOPA/EAA proposal, it’s “not on their radar” and they are not going to do it.

    What this means is FAA is going to keep spending money on their medical certification program even though that steals money from ATC, other FAA functions, and even from Obamacare, Medicare, food stamps and psych help for people like the Conneticut shooter.

    Why? It’s what they do! Government does not cut waste until they are forced to. They keep the waste, and they cut what the taxpayers can see.

    If FAA dumped the third class medical program taxpayers couldn’t see that. So they will only cut that when they are *forced*.

    Instead they cut ATC so the commercially flying public experiences flight delays, and the cry for a solution then restores their money that was cut by the sequester. That’s how the government works. Sad but true in a horribly unethical way, huh?

    The only way the government is going to get rid of the third class medical is if they are forced to do it, either by congress (we would have to lobby effectively) or by their being forced to admit it serves no purpose through litigation, which will not likely happen.

    Their backs would have to be up against the wall before change could come.

    I have a strategy to force that but I am not going to spill the beans publicly. I did discuss it with the proponents at AOPA. Unfortunately it’s not the kind of thing AOPA normally does, it might take a hell of a lot of money but as you AOPA members know AOPA is always begging for money. They *have* a lot of it. Plenty to get this done.

    I don’t see it happening but if the pressure gets to be enough, especially through congress we might get some action, they might just throw in the towel on the third class medical.

    Lots of doctors in the field making their living from that, sorry doc, but I am no Luddite. You shouldn’t be either.

    • Steveo, forget aopa, if you really knew their begining and who they lobby for, yes the ama.

    • Dan Green says:

      I have to respectfully disagree that medical fitness to fly an LSA means medical fitness to fly an F-16…thinking of G-forces, possible hypoxia, etc. The current standard for LSA says in essence if you are medically fit to drive a car on our nation’s streets and highways, you are fit to fly a two-seater putt-putt under day VFR conditions. I would think the FAA would have to agree that if one can learn to safely operate an LSA one could operate a C-172 under the same conditions (day VFR) with equal safety. I don’t think we have to cloud the issue with irrelevancies to win this argument.

  20. norman breedon says:

    I spent the last 45 years earning my living flying aircraft. Now after a heart problem surfaced I am faced with the expense, at every renewal of my medical certificate, of chasing paper to please the F.A.A. To what end! It costs many thousands of dollars which makes flying too expensive to justify for a few hours a year taking my wife on a couple of trips. My doctor made the comment that the F.A.A. is a PITA. His words, not mine!
    A Cessna 172 is hardly much of a jump over an uncertified under powered LSA but it gives me the carrying capacity for two people and luggage.
    Norman Breedon A.T.P.

  21. Jim Paschal says:

    I would like to see it increased to 200HP. That would include a lot more planes and pilots.

  22. The automobile ins companies gives older drivers very good rates, Why is that? Because they are very safety conscious and defensive drivers. The same applies to mature pilots that have been flying for a long time. They are very good at risk management associated with flying. If they feel they are not capable of flying on any given day, they will wait for another day. This is well documented by the safety record of mature pilots and the light sport aircraft. If special issuances are needed for a pilot, there should be a process that is more efficient than the FAA Oke City route. It can take 90-180 days for the FAA to review and act on a special issuance request. I would think that a system of Senior AME’s (or two in concert) should be able to review and issue a special issuances, without first getting FAA’s approval. The FAA is working on streamlining the cert. process now and I give them credit for that effort. Like anything else is politics and bureaucracy, follow the money. AME doc’s will lose 200-250K visits at $100-150 a copy and gummint wokers in Oke City would be out of a cushy job.

  23. KEN MORROW says:

    ben, I like your letter and thought on the 3rd class medical , but I think in order to get the FAA to move on this and get off there ASS and start working for us it will have to come from congress. Congress needs to cut off funs ” MONEY” TO THE AREOSPACE MEDICAL CERTIFICATION DIVISION, along with the FSDO department. The FEDS “FAA” have the regs so screwed up that its even hard to get field approvals any more to up date your aircraft, with out going the STC route, more money it costs the little aircraft owner.Congress needs to act on this issue for us I believe in order to get the FAA off there ass.

  24. I have spent up to $8,000.00 dollars each year on following your Physical request! I have proved for years I am fit to fly! Because I take one per diabetics pill I am in a medical scam,! I feel this is a scam and would like some rule changes, it’s a scam that just keeps on scamming ! Please change some rules so we can be Pilots again

  25. Patrick says:

    It is high time that we put the fun back into flying. The LSA program has been a great success for the manufactureres of the high dollar European composits and kits, but there are plenty of older pilots with lots of experience who already own those sixty year old, well maintained and loved aircraft that are inheritantly more stable than some light sport aircraft. Let’s make it really simple. Change the gross weight limitaions of light sport aircraft to include the many two-place trainers that many of us learned to fly. All the high wing Cessnas are great trainers and recreation aircraft and do not even come near the airspeed limitations of LSAs. Obviously, there are many older pilots that simply want to get up in the air with their favorite bug smasher, and have no desire to go anywhere near class B airspace or fly at night. I would like to see the AOPA and EAA push a little harder on getting this resolved.

    • I am a former KC-135A USAF pilot in my early sixties who just wants to fly for fun.
      There are many aircraft for rent at a local airport which would be ideal for me and many other pilots if the medical exemption became law. I currently fly gliders/motorgliders but have to travel halfway across the USA to rent one! I need NO medical certificate and have had NO mishaps whatsoever.

      Let’s get moving AOPA/EAA and make this happen!

  26. Thomas Boyle says:

    I’m afraid this wasn’t really a priority for AOPA either. Think about it: how many begging letters have they sent us about user fees? Do you think they lobby about that? Now, I’m not arguing for user fees, I’m just pointing out that it’s easy to spot AOPA priorities and, by the silence, non-priorities. Has AOPA organized a write-your-Congressman campaign about this issue?

    In fact, AOPA has allowed this topic to wither and die. It was apparent, recently, that Mr. Huerta had never even heard of it! There is absolutely zero chance that this will happen at FAA unless it comes from the top, and it can’t come from the top of the boss doesn’t even know about it!

    So much for AOPA lobbying on our top priorities…

  27. It’s time to get ugly.

  28. Steevo says:

    Ben, I disagree with you.

    You can’t get anywhere saying “mother may I” to government agencies. That the FAA administrator isn’t concerned about the 3rd class medical, well, nobody cares.

    Government waste, now that’s something we all care about. Huerta cares about that.

    Believe me, government keeps the waste and cuts the worthwhile when times are tough. We saw it last week. They made the cuts that the taxpayers can see, like always. They left the waste alone. It was intentional.

    The third class medical for private pilot duties has been proven by the sport pilot community to be completely unnecessary. We have a laboratory and the years of evidence is overwhelming.

    If medical certification had anything at all to do with safety of flight the sport pilots would be all dead since they are mostly pilots who cannot get a third class medical. It’s proof. Indisputable proof.

    The FAA and the pilot community together is spending hundreds of millions a year on medical certification, money that is being 100% wasted.

    If Huerta and the FAA doesn’t cut the waste Congress should cut $500 million from the FAA budget tomorrow, and if they don’t cut the waste then, they should then cut another $500 million.

    That is the only way to solve the problem of government waste, cut until it squeaks. Then cut again.

    The 3rd class medical is completely unnecessary and adds nothing whatsoever except expense and inconvenience.

    It should be unceremoniously dumped, and not like the AOPA/EAA proposal, just 100% dumped. It’s not needed at all. Not at all. That is a proven fact.

  29. Doyle Frost says:

    Mr. Sclair, thank you for a very succint open letter. I just hope it gets to the people that are the real problem, the senators, congressional representatives, and overpriced administrators in Washington, D.C.
    In my case, I have the highest respect for the people I’ve dealt with at the FAA Medical office in OK City, and the courtesy and efficiency they’ve shown me in my S.I. medical, and are stll working on getting this down to a level we older pilots can deal with. As I stated previously, they are not the problem, just people like you and I, doing a job.
    I do have a concern though, regarding outside influence, such as the A.M.A., AME’s and even regular primary care doctors, and how this can complicate this situation.

    • Yes, the people in OK city are nice, thats their job, are there code names still joshua and lisa, and I know that DO who signed my to waivers is working for the AOPA and is still hustling the 3rd class med.

  30. To say that it should be a priority for all pilots is a bit of a generalization. I just got my license last year and still hope to have some sort of career with it, so this would not apply to me. As someone else mentioned, the third class medical should be done away with, except maybe for the initial student pilots license. If a person can self-certify for day VFR, then why can’t the self-certify for night VFR or IFR?

    • Oh, I forgot, yes the ama has been for my lifetime lobbying for the 3rd class med. I also have to save that I have had great med care so I know that their are great docs out there. Just hope their not flying twins.

  31. greg hill says:

    i’m all for it, i feel we should have been granted the privalige when sport pilots were………its not a safety thing, its political, and a money maker for someone, if it were really a safety issue, it would’nt be allowed even for sport pilots…….and why arnt the aircraft makers speaking up and helping us get this passed, they would sell more planes and parts……………..and then there are the AME’s, they would cry the blues if they lost all that money……..so the question is, are you going to help the doctors, or the pilots?

  32. Ben, you are the first av writer in the last 40yrs to really tell it like it is. I always ask a pvt pilot who is going to pay for your waivers g-d forbid you need it to fly. Sir I am 83. had 2 waivers in the 90′s and thur in the towel. Its a story you won’t believe.

  33. Stan Tew says:

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m in favor of the elimination of the 3rd class medical. This would allow me to operate as “Private” pilot instead of “Sport” pilot.

    But consider that such a change will virtually kill the Sport Pilot & Light Sport Aircraft because no one would need that niche.

    However, I think that it will not happen. After all – we are dealing with the government.

    • I’m in the same boat-I could exercise my Private Pilot privileges but I don’t agree that it would kill the Sport market. There is more likely a larger number of Sport pilots/owners that will not pursue their Private but instead continue to exercise their Sport privileges.

    • Andy Metzka says:

      Stan- not sure why you think this would kill the Light Sport Aircraft? Seems to me the additional influx of active pilots would INCREASE the demand for planes- meaning even more business for FBO’s and the Industry as a whole! More activity means more interest and the need for more planes as the old ones wear…. Then MAYBE- due to increased demand- an LSA may become available for less than $150,000. :)

  34. John feet says:

    I have asked AOPA to post a one page fact sheet we can all use to write our reps ans senators. It’s time each and every pilot inundated congress with a letter campaign. That’s what those guys are there for, to listen and represent us. Lets do it!

  35. Excellent letter, excellent concept, excellent initiative. Little hope that it will happen. If anyone should have hope, it should be an old pilot who dearly loves to fly. Let’s hope!

  36. Jack Bantle says:

    I agree, but I wonder if the new CACI program is being put out there as an alternative to an exemprion. They are ending special issuance for up to 10 medical conditions. The trouble is that you still have to provide all the previous documentation to the AME. It’s helpful but it doesn’t beging to address the problems.

  37. Joe Arbogast says:

    From the 1920′s to today, the people of the United States have decided through elections that they no longer want a country based on individual responsibility but are gradually moving to a totalitarian state. As central planning (i. e. Social Security, Welfare, O’bama Care, etc., etc.) becomes more prevelent and individual responsibilty is shunned, activities such as hunting, racing, and flying will eventually be curtailed to the point of extinction.
    I seriously doubt if the FAA will have the courage to permit a return to freedom by allowing any easing of medical standards. After all, as Ronald Reagan said, “No government ever volutarily reduces itself in size”.
    We are coming very close to instituting Thomas Jefferson’s quote of replenishing the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots.

    • Joe, I am 83, and you are right on. If you remember, I don’t know how old you are but I must say that the faa and ronald regan used the controllers as a pawn and fire 12000. Well they just did it again. The american people don’t really care that the pvt pilot flys or not.

  38. Tim Daugherty says:

    Ben, great job with a simple, credible argument to get the FAA to do the right thing.
    Is it possible that with the new blood in the FAA, something this revolutionary could possibly happen?
    Keep pushing Ben. We’re with you!

  39. Nicely done Ben! Please advise us if there is any response! I’ve been told the delay is just a way to put off announcing “NO!” for as long as possible, but let’s hope my sources are wrong!! Fix Part 23, fix the 3rd class medical issue, and get some new pilots flying (and owning!) and we’d be on our way!

  40. I do not agree. If you can afford to fly, on any level, you can afford a Class 3 medical. I want to be up in the air with pilots who are proven healthy and competent. Making everything easier is not the way to safer skies.

  41. Nicely done Ben-Let’s get this rolling!

  42. Great letter, Ben!
    Perhaps Craig Fuller (AOPA) and Jack Pelton (EAA) can be prompted to combine forces in a letter to Mr. Huerta…

  43. jim shuck says:

    This guy will never see your request, he will be at lunch with some lobbyist that is trying to get something that they want done. Everyone donate what you would have paid your med ex and give to the lobbyist. Then have lobbyist also go to Senator or Gongress
    and they can help. I am sure if you tax every flight $1.oo then Pres Obama will also help.

  44. In recent years the 3rd class medical has been a stumbling block for me because the FAA seemes to be more nit-picky than ever. My last medical was held up for more than a month because I was taking medication for gout! Remember the last time an airplane crashed after the pilot had a gout attack? Me neither. If the feds approve this I will be able to fly my 2-seat, 160 hp Experimental without having to jump through medical hoops every two years!

    • Jim , its funny that you mentioned that illess, because the faa just said that an ame can no now issue a 3rd class med if you have arthritis. They donot mind insulting their own intelligence do they.

  45. Bill Watson says:

    Wouldn’t this exemption petition have made more sense if it were for aircraft that were *not* high performance per FAR 61.31(f)(2)? This way there is no need to memorize other arbitrary horsepower values.

  46. I agree that the 3rd class medical should be eliminated all together. There’s no more risk or danger to self or society in part 91 flying than in driving a car, SUV, or RV on the roads with kids, school buses, etc. Why limit it to 180 HP? The problem really is about empires and power, not common sense.

    • Jeff, I guess you already know that every fsdo is an empire in it self. I spent 3 yrs doing safety for a cap sq in so nv. I had to bite my tongue every time I went their, So I could access to the vidios I needto due my seminars

  47. Well done, Ben. I admire proactive stances such as yours. Too many reactive minds out there sitting in their easy chairs saying, “Somebody ought to do sometheing about that!” You are doing something valuable with this piece.
    Jay Carpenter
    Texas Aviation Association

  48. Otto Keesling says:

    I agree with those who originally suggested the third class physical be eleminated. Many are flying without a physical now. The AOPA and EAA had to get in the frey and muddy the waters, to justify their political existance. I remember when people realized that the American Automobile Association did nothing for the motoring public and dropped memberships. The same for the AOPA, get out and leave us alone. Just think how many people would by airplanes if they did not have to worry about passing a third class. Of course AME’s are going to be opposed to this. Go figure.

  49. Ed Seaton says:

    Now that the House and Senate have made it clear that the safety and efficiency of our Aviation system is a priority.Let the FAA go forward and save more money and make the skies safer yet,by passing the AOPA/EAA petition for amendment of the third class Medical for Sport Pilots which also include Aircraft upto 180Hp in VFR as LSA.So Pilots thats not so rich won’t have to fly around in Aircraft that was builded in 1946,etc.That will make the skies safer,and save money.Put more people to work in Aviation,stop the decline in Pilot Population.

  50. Eric Taylor says:

    Sequestration or not, a lot on the plate or not– there’s no reason why the medial certificate exemption proposal cannot be addressed. As pointed out, there’s 8 years of no-medical sport pilot data to prove it’s validity. It’s been many months since the proposal was submitted– now it’s time for the FAA to become part of the solution for the downward spiral of general aviation instead of part of the problem.

  51. This is a very good start. There was also an excellent editorial in Aviation Consumer dealing with the certification process. In short, the FAA is out of control. They are working to kill the aviation industry with beaurocrasy. Frankly, I see absolutely no sound reason why there should be a Third Class medical for any non revenue generating flight. Just like a regular driver’s license verus a CDL. I don’t expect the FAA to do anything without serious prodding. My suggestion is that with each great editorial, such as this, a copy should be sent to each of our national legislators. In time, they will see the ridiculous burden and waste of money the FAA is placing on pilots and manufactures and Congress will force the FAA to do something. The legislators may actually not be aware how cumbersome the process of both the medical and the certification processes, have become. I just sent a copy of both editorials to my Congressman and Senators. Will my effort do any good? Probably not, but 400,000 copies to respective Senators and Congressmen should.

  52. Linda S. Berl says:

    I hope this rule change comes to pass. It would free me to fly the airplanes I have the most experience with. I would be buying more fuel, visiting more places and enjoying opportunities that are currently denied me.
    This rule has worked for generations of Glider pilots, and will work well with power pilots.
    Just do it! Now!

    • Steve Kane says:

      I absolutely agree. I am a glider pilot. Flying gliders takes 100% concentration to stay in the air. We have some pilots out here who are in their 80s and fly regularly. We have one pilot who is 92. He is excellent and I would fly with him any time. The older pilots are very safe because they know how to avoid trouble and they do not take unnecessary risks like some younger people. Many pilots turn to gliders because they do not need a medical. The current rule makes no sense at all. With modern medicine, the risk of sudden attacks while flying are greatly reduced.

  53. Well done, Ben. You don’t get what you don’t ask for – and you asked. I appreciate you taking a proactive stance and making a very solid case for this common-sense change to 14 CFR in relation to 3rd class medicals.

    Here’s hoping there is a response coming our way in the near future. A positive one, too.

    • Jamie, you say “common-sense change”, you are correct but unfortunately government agencies can rarely be accused of employing common-sense.

  54. john gilmore says:

    If we increased the annual to a bi-annual inspection we would half the cost of maintenance. Our small plane gets flown less than 150 hrs per year I think in our case, we do more harm by pulling things off and we usually have some problem related to the annual after every one of them which also costs us. I know that inspection of these low use low weight planes on a less frequent basis would allow us to fly more given we all have a fixed amount of cash to dedicate to “airplane stuff”.
    More pilots or more flying are both good for the FAA and Pilots ( they make more money when there is more traffic too)

    There have been many less accidents and fatalities due to bad mechanical s than bad myocardials.

    This would be a
    ” two fer’”

    • John, GREAT point. I have 12 hrs on since my last annual, next due in 2 months. Chances are something will break from the “removal” before it happens from actual “flying”.
      How can we make this also “Happen” Ben?

      That’s where we all need relief, fixed costs.
      RM in WI

  55. Awesome article, Ben! Sebring Expo is behind you 100%, and will also help in any way…keep us posted!

  56. Jack Hereford says:

    Thanks Ben.
    Your letter was well reasoned and brief enough to actually be read. Let’s hope…

    CAVU

    Jack

  57. Kent Misegades says:

    Thank you Michael Dean for reminding the public that there were no real cuts to the budget through sequestration – but there ought to be, weekly, until we have a budget surplus and start paying off our crushing national debt.

    Good letter Ben, hope you do not expect an answer though. Since when did the Feds use facts to make decisions? LSA has been a resounding success in many ways, which is probably why the FAA now wants to muck with the rules. A number of the companies who have sold LSA-class aircraft are now developing highly-advanced four-and-more seat singles and twins, eg Tecnam, Flight Design, Pipistrel, and Diamond. LSA is the only part of aviation that has seen any real growth in recent years, despite not having delivered the mythical $40,000 new airplanes with a glass cockpit that many have unrealistically expected.

    Here’s my letter to the FAA – “Adopt industry-proven ASTM certification for everything, privatize everything, shut yourself down and enjoy retirement.”

  58. Michael Dean says:

    “I understand that with the sequestration and its impact on the FAA budget…”

    Sequestration; a 4% reduction in the rate of GROWTH. It’s not a cut, people. We’re being fed a line of… well, you know… by the poople who love to take OUR money and spend it to secure THEIR own (lucrative) careers. It’s time we stop falling for it.

    Other than that, Ben, I’m with you 100%.

    (And please, forgive me if you were being sarcastic about that “impact” thing. I can be slow on the uptake, sometimes.)

  59. Glenn Darr says:

    Good luck! The FAA is not going to do anything that is positive for pilots. You know, “we’re not happy til you are not happy”. The FAA has already forgotten this proposal. They have changed their minds about things with far fewer signatures on petitions than this one. This would be a big money saver for the FAA if they would approve it, but I don’t see it happening.

    • Agree, I too wish it would happen but just don’t see it happening.
      After all, government bureaucrats are all about empire building and power, and they won’t relinquish any of that easily no matter how much sense it would make.

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