Old Coot pilots come up with ideas for a new medical

Guest Editorial By John Christensen

I recently attended my 50th high school reunion. I had a wonderful time reminiscing with classmates. As one would expect, the rather large crowd quickly organized itself into small groups, according to interests, past and present. I found myself embedded in a pod of old coot pilots.

After the hangar stories, lies and exaggerations were dutifully processed, the conversation topic switched to the Class 3 medical and our collective assortment of various health issues keeping us grounded. Many colleagues are aircraft owners and pilots. Tickets ran the gambit from ATP to private. All had one common interest: To somehow legally get back into the air, as seniors.

My story was simple. On my 40th birthday I had bypass surgery. No heart attack, just some odd feelings leading to a doctor exam, leading to an angiogram, leading to surgery. Two years following the surgery I had a couple of strokes, just for good measure. It turned out that the strokes were small bleeds in my left cerebellar, caused by improper dosage of the blood thinner I was taking.

Years pass, I recuperate. After consulting my cardiologist, I decide to try again for my Class 3. A big mistake! I went to the FAA medical examiner, filled out the form 8500-8 and passed all medical tests. The doctor issued my medical certificate and I went home a happy camper. That lasted three days.

That’s when I received a letter and phone call from the FAA demanding I immediately return my medical certificate. I’m sure my doctor was scolded as well.

Interestingly, the emergency recall had nothing to do with my actual health. Rather, the FAA had a laundry list of questions regarding medicines and a sizable demand for copies of my medical records. The oddest part of that request was a demand for 10-year-old bypass records. After submitting these records — and more — I finally gave up. This story is typical of my classmates.

Conversation quickly morphed into a discussion of the sport pilot certificate. All observed that while they supported the sport pilot ticket in principal, the privileges just do not satisfy the desire of a 1,000 hour grounded aircraft-owning pilot.

During this brainstorming session we mutually conceptualized parameters for a possible new class of medical.

Imagine the creation of a Class 3B Restricted medical certificate. It would be issued by the FAA as a substitute for the standard Class 3 medical,to a licensed private pilot encountering a medical ineligibility. This new medical would allow the private pilot to continue to act as PIC with no restriction in aircraft type or operating privileges if accompanied by a second licensed pilot possessing either a valid medical, whether it is Class 1, Class 2, Class 3 or Class 3B medical.

Why do this? One look at Part 61.23 presents a dazzling array of allowable conditions, prohibitions and limitations for various medical certificates. This could be simplified with the creation of a Class 3B certificate.

This should be easy to enact and ultimately be a much easier transition for us “elderly” pilots. Furthermore, the statistical likelihood of two pilots becoming simultaneously disabled is vastly less than the risk of a single pilot medical failure. Importantly, pilot redundancy is already fully recognized by the FAA and has been practice for decades.

I expect pilot compliance would be high. Most pilots have other pilots as friends and fly together anyway. Some of us own single-place aircraft, but that is a much easier issue to manage than having no medical.

I do not believe a driver’s license will ever be authorized as a private pilot medical. This use is already established in the sport pilot realm and there is just too much uncertainty in the issuance of drivers licenses to meet the FAA requirement for private pilot. My 86-year-old father-in-law received a renewal from the DMV. He was bedridden with Alzheimer’s.

Personally, I do not wish further restrictions on what, when or where I can fly; rather I would happily comply with the requirements of the Class 3B medical.

I guess there is a downside, though. I’m sure the number of “lost medical, must sell” classified ads would drop.

 

John Christensen is retired Navy submariner, retired electronics engineer and retired (read grounded) private pilot. His flying career began with a glider ride at Calistoga in 1976. It ended abruptly ten years later following a quad bypass operation. Since then, he satisfies his aviation yearnings with radio controlled warbird models, aircraft home-building (EAA member) and generally pestering his pilot friends for “passenger” time in the right seat. An AOPA member since 1978, He lives in Manteca, Calif., with his wife, Ann and a gaggle of RC planes.
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Comments

  1. Stephen Mann says:

    Charlie said: “Are there more people employed with the FAA than there are active private pilots?”

    No. According to the FAA, (http://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/aba/admin_factbook/media/201206.pdf), there are 587,042 pilots and 657,445 non-pilots (mechanics, ground instructors, flight attendants and flight engineers) for a total of 1,244,487. FAA permanent employees totals 47,031 for the same period. If you download the PDF, look at the chart on Page 5 and maybe you will see why the FAA is slow to relax any GA rules.

  2. melvin freedman says:

    Jeff, I can’t believe you didn’t know that it is all about $. How old are you?

  3. Mooney 9242V says:

    Great discussion, it is ashame our legislators and s the FAA do not read and understand well thought out presentations.

    Now, would someone explain to me how a qualified IFR rated pilot has greater exposure to medical risk when flying IFR rather than VFR. The same question applies to night verses day. My single engine Mooney can carry four people. All these years when I have carried multiple passengers, I had no conceptual understanding of the additional medical risk generated by having passengers three and four.

    Or then, maybe I am missing something here.

  4. Mooney 9242V says:

    Stephen:

    You are so correct regarding the 3rd class medical not adding to safety. Consider, it renders us less safe. For many of us, the annual medical is a crap shoot. Given that uncertainty, if you are fortuante enough to own an elederly aircraft like my Mooney, you are less inclined to upgrade equipment or airplane because of the nonsensical risk the FAA places on us. Buy a new airplane or equipment and then have the FAA fail to renew your medical; try to get your investment back. Good luck, we get a return on our investment by using the airplane and not from reselling. This is not about safety, the FAA cannot justify that position. It is about keeping some Docs busy adding no value to our system, and in fact, making it less safe. Don’t spend the money on Docs, spend it on training where there is an opportunity to benefit.

    • John Christensen says:

      I completely agree with your comment regarding the increased risk for senior pilots regarding justification for purchasing expensive avionics upgrades. I’m no statistician but I believe it can be shown that the current medical requirement uncertainty is a major factor in a senior owner’s reluctance to “modernize” their panels. The second a $50K panel upgrade is installed, it looses over half its value. If the aircraft then winds up on the auction block, the buyer reaps a windfall. You have to be pretty well off to ignore that risk.

  5. Vaughn S. Price says:

    Let the FAA Medical staff in Okla City insure job security by making us Octos jump through a few hoops. Its the price we pay when we vote for bigger Government

  6. Jack D. Says says:

    Is there anybody out there that knows as a Govt Employee that drives big trucks and pulls a trailer around to transport equipment and pickup materials from big citys are exempt from having a physical and carry a medical card.
    I retired from Military in 1979 and i went to work for Corps Of Engineers in 1981 and i drove the big truck we had and did all this, I only had a class c license at this time during my 17 years in kansas doing this when somebody higher in chain said no and we had to have a class b license and about a year later again someone higher up said no and we had to have a class A CDL we all complied and went to Forbes Field in Topeka and took test and had all endorcements added to it and we had to take test for those endorcements.Now we were good to go but we didn’t have to take a physical and carry a medical card with us.
    Due to downsizing and such i got moved to Oklahoma and traded my KS CDL in for a OK CDL and was good to go,No Medical I since then retired from Govt Corps Of Eng.and kept my CDL thinking i would maybe get a job driving for some trucking firm Well i didn’t try for a job and a month ago i got a letter frome the OK Department Of Public Safety wanting to know who i was driving for and update on my medical and where i could go to take care of this , One place was to go to drivers license exam office and talk to examiner this i did .I decided that i probably wouldn’t drive big rigs anymore so i opped to downgrade to a rugular class D License and we discused the medical and i told examiner that as a Govt. Employee we wern’t required to have a physical and carry a medical card and he said that Govt. employees who drove big trucks wern’t required to take a physical and that we were allowed to SELF CERTIFY My wife was standing next to me and herd this to.
    I let David Wartofsky from potomac-airfield.com
    Ben Sclair from general aviation news.com
    Tail Hook from general aviation news.com
    I’am in hopes that they will maybe run with this and get somebody in GA Caucus and get them to do something, A Medical doctor does the 3rd class and its only good for that moment and time one could leave his office and have a heart attack or something else go wrong but between exames it’s pilot who self certifies not the doctor Like everybody says the FAA is not happy unless the pilot population is unhappy. We need all the pilots to voice there opions , I would like to see Class 3 Medical gotten rid of period.

  7. I don’t know why they keep bringing up this class 3b physical. You can do the same thing without it as long as one of the pilots sitting behind one of the set of controls is licensed with a current medical. The FAA, like the entire Federal Government has become a dictatorship, and we, the people, who they are supposed to be working for are their subjects. At my age, although I know of no physical problems, I am not about to take a chance on getting a 3rd class physical and not being able to fly again My 100+ year old mother had a saying: “Stay away from doctors, they bury their mistakes”. I would change that to: “Stay away from FAA Medical Examiners, they can bury your ability to fly again”.

  8. melvin freedman says:

    mooney42v. the faa is just laughing at us, we haven’t got a chance. And to add insult to enjury, the very vocation thats keeping us a live, AMA, will never giveup. Its about $$.

  9. Allow use of the CDL (commercial drivers licensee) medical for Recreational Pilot. Created by the DOT to operate 80,000lbs trucks. Much less restrictive and the “special issue” is much simpler.

  10. Mooney 9242V says:

    The suggestion made to allow two pilots with the downgraded medical certification certificates is certainly innovative. However, while a solution, it begs the question of the need for medical certification. While the road the FAA travels is paved with good intentions, that does not guaranty that value is provided through this service and in fact, there is a severe opportunity cost that burdens pilots who are likely the most skilled, experienced and most likely to purchase GA products. This unseen cost which is borne by the aviation community is levied by the FAA without the FAA providing one iota of evidence that value is created. In fact, there is substantial anecdotal evidence that the FAA is causing accidents by its maligned policies of medical certification.
    All the regulation in the world is not going to eliminate risk. We don’t want or need regulation that adds to risk. We, as a society, have limited resources, and as custodians of these limited resources, we best make proper use of them. Expenditures of dollars, time and the cost frustration in dealing with the FAA bureaucracy is hurting GA. Look at the accidents, it is fair to say that the chain of events leading to an accident can be broken had one minor event along the way had not occurred. Medical certification does not enter into the picture at all. Pilot training or the lack thereof is a major factor. The FAA will not provide empirical evidence that its efforts on medical certification generate benefits. Their failure to do so is evident, there is no evidence. However, look at the issue of approach and departure stalls, bungled emergency landings, and simple errors of fuel mismanagement; there is overwhelming evidence that GA is misusing its valuable and limited resources.

    I recall the incident several years ago of a competent physician flying a Cherokee who experienced a catastrophic engine failure. The pilot tried to stretch his glide, beyond the capabilities of the aircraft, and ended with the fatal stall spin. Clearly an avoidable accident, perhaps an hour of dual instruction on emergency landings would have prevented this tragic occurrence. Clearly the flight training would have been worth far more than a third class medical certificate.

    If we want choices, then let’s opt for the choice of dual flight instruction on flying the airplane rather than go through the senseless medical certification process. Now that will reduce accidents. And when I refer to dual instruction, I am talking about flying, not the discussion of the FAA’s never ending expansion of regulations. All the rules in the world will not help one who doesn’t fly the airplane properly.
    Small world story, on one of my biannual flight reviews, I wanted to do stalls in my Mooney. The instructor didn’t want to do stalls in the Mooney because he heard that aircraft would easily spin. Now that was an educational experience.

    We should all ask the FAA to justify and provide evidence of the lives and property they are saving by issuing third class medicals. Then ask them how those resources could be used to create real value and return the stimulus to GA. The FAA is the anchor that has distorted the weight and balance of private general aviation. IT NEEDS TO STOP NOW!

    The compromise is to trade off the useless third class medical certification process for some real accident prevention flight training.

    • John Christensen says:

      I appreciate and concur with every word of this comment. As every pilot truly knows, “Fit to Fly” will always be a self assessment, made by a well trained and conscientious pilot. Training, experience and well maintained equipment is the unquestionable root of flight safety.

      • melvin freedman says:

        John, all this chatter is sound but, but the faa doesen’t want sense, they don’t operate that way. as a pvt pilot I know that its all about $ for all those lobbying ie ama, faa, etc to keep the 3rd med going

        • AMEN!!

        • Stephen Mann says:

          Melvin and Charlie, you couldn’t be more wrong.

          The AMA couldn’t care less about the 3rd class medical – the number of physicians who do Airmen’s medicals are a tiny minority of the AMA’s membership, and is usually a means for retirement income for the doctors. More often or not, the AMA is in OUR corner pushing the FAA to relax rules that are based on antiquated medical knowledge. The FAA is a slow-moving bureaucracy and often needs a nudge to move. They still consider Diabetes a death sentence as it was in the first half of the last century.

          However, the FAA makes its decisions based on quantifiable facts. The almost nonexistent occurrence of pilot incapacitation over the past 20-years is what led to the Light Sports Aircraft and the “Driver’s License” medical. Ironically, there were just as many airline pilots as private who had serious medical issues in flight, but we don’t hear about them as there is another pilot on-board. (And those are first-class medicals.)

          What the OP is proposing is MORE rulemaking, MORE administration and MORE enforcement problems. The best approach is to nibble at the edges where the facts support your position. The OP has none. For example, the EAA and the AOPA have petitioned the FAA to relax the Third Class medical for 180HP aircraft to a “Drivers License” medical. Do you belong to either association? Did you write a comment to the petition? I’ll bet not. In fact, the petition comment period ended last year and the dearth of comments received tell the FAA that there is no interest in the issue by the aviation community. If pilots can’t be bothered to send a comment to the FAA on something this common-sense (you can do it online), then the OP’s scheme to get the FAA to increase their workload has no chance whatsoever.

          http://www.aopa.org/News-and-Video/All-News/2013/April/13/Fuller-questions-FAA-support-for-third-class-medical-exemption

          • melvin freedman says:

            Stephen, you are probably right on some of what you say, and yes I did and do support the eaa on this subject.

          • I wonder. With the dwindling number of private pilots. Are there more people employed with the FAA than there are active private pilots?
            And yes I did send a comment to the FAA and both my senators.

          • 16,000 ( almost all in support) is a dearth of comments? I thought it was some sort of record for a comment period?

          • melvin freedman says:

            Rod, in the 70′s the 3rd class med was written about in an aopa article by a very respected aviat writer who is well thought of today. Well, he never appeared again in the aopa mag, he was gone. I have to believe and know fr my experience with the 3rd med and waivers that he was right, and that it is well known that the aopa, which was founded by doc and lawyers, still hustled it today, ie( we can help you with your med problems) I was a mbr of aopa fr over 40yrs.

  11. The good part of this is that we might even have the Aeromedical Doctors on our side if it involves giving more physicals. Last time I got my physical the Doctor I use said that the FAA would never approve the elimination of the 3rd class medical for aircraft like the 172 (sport category). I think there is a lot of pull from those Doctors who make there living doing 3rd class medicals to never see them go away. In government dealings you can always figure out what is really important to them, follow the money.

  12. John Wesley says:

    the other option, take the time, spend the money, jump through the hoops and get a real medical, I am type 2 diabetic, have hypothyroidism and sleep apnea, it took a little while and I have to send a lot of information at renewal, but since 2008 I have held a Second class with the only limitation being that after 1 year it does not drop down to a third, it completely expires. When the paperwork and delays seem over whelming, contact the regional flight surgeon and let him or her do her magic.

    • Mooney 9242V says:

      Bruce, I assume that you re using your medical to support commercial aviation activities. If so, there is a clear and higher burden placed on those pursuing a commercial objective. For private use, I suggest that some additional training would sharpen your skills and do more to create safety. ten years ago a close pilot friend of mine died as a result of a massive heart attach. Oh, did I mention that he had a current third class medical. So much for the predictive powers of the OK City guys.

      • I’m not saying this is the case with your friend but sadly I think many pilots ignore the symptoms of heart disease (and other things) because they are afraid if they bring it with their doctor and it turns out to be something than there goes any chance at flying (other than sport lic). The third class medical in many ways hurts ones health since it doesn’t go deep enough to pinpoint problems but reinforces the fear that your doctor will find something wrong with you.

        • Joseph, I think yours is the most important posting I’ve read here today. I’ve thought this a long time – the 3rd class medical actually reduces the health, and thus safety, of private pilots because they won’t go to the doctor until symptoms get serious (not to mention how it shortens their lives for the same reason). I know I won’t go, because flying is too important to me. It’s hard to say, but if I die of a heart attack while flying, then at least I was still flying. And I would fully blame the FAA for any injuries on the ground.

  13. John, we already have a 3B. It’s in the “logging” rules for flying an aircraft for which you are qualified and rated. Logging as sole manipulator is different than being legal PIC; that’s the guy in the right seat. But you can log, be current and do your BFR if the CFI is willing to be legal PIC.

    To fly light sport (LSA), all you have to do qualify ONCE, have the cath report that shows aLL your significant disease was bypassed (no heart behind any 70% lesions), do the stress treadmill- negative, doc’s letter, and 3 labs. Get the third class and let it expire. Then DENIAL will not be the last interaction with FAA medical. Then you can go LSA.

  14. A couple of years ag I flipped my homebuilt on it’s back. Didn’t even damage the wood prop but the FAA insisted on me taking a flight test. I did so in my Luscombe. They kept asking for my physical papers but I pointed out I was flying it under Light Sport. I was given the option of taking the Light Sport test or having a physical, so I took the physical. Passed with no restrictions The FAA in OK City didn’t like it but they had painted themselves into a corner and this 85 year old beat them. I continue to fly Light Sport of course.

  15. As an 85 year old Pilot, I am down to a Class 3 Medical that I renew every 6 months; as a result of 5 heart by passes and a Pacemaker. I operate a Flight School since 1966.
    Don’t do anything “Stupid”. My Buddies and I fly to Lunch or Breakfast or to Aviation Museums.
    No 3B medical for me. My Health come first; and I know where I stand !!. I can always fly and if loose my medical I can always fly with a CFI who then becomes the PIC .

    • John Christensen says:

      I can appreciate your thoughts on the matter of my 3B Medical proposal. However, I do not believe I was an advocate for a risky, unhealthy lifestyle. Rather, my article centered around my experience of being buried by FAA’s requests for a boatload of irrelevant medical records. I believe that something like a Class IIIB certificate could be a bridge to a compromise. Of course I would love to see a DL allowed to certify a pilot’s fitness to fly but I’m sure that privilege would be rife with exclusions, limitations and prohibitions. That is what the FAA is good at.

  16. As an 85 year old Pilot, I am down to a Class 3 Medical that I renew every 6 months; as a result of 5 heart by passes and a Pacemaker. I operate a Flight School since 1966.
    Don’t do anything “Stupid”. My Buddies and I fly to Lunch or Breakfast or to Aviation Museums.
    No 3B medical for me. My Health come first; and I know wher I stand !!. I can always fly and if loose my medical I can always fly with a CFI who then becomes the PIC .

  17. It’s a fallacy that the driver’s license is the medical for flying LSA — NO pilot is legally allowed to fly unless they are in good enough condition to do so, no matter what paper might be in his pocket. The DL simply satisfies the FAA’s compulsion that there be some piece of paper to go along with the pilot’s determination.

    Sorry if the Coots are unhappy that they can’t fly their Turbo Commanders with their DLs, but there is somewhat more risk than in flying an Ercoupe or a T-craft.

    Instead of a new class of medical, the DL should be approved for a higher MTOW than the current 1320 lbs — 1800 or 2000 lbs would be more reasonable (“all done for under a ton”) and no more than two occupants. Forget the number of seats, the type of landing gear and prop.

    If the Coots can’t find something they like to fly that meets this standard, let them walk.

    • Sarah Ashmore says:

      Something tells me you are young and in excellent health. In time all that will pass and when you find yourself grounded for lack of a 3rd class medical you will be singing a different toon. The point has been made that we are allowed to operate all sorts of land and sea vehicles in all sorts of weather conditions, night and day, and in close proximity to numerous other vehicles packed full of people and who knows what yet we are not compleed to meet any outrageous medical standards comparable to aviation. I have yet to hear any credible reason for why operating an aircraft should require these strict medical standards and that is why the 3rd class has to go. Extending LSA to encompass a reasonable group of aircraft as you suggested would go a long way to acheiving what we desire and as you pointed out, why would retractable gear of constant speed prop require that we meet higher medical standards.

      Have a little compassion for your fellow aviators and remember the phrase “There but by the Grace of God Go I.

      • Mooney 9242V says:

        Yes, and while they remain aloof about their tender young age, we older folks are driving right next to them at 80 MPH on I95, maybe four feet away, and without a medical!!!

        • GASP!,,, On subject though, the 3rd class petitions that I have read do not propose to allow private pilot privilege but rather Recreational pilot privileges, no more than one passenger, less than 180 hp., no night flight etc. It is actually just as restrictive as Sport pilot except for the higher gross airplane so aircraft like the C-172 could still be flown.

  18. Loss of medical does not keep you out of the left seat. A pilot in command is not restricted to the left seat, so if your companion pilot in command is comfortable with all operations in the right seat, as most CFI’s are, you can sit in the left seat and get the full experience of flying the airplane. Have fun.

  19. Lawrence and Kenneth, go back and re-read the story. It would not affect LSA nor those with regular Class 3 medicals. All it would do is allow those that can’t get a Class 3 to get a provisional Class 3B. He or she could fly but only with another pilot.
    As it is now he can’t fly at all!
    Although there is nothing to say he can’t fly with another pilot right now and the other pilot give him the controls. He just can’t log PIC.

    • Precisely, just fly with a licensed pilot with current medical. The only “need” in that case would be if you wanted to log the time. If you want to log the time for higher ratings etc. then jump through the hoops to get the medical certificate. If the purpose of this new class were to expedite a new medical after a denial so as to allow the use of a “drivers license” medical for sport pilot it makes some sense. To allow operation of a single pilot aircraft while using a two man crew it makes no sense to me.

      • OK, another issue. If logging the time is the only real reason that you need the 3B, what exactly is the higher rating that a 80 year old pilot that can’t pass a physical can get with this logged time?

        Answer: No rating is available. Hence, no real need to log the time. And no need for the 3B at that point.

      • It is my understanding that the pilot flying without a medical can still log the time as PIC if they are the sole manipulator of the controls and rated in the class/category of aircraft.

  20. Class 3B is unnecessary. Just take a licensed private pilot with you and you can fly all you want to? Happens all the time without a 3B. I had a friend with a Thorp T-18 who did that and I am grateful for the experience of flying his little sports car and getting some real high performance time in the logbook. I was PIC from the right seat and he did the takeoffs and landings. I don’t get why the need for the medical in that case unless you want to log time, at which point you probably aren’t going for a higher rating anyway.

    As far as logic of the drivers license example, remember you still have to self-certify you are fit to fly, so a bed ridden person is disqualified.

    Nope, not a good idea.

    • Yes anyone can take the controls as long as they are not the PIC, but I think his idea is that with a 3B two traditionally medically disqualified pilots would more or less in the FAA eyes be equivalent to one pilot with a 3ed class medical as it would be unlikely that both would have issues at the same time. It is a band-aid to a larger problem no doubt. But the 3B would give some retirees some more flexibility if they wanted it and it wouldn’t replace any existing tickets. I would prefer for private aviation your medical condition and ability be decided between your doctor and yourself – but the times are gone anyways now that your medical condition is now monitored by the IRS.

  21. In 1951 at age 13 I soloed in a cub. In 1957 I bought an Ercoupe for myself as a High School graduation present. I have owned and flown something ever since. In 1969 my father and wife convinced me that I needed to get a pilots license. Which I did.
    In December,1998 I had a mild cardio event which was corrected with a single stent.
    Unfortunately I notified the FAA. Every one knows how that went.
    After arguing with the FAA several times since I have given up and gone back to flying without a Medical. I get a physical twice a year and have had no problems since.
    I do have two personal rules that I abide by, #1. I wont carry a passenger unless they are a pilot and #2. I won’t fly over populated areas.

  22. Lawrence Lawn says:

    I think this 3B would be a disaster. I like to fly on a moments notice and could never find another pilot to accompany me. In my 2000+ hrs as PIC I do not think I have more than 10 hrs. with another licensed pilot. Needing another pilot means he would have to stay overnight when you do. If you fly in conjuction with business as I do what does my copilot do for four or five hours while I am at meetings? When my wife and I go to Martha’s vineyard for an overnight stay where is my copilot? My AA5A cannot handle 4 persons so he is alone. What of when I fly to Fla for a weeks vacation. Do I put up my copilot in a separate hotel? Meals for copilot?
    Your suggestion is far worse than just going LSA.
    Look at the statistics!! LSA pilots proportionately have had LESS medical in flight problems than the pilots holding 3rd class meds. You are putting a Band-Aid on a severed limb.

    • Sarah Ashmore says:

      Your point is exactly why that proposal would never work in the real world. The thought of having to find another pilot to tag along every time you wanted to fly would be enough to make many just give up. What is worng with jumping ing your aircraft on a weekend to go get one of those infamous $100 cheeseburgers ? Do you wonder around the airport looking for someone to babysit you so you can fly your airplane.

      We need common sense proposals that will really provide increased freedom.

  23. Dr. Kenneth Nolde says:

    I flew yesterday, alone, on my drivers license in my Light Sport aircraft (CTLS) to deliver it to my mechanic for its annual inspection. I do not have to restrict my flying to those times I can find someone else to fly with. No, the Old Coot’s proposal says that in order to fly I would need another pilot to oversee my actions–I object. Within the restrictions imposed by the FAA for Light Sport flying, I am able to fly safely, with or without another person in the airplane. Again, no, I do not trust the FAA and its inept medical administration with reassessing requirements.

    • I would think that even with this class 3B you would still be allowed to fly under sport aviation rules since you can do so with out a medical you should be able to do it with a 3B (assuming they didn’t implicitly forbid it). So you could fly your CTLS all you want and the 3b would allow you and a pilot friend to hop in a 182 with a couple of passengers and go on vacation if needed.

      • Once denied a 3rd class, you are unable to get a Sport Pilot license. Since Class 3B isn’t a true medical, but just a paperwork issue, I doubt if the FAA would allow anyone who has been denied traditional 3rd class medical a back door to sport pilot.

        • I see your point but nothing says you have to be turned down for the class 3 to opt for the class 3b. Of course you would need to make that decision before the class 3 got rejected. Though once you fail a class 3, then opting for a 3b then letting it expire could be a “back door” so that would have to be handled.

  24. Ed Watson says:

    Great idea. At 82 I may be in line.

  25. The Old Coots Pilots idea does have some merit. Two pilots do make the cockpit work load easier, less likely to miss a critical item (i.e. forgetting to switch the fuel switch, missed radio call about class B airspace, you name it), and less likely to takeoff in questionable conditions. In this day of the NTSB wanting to improve general aviation safety, the class 3B would be one way of reaching safer skies.

  26. Does the increasing number of failed medicals have anything to do with increase in obesity? seems like a lot of people would be a lot healthier if they looked after their weight

    • It does, but it also has a lot to do with advancing medical technology which is ever advancing its ability to detect pathology which is always present. The law of entropy dictates that we are all falling apart from birth. New conditions are discovered or invented all the time, and the ability to detect traces of established ones become ever more advanced. It used to bet that one did not “have” heart disease until they had a frank symptomatic heart attack. Now the blockages may be discovered decades before. The criteria for hypertension has been lowered. Snoring used to be nothing more than a marital complaint. Now it is a basis for grounding. There are no healthy people anymore.

  27. Sounds like a no! How is this different from a safety pilot? Why do we need the extra bureaucracy of yet another level of FAA oversight in areas where they are clearly decades behind medical technology? I very much prefer the AOPA position that the third-class medical should just go away because medical in-flight emergencies are rare, even among light sport pilots, and the third class exam hasn’t demonstrated any addition to flight safety.

  28. TIDE ferrari racing,palm beach, tom davis,jr. says:

    Terrific idea. We have medicals every two years to race our vintage & historic race cars. My 1981 LeMans class winning car will run 200 mph all day long. What’s v1 ? My father gave a 172 in 1961 but the speed was slower than my 16′ Lauterbach racing hydroplane. Numerous friends would love to be able to fly again with out playing games. Get some flying Senators behind you. Form a 501 [c] [3] – Three green lights!!! palm beach tide yacht club.

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