The wide range of opinions in the aviation community is something I continuously marvel at. Take our continuing coverage on the update of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 legislation. The comments vary widely, both in scope and tone.
“After patiently waiting these last few years to hear what the people we trusted have come up with in our defense, it’s utterly insulting to say the least,” says Joe Gutierrez. “It seems to me this kind of decision making could of been made in a couple of weeks, not years. We private pilots never seem to get to the gold mine but we sure get the shaft, often. Not good.”
I’ve never heard that last phrase, but I sure get the picture. Ouch. As a DC-outsider, I’d agree with Joe that this legislation should’ve taken “a couple of weeks, not years.” But thankfully, I’m a DC-outsider.
Not everyone is against Senator James Inhofe’s efforts.
“Senator Inhofe is the best friend of the GA pilots we have in Congress to date,” says CJ. “Carry on sir.”
While opinions do vary on Senator Inhofe — especially as they relate to his other non-aviation stances — it is nice to have a pilot pushing hard to make this happen.
Lest anyone forget, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights (PBR) came about because of Inhofe’s run-in with the FAA after landing on a closed runway. Admitting the original PBR was imperfect legislation, Inhofe came back with PBR2, with third class medical reform attached.
Commenter Chris Libby was fairly incensed by the update: “Unfortunately, Inhofe & (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Mark) Baker have stabbed GA in the back. The only people PBR2 will now benefit are old farts like Baker & Inhofe themselves, who see their medicals on the line in the near future as they get older. Prospective pilots and/or those who have been out of the cockpit for years due to FAA medical bureaucracy will see NO benefit from this ‘reform,’ as it still forces you to go through the arduous third class debacle at least once, and all caveats therein. Everyone should be angered about this and make your voice heard.”
Like Chris, I am disappointed at the twists this legislation has taken. But here’s the thing: It is still moving. Maybe not on a continuous path forward, but it is moving.
Any third class medical reform legislation with an all-of-nothing stance will result in…nothing. Thus the changes.
Unlike Chris, I don’t believe “Baker & Inhofe have stabbed GA in the back.” Being up to their eyeballs in the legislative morass, I believe they see these changes as the best way to alleviate concern and non-support from fellow Congressman. But I’ve never pushed a bill through Congress before, so I could be wrong.
“Two steps forward and one back,” is the more even-keeled view of Wood Eppelsheimer, a retired airline pilot and 45-plus year active GA pilot. “While I understand the surface politics of the 10-year maximum since the last-held FAA medical, if I were a non-flying congressman it would sound like a contradiction of the facts and I would question the legitimacy of the whole concept. The fact is we self evaluate every time we fly, years of light sport and glider flying prove the concept. The 10-year lookback is meaningless. It will only serve to deny some older pilots the same rights the rest of us seek and, in my view, could damage the effort.”
I’d take Wood’s words and go a step further. All pilots — LSA, glider, full-scale GA, CFIs, airline pilots, etc. — have all “self-evaluated” forever. But the accidents that don’t happen — because the flight never took off — don’t show up in any non-accident database.
The range of opinions on this — and any other aviation-related topic — vary widely. Most important in all this is to get engaged, stay engaged and be ready to help when the time is right.