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Thread: 3rd Class Medical Reform in January 2015? ...crumbling of the proverbial Berlin Wall, FAA style

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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    3rd Class Medical Reform in January 2015? ...crumbling of the proverbial Berlin Wall, FAA style

    This would be terrific news! Mark Baker provides some insight into what may happen to the 3rd Class Medical...sooner rather than later...
    http://generalaviationnews.com/2014/11/11/expect-third-class-medical-reform-in-2015/?utm_source=The+Pulse+Subscribers&utm_campaign=a20 894f311-TP2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_62525a9780-a20894f311-57277

    Randy

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    cubdriver2's Avatar
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    My medical expires in Feb I hope they hurry up

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    180Marty's Avatar
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    My medical expires in Feb I hope they hurry up
    Mine too!!!

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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Expect third class medical reform in 2015
    NOVEMBER 11, 2014 BY JANICE WOOD 8 COMMENTS


    At the last Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) regional fly-in of the year, pilots clamored to sign a giant petition calling for reform of the third class medical.


    It’s a scene that’s been played out at all the AOPA events throughout the year, association officials say, reporting that more than 10,000 signatures have been garnered since the petition first appeared at SUN ’n FUN. The panel that was at McKinnon St. Simons Island Airport (KSSI) in Georgia was the 10th panel.


    “It’s been really popular,” said Steve Hedges, AOPA’s spokesman.


    He added the association will keep bringing the panels to fly-ins and airshows “until the third class medical reform goes through.”






    The quest for third class medical reform was on the top of the agenda for AOPA President Mark Baker’s Pilot Town Hall meeting, which closed out the Nov. 8 fly-in.


    When Baker took over as president of the association in August 2013, a petition for the third class medical reform, submitted by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association in March 2012, had been sitting on a desk somewhere in the FAA offices with virtually no movement. The petition asks the FAA to reduce the requirements for a third-class medical certificate, allowing certain types of flying with a valid driver’s license, much like the Sport Pilot license.


    “As a business guy, I get impatient,” Baker said. “I don’t mind yes, I don’t mind no — I don’t even mind heck no — but I really can’t stand when people ignore us. That was just unacceptable.”


    Unable to get any traction at the FAA, GA’s advocacy groups went to Congress and found support there. The Pilot Protection Act was first introduced in the House of Representatives, with a companion bill in the Senate introduced earlier this year. The House bill now has 170 co-sponsors and Baker reported that there’s a push on to get that number up to 218 — or more — so the legislation can be pushed through to a final vote.


    “Meanwhile, the FAA doesn’t want Congress to tell them what to do, so they started moving on the petition,” he reported.


    It also didn’t hurt that the pilot community made 21,700 calls, emails and letters to elected officials in support of the change, he noted.


    The FAA has worked up its own revision to the third class medical, which is now at the Department of Transportation for review.


    “It’s supposed to move out of there any day now,” Baker said. “Then it will be on to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its review.”


    OMB has 30 days to issue its report, so AOPA officials are hopeful the FAA plan will become public in January.


    “We don’t know what exactly is in the rule,” Baker reported to the crowd at KSSI. “But here is what I think: We will get something done in 2015. Some things will change for the better as far as third class medical reform.


    While there are many who oppose the reform — including the American Medical Association — Baker noted that there is no evidence that the third-class medical enhances safety.


    “The third-class medical is just a one-hour guarantee of a pilot’s health,” he said. “There are no incapacitation issues and there is no math from anywhere to show that it improves safety.”


    Meanwhile, AOPA officials urge pilots to continue signing the giant petitions at fly-ins and airshows until medical reform is reality.


    “I’ve pointed out to Michael Whitaker, who is the FAA Deputy Administrator, that it will soon be his wallpaper in Washington, D.C.”


    Please share:
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    Lowrider
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    My take...we need to stop sitting on our hands waiting for FAA and get back at the letters, emails and phone calls to your legislative reps. Last time I checked, 2015 is 12 months long and the public comment period on the proposed rule making could easily be 9 months long if they want to drag it out...then 3 months to staff their response. Let's not loose any momentum we may have!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    Yeah John Barrow lost his reelection but I fully intend to stay on his replacements behind all year long. I have not yet begun to be a PITA to my new Congressman

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    Lowrider
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    The following was pulled from the Alaska Outdoors Forum posted today, 1 Dec 14:


    Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R. 3708, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act. I am a cosponsor of this legislation, and appreciate having the benefits of your thoughts.

    On December 11, 2013, Representatives Todd Rokita (R-IN) introduced H.R. 3708 in order to expand the exemption for pilots to operate under certain conditions without a Third Class Medical Certificate. Specifically, the bill would significantly revise the Third Class Medical by replacing the compulsory medical examination with a requirement that pilots possess a valid driver's license as proof of health. The bill would limit pilots to flying with no more than five passengers, not above 14,000 feet and at no more than 250 knots, and in aircraft that have a maximum takeoff weight of 6,000 lbs. The flights would be limited to visual flight rules only, and must be within the United States. Compensation for flights would also be prohibited.

    General aviation is the only mode of transportation that requires a medical examination to operate a vehicle for private and recreational use. By way of comparison, large sport utility vehicles are larger than the small aircraft that would be operated with proof of a valid driver's license under this legislation. The Third Class Medical takes the decision of whether a person is fit to fly out of the hands of the pilot and his physician, and places it in the hands of a bureaucratic FAA doctor. This bill eliminates a duplicative and unnecessary medical certification regulation that drives up costs for pilots, and I am proud to be a cosponsor.

    H.R. 3708 has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, where I am a senior member. I will work to ensure this legislation passes through the Committee, so that it can be considered on the House Floor.


    Once again, thank you for expressing your views on this issue. If you haven't already, I would encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at http://donyoung.house.gov/Forms/EmailSignup/ and my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/RepDonYoung. Doing so will allow me to provide you with updates on this and other important issues. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact me.
    Sincerely,
    (signed)
    DON YOUNG
    Congressman for All Alaska
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    phdigger123's Avatar
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    Out of curiosity, are there any updates on the 3rd class medical reform?

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    85Mike's Avatar
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    I'm sitting on the razors edge of selling my 185 or waiting for this reform legislation. Next few weeks will tell the tale.
    Mike

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    I'll check on the filing status of PBR-2, ought to be a green light with the leadership changes.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Lowrider
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    Yeah...good luck finding adult leadership in D.C.

    I'm just listening to the State Dept. spokeswoman explain why they don't take away citizenship of Americans who are fighting for ISIS while we're releasing foreign combatants out of GITMO so they can rejoin the fight in Yeman.

    This 3rd Class Med mess should have been resolved 2 years ago if we had true leaders in the FAA.

    Rant off.....
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    I was talking about the Senate leadership change. I have no faith in a resolution comming from the FAA.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Lowrider
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    So was I.

    FYI:





    January 13, 2015
    By Elizabeth A Tennyson


    It has been nearly seven months since the Department of Transportation (DOT) began a planned 90-day review of the FAA’s proposed medical reform rule, and AOPA members and the general aviation community are frustrated by the department’s inaction, AOPA President Mark Baker told Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx in a strongly worded letter sent Jan. 13.
    “Proposed medical reforms, which simply seek to expand on a standard used successfully for a decade, have been under review for three years, making it incomprehensible to many in the aviation community that no action has yet been taken,” Baker wrote.










    The standard, which allows some pilots to fly recreationally without obtaining a third class medical certificate, has been in use since 2004 when the FAA adopted the sport pilot rule.
    “The evidence is clear: Allowing pilots to fly without going through the third-class medical process is safe,” Baker wrote. “The FAA’s proposed rule would simply extend this standard to more pilots flying more types of small aircraft.”
    The proposed medical reforms have the support of more than 180 bipartisan members of Congress, who co-sponsored legislation known as the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act that would have allowed thousands more pilots to fly without obtaining a medical certificate. Major aviation organizations and type clubs also have publicly expressed support for reforms as have the Flying Physicians Association and the AOPA Medical Advisory Board, whose members are both doctors and pilots.
    Allowing reform to move forward also will save time and money for pilots and the federal government while bolstering general aviation—an industry that contributes $150 billion to the economy and supports more than $1.2 million jobs but is struggling, in part because of the high cost of flying.
    AOPA estimates that medical reform, as proposed under the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, would save pilots $24.6 million every year. A conservative estimate also shows an annual savings of $1.9 million to the FAA.
    Because third class medical exams take place only once every two or five years depending on age, they are no substitute for an honest relationship with a primary care doctor and the self-assessment that pilots must conduct before every flight. To help pilots accurately assess their fitness to fly, AOPA is developing a comprehensive online educational course, which will be offered free to the public.
    Baker also noted that even without a medical certification requirement pilots must undergo an evaluation with a flight instructor at least every two years to act as pilot in command. During these flight reviews, instructors evaluate the pilot’s cognitive condition, as well as his or her physical ability to safely operate an aircraft. If either is in question they do not endorse the pilot.
    “Our members, the general aviation industry, members of Congress, and the American people are frustrated with our government’s inability to move efficiently and effectively on issues that will improve safety, save money, and help create jobs and support local economies,” Baker wrote. “On behalf of our members and the aviation community we must ask, when will the Department of Transportation allow third-class medical reform to move forward? The time to take action is now.”
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

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    Dose'nt do a bit of good if the bill can't get a committee hearing... Now the primary sponsors and leadership are of the same political Party, makes a big difference. Remember they have been in session under this leadership about 10 days.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    After all this time has gone by with no action, I'd be surprised to see any real change in 3rd class medical requirements. If they do make any positive changes, I'll bet they'll be pretty minor-- maybe increase the age limit for the 5 year medicals or similar. But whatever small changes are made will be promoted by the FAA as ground-breaking, and AOPA (and whoever) will declare victory.
    I hope they prove me wrong, I'll be glad to eat crow on this one. But I'm not gonna hold my breath.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    After all this time has gone by with no action, I'd be surprised to see any real change in 3rd class medical requirements. If they do make any positive changes, I'll bet they'll be pretty minor-- maybe increase the age limit for the 5 year medicals or similar. But whatever small changes are made will be promoted by the FAA as ground-breaking, and AOPA (and whoever) will declare victory.
    I hope they prove me wrong, I'll be glad to eat crow on this one. But I'm not gonna hold my breath.
    My thoughts exactly.I owe you a beer hotrod.

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    Marty57's Avatar
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    Hotrod180,
    I don't see the AOPA applauding the FAA unless the changes made are significant. I have heard Mark Baker speak on this topic and there is no way the members of AOPA would accept something as little as raising the age for 5 year medicals as the only changes. We need to keep on Congress to make the changes and take to decision out of the hands of the FAA. Please don't give up the fight or give the FAA any ideas about us accepting something less than what is proposed. That would be a very dangerous message to send the FAA.

    Marty57
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    The more the FAA stalls the better chance of getting a real change make in Congress.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Bigger things have happened in congress under the Obama administration. It kind of reminds me of the wolf problem in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Our congressional members were able to get a law passed and signed off by O that removed the wolf from the endangered species act in MT and ID and with the provision that the animal activists could not challenge it in court. After years of lies and litigation by the activists the people with common sense put enough pressure on our members to make this happen.

    Wyoming took a different path and they're still having problems with the activists and wolves.

    So I think this is small stuff compared to what I described above. But I believe congressional action is the only sure route. Hoping and waiting on the FAA to fulfill a halfhearted promise they may have made is foolish. Remember, it took them two years to even acknowledge that AOPA and EAA had even asked about 3rd class reform.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

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    Eddie Foy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty57 View Post
    Hotrod180,
    I don't see the AOPA applauding the FAA unless the changes made are significant. I have heard Mark Baker speak on this topic and there is no way the members of AOPA would accept something as little as raising the age for 5 year medicals as the only changes. We need to keep on Congress to make the changes and take to decision out of the hands of the FAA. Please don't give up the fight or give the FAA any ideas about us accepting something less than what is proposed. That would be a very dangerous message to send the FAA.

    Marty57
    Hear, Hear!

    Eddie

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    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    I hope this happens but frankly I'm surprised we even have LSA Sport pilot. Maybe when the real JV squad leaves.

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    Lowrider
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinner2 View Post
    Bigger things have happened in congress under the Obama administration. It kind of reminds me of the wolf problem in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Our congressional members were able to get a law passed and signed off by O that removed the wolf from the endangered species act in MT and ID and with the provision that the animal activists could not challenge it in court. After years of lies and litigation by the activists the people with common sense put enough pressure on our members to make this happen.

    Wyoming took a different path and they're still having problems with the activists and wolves.

    So I think this is small stuff compared to what I described above. But I believe congressional action is the only sure route. Hoping and waiting on the FAA to fulfill a halfhearted promise they may have made is foolish. Remember, it took them two years to even acknowledge that AOPA and EAA had even asked about 3rd class reform.
    Agree...I think it's time for AOPA/EAA to file a suit in federal court...a friendly court for sure.

    BTW, #2 son and I went wolf hunting this morning...saw tracks and a ripped apart yearling moose that wasn't eaten but no wolves. That was 3 miles as the Cub flies from my house and it sure was cold and wet out there.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    More info from AOPA:



    January 22, 2015
    By Elizabeth A Tennyson


    The Department of Transportation has announced plans to complete its review of proposed third class medical reforms on Jan. 26, allowing the FAA’s draft rule to move to the Office of Management and Budget for another round of mandatory reviews. Meanwhile, AOPA has pledged to keep pushing for legislation to relieve thousands of pilots of the third class medical requirement.
    “The general aviation community has waited too long for medical reform,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “We will keep pushing for action on every possible front, including seeking a legislative solution with help from our friends in Congress.
    “Last year’s General Aviation Pilot Protection Act won the support of more than 180 bipartisan co-sponsors in the House and Senate. Lawmakers recognize how important this issue is for the future of general aviation. We expect to new legislation to be introduced this year, and if we can’t get action on standalone legislation, we will do all we can to get it included in the FAA reauthorization bill.”










    In the meantime, the proposed FAA rule to reform the third class medical process is scheduled to leave the DOT nearly seven months after the department received it for a mandatory review that was scheduled to take no more than 90 days. Once the DOT releases the proposed rule, it will move to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which will also have 90 days to review and comment. Only after that review is complete will the FAA publish the notice of proposed rulemaking for public review.
    Although DOT announced the schedule on its website, there is no guarantee that the rule will move out of the department as planned. The OMB review could also take longer than the scheduled 90 days.
    “We hope the process will finally move forward,” said Baker. “Reforming the third class medical certification system will save pilots and the FAA money, boost general aviation, and stimulate economic activity. These are all good things, and the government should be moving swiftly to make it happen, not dragging its feet.”
    Throughout the process, AOPA and others have been pushing regulators to move reform ahead.
    “Proposed medical reforms, which simply seek to expand on a standard used successfully for a decade, have been under review for three years, making it incomprehensible to many in the aviation community that no action has yet been taken,” Baker wrote in a Jan. 13 letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.
    The standard, which allows some pilots to fly recreationally without obtaining a third class medical certificate, has been in use since 2004 when the FAA adopted the sport pilot rule. Since then, it has proved to be safe and effective, and expanded reform has won widespread support.
    Major aviation organizations and type clubs have publicly expressed support for reforms as have the Flying Physicians Association and the AOPA Medical Advisory Board, whose members are both doctors and pilots.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Folks, please keep working on your Senators and Representatives. The FAA proposal is likely to fall far short of what we want, and far short of the proposed legislation in the Congress. I haven't given up on Congress, and I urge you to continue your letter writing and phone calls to your Senators and Representatives.

    I fear that we will be in for a major disappointment in the final wording of the FAA's reform. The FAA is planning to drag this out, watering it down so as to effect minimal change. This will preserve their bureaucracy, their jobs and will make many AME's very happy.

    Randy

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    I wonder what the thinking on this regulation is for the manufacturers of LSA aircraft. If they have spent significant capitol developing aircraft to fit into this specific rule (LSA), are they on board the third class reform or would they sooner oppose it to protect their investment. In talking with several manufacturers at Sebring it seemed to me that they are hoping or at least expecting a much watered down version of the original proposal that will keep their product in demand. I'm not sure I would blame them for being not real happy with a change that would essentially kill LSA aircraft. Don't get me wrong, from my perspective I support the change but can't help but think what it will do to say CubCrafters for example after they have spent so much developing a plane to fit into the LSA market. I haven't read anything on where the manufacturers stand on this.

  27. #27
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bearhawk Builder View Post
    I wonder what the thinking on this regulation is for the manufacturers of LSA aircraft. If they have spent significant capitol developing aircraft to fit into this specific rule (LSA), are they on board the third class reform or would they sooner oppose it to protect their investment. In talking with several manufacturers at Sebring it seemed to me that they are hoping or at least expecting a much watered down version of the original proposal that will keep their product in demand. I'm not sure I would blame them for being not real happy with a change that would essentially kill LSA aircraft. Don't get me wrong, from my perspective I support the change but can't help but think what it will do to say CubCrafters for example after they have spent so much developing a plane to fit into the LSA market. I haven't read anything on where the manufacturers stand on this.
    I am very aware that the LSA industry has been lobbying hard AGAINST this legislation, and with the FAA. So have the Civil Aviation Medical Association (AME's). Both have much to lose should significant and meaningful changes be made.

    Randy

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    centmont's Avatar
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    I am very aware that the LSA industry has been lobbying hard AGAINST this legislation
    Randy, do you have evidence of this, or is this speculation? I realize that one would assume it were true... but that is a serious accusation and should not be made without evidence. I'm in the "LSA industry"; I'm not aware of such lobbying, nor would I or my peers stand for it.... at least within my small universe. Ralph
    "Entropy just isn't the same anymore"
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    Purely application of common sense on my part but I'd bet those who will lose money are opposed to the 3rd Class reform. I have no evidence of this but then I haven't looked for it either. It only stands to reason that those vested in the LSA market, AME's and FAA would not support expansion of the "sport pilot" privilege to larger aircraft. That's why I think it's time for AOPA/EAA to find some good pro bono pilot/lawyers and file something like a restraint of trade suit...it certainly doesn't take years for FAA to move an initiative thru the bureaucratic gauntlet if they want it to move forward.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  30. #30
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by centmont View Post
    Randy, do you have evidence of this, or is this speculation? I realize that one would assume it were true... but that is a serious accusation and should not be made without evidence. I'm in the "LSA industry"; I'm not aware of such lobbying, nor would I or my peers stand for it.... at least within my small universe. Ralph
    Ralph, thanks for the note, and for your concern. I was at my AME recertification at Washington DC last August and was directly informed, by a person who is in the leadership circle of the Federal Air Surgeon, that the "CAMA and several within the light sport aviation manufacturing industry are not supportive of the Congressional initiative" to significantly reform the Third Class medical certification process. I was one of several AME's who were having this discussion. Their were well over 100 AME's attending the recertification course, and the vast majority were clearly opposed to changes in the Third Class medical. The point was being made by this FAA leader that we, as AME's, need not to fear reform as there were a number of groups, such as these and the American Medical Association, who opposed the changes.

    Do I know which companies are involved in the lobbying effort? No. Do I have reason to believe this gentleman? Absolutely. I apologize if mentioning this stepped on anyone's toes. For example, I know there are many AME's who favor changes, and I have no doubt that there are those in the LSA industry who want aviation to flourish, regardless of the impact on their industry.

    Randy

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    In my mind, in addition to the reasons we all have to remove the 3rd class, the LSA manufacturers should be pleased since their market would be opened up to an expanded customer base. Perhaps they would then not be restricted to a lower gross weight than that which some customers desire? Their fertile minds should be thinking "How can I make this opportunity more productive?". If they are not thinking in a possitive direction, they will not survive anyway.
    N1PA

  32. #32
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    Thanks Randy. This odd world of the blogasphere operates under its own set of rules. Once someone states a supposition as a fact...it becomes a fact. Verbiage means everything. It would be easy to assume there are LSA Industry folks opposed to the 3rd class change, and there may well be some who "aren't supportive", but I'm not aware of any who are "lobbying hard against the legislation", and I don't believe (guilty of supposition here myself), the greater LSA industry would tolerate that behavior.

    Peace my brother.... and thanks so much for your considerable contributions to this community. We are all helped by your work, amazing enthusiasm, and we all need to follow your leads when it comes to these issues. Highest regards, Ralph
    "Entropy just isn't the same anymore"
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    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    My opinion is removing the 3rd class medical will bring more people out to fly and buy airplanes of all types. I'm skeptical of washington doing anything but I continue to write my representatives.

  34. #34
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    If I were to write my Congressman and Senators, what would I need to ask them to do? Can anyone post the bills I need them to support?

  35. #35
    Lowrider
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    Clayton,

    Please do!!

    It's H.R. 3708, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act.

    There are a number of posts here regarding the bill that will give you a background to reference.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  36. #36
    Lowrider
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    Medical reform legislation introduced in House and Senate
    A group of powerful senators and congressmen have introduced new legislation in both houses of Congress that would allow thousands of pilots to fly without going through the costly and time-consuming third class medical process and would offer new protections for GA pilots.

    For some reason the AOPA site won't respond to get the entire story...maybe later or someone else can retrieve details.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  37. #37
    Lowrider
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    Got it...

    The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 would allow pilots flying recreationally in a wide range of aircraft to no longer obtain a third class medical certificate. The new bill would allow private pilots to make noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats.

    A group of powerful senators and representatives has introduced new legislation in both houses of Congress that would allow thousands of pilots to fly without going through the costly and time-consuming third class medical process and would offer new protections for general aviation pilots.
    Under the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, pilots flying recreationally in a wide range of aircraft would no longer need to obtain a third class medical certificate. The new bill would allow private pilots to make noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with up to six seats. Pilots also would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots. Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 also includes a provision to ensure that pilots can fly under the new rules even if the FAA fails to comply with the bill’s provisions 180 days after enactment.
    “The introduction of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is great news for the general aviation community and we are grateful to Sens. Jim Inhofe and Joe Manchin, and Reps. Sam Graves and Dan Lipinski, and all their bipartisan colleagues for putting forward this legislation that would do so much to help grow and support GA activity,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Pilots have already waited too long for medical reform, so we’re particularly pleased to see it included in this important measure. Third class medical reform is our top legislative priority, and we will actively work with Congress to build support for this legislation that is so vital to the future of general aviation.”





    In addition to third class medical reform, the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2, which was introduced in the House (H.R. 1062) and the Senate (S.571) late on Feb. 25, would protect GA pilots from liability on charitable flights, extend legal protections to FAA representatives, and require FAA contractors to provide information under Freedom of Information Act requests.
    "Pilot's Bill of Rights being signed into law in 2012 was a major victory for the aviation community, but I promised we would not stop there,” said Inhofe. “Today, I am taking the next step in keeping that promise by introducing the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2, which expands upon necessary reforms and continues to cut red tape hampering the general aviation community. Among many things, the legislation most importantly expands the FAA's existing third-class medical exemption for light sport aircraft to cover most recreational airmen. This will protect the rights of thousands of qualified airmen who would otherwise be grounded due to excessive medical regulation technicalities; this reform is of great need. It is an honor to have the strong bipartisan support of my colleagues in Congress and of those in the general aviation community, and I am committed to shepherding this legislation through the 114th Congress.”
    In addition to Inhofe, the Senate legislation was introduced by Sens. Manchin, John Boozman (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Angus King (I-Maine), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.). Both Inhofe and Manchin are AOPA members and Senate GA Caucus members, while Boozman serves as the Senate GA Caucus co-chair. Heitkamp, Moran, Roberts, Shaheen, Tester, and Wicker are also Senate GA Caucus members.
    The legislation in the House was introduced by Reps. Graves, Lipinski, Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). Graves, Rokita, and Peterson are all AOPA members and House GA Caucus members, while Lipinski is a GA Caucus member who has been a stalwart GA supporter.
    “As a pilot, I know how important the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, as signed into law in 2012, has been in establishing needed protections for pilots when dealing with FAA enforcement proceedings,” said Graves. “This new bill improves upon those protections and expands the rights afforded to pilots and other certificate holders,” he continued. “I fully expect this bill to receive the same strong, bipartisan support in Congress and across the general aviation community.”
    The language in the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 regarding third class medical reform is identical to that in a new General Aviation Pilot Protection Act bill also introduced on Feb. 25 in the House (H.R. 1086) and Senate (S.573). Reps. Rokita, Graves, Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), Peterson, Lipinski, Bill Flores (R-Texas), Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), and Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) introduced the House measure. Like Graves and Rokita, Pearce, Flores, and Hanna are AOPA members.
    In the Senate, the new General Aviation Pilot Protection Act legislation was introduced by Sens. Boozman, Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who chairs the Senate Aviation Subcommittee, Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Inhofe, Moran, and Roberts.
    Rokita and Boozman led the way on third class medical reform when they introduced similar legislation in the previous Congress. That earlier General Aviation Pilot Protection Act gained more than 180 bipartisan cosponsors in the House and Senate before it expired at the end of the congressional session.
    “It’s clear that third class medical reform has widespread bipartisan support in Congress as well as in the general aviation community,” said Baker. “We appreciate the steadfast way in which Rep. Rokita and Sen. Boozman and their colleagues are pursuing this issue on behalf of GA pilots.”
    In addition to medical reform, Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 includes provisions to improve the notice to airman (notam) program by establishing a rating system to prioritize notams, including TFRs, and creating a repository to maintain the information in a way that makes it accessible to the public. That system would be considered the sole source location for pilots to check for notams. The legislation also would protect pilots from enforcement action if a notam is not included in the repository and prohibit enforcement of notam violations if the FAA hasn’t finished the system within six months of the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 being enacted while providing an exception for national security.
    To help pilots facing enforcement actions, Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 would ensure that data collected by contract towers and other outsourced FAA programs is subject to the same Freedom of Information Act requirements as data from the FAA itself. The exception would be aviation safety action reports, which are designed to prevent accidents by encouraging voluntary reporting of safety concerns by employees of FAA contractors.
    The measure also includes liability protections for representatives of the FAA working on behalf of the agency such as aviation medical examiners as well as nonprofit volunteer pilot organizations and volunteer pilots who fly for public benefit. The bill also would protect pilot certificates by preventing the FAA from requiring a re-examination of a covered certificate holder without clear evidence of wrongdoing or unsafe behavior.
    AOPA was joined by other GA organizations in immediately sending letters of support for Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 to the lawmakers who introduced the legislation in the Senate and the House. The letters emphasized the importance of the legislation to the GA industry and thanked the legislators for leading the way on important reforms.
    “The bill and its provisions will help ensure the future sustainability of our industry and its valuable contributions to the nation’s economy and transportation system,” the letters said.
    In addition to AOPA’s Baker, the letters were signed by the leaders of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Flying Physicians Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, National Agricultural Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, and National Business Aviation Association.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

    There are no new ways to crash an airplane no matter how hard you may try!

  38. #38
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    Excellent news. This is only way to get the job done IMO. And it is great to see both R's and D's co-sponsoring it.

    If this bill passes it will do much more for pilots than just change the Third Class medical too. A win-win.
    "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything." Wyatt Earp

  39. #39
    Dano Bardwell's Avatar
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    So how long till they vote on it ???????

  40. #40

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    My wife owns an Ercoupe and this news has the folks over at the Ercoupe forum really excited. We aren't alone in pushing for this.

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