While U.S. alphabet associations like the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) seek to have the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allow private pilots use a driver’s license and medical self-assessment in lieu of the 3rd Class Medical Certificate issued through FAA approved Airman Medical Examiners Australian Civil Aviation Authorities have gone ahead and made this change.
In a ruling by the Australian CASA (Civial Aviation Safety Authority) flight medical standards for private and recreational pilots have been modified to allow pilots to self certify their medical fitness online allowing them to fly aircraft with up to a 3,200 pound maximum weight.
The move was taken to make it easier for pilots to maintain their medicals without reducing safety. While pilots will still be required to get a medical assessment every two years (one year for pilots 65 and over) but those medical assessments are based on driver’s license standards but can only carry one passenger who has been informed of the self certification of the pilot’s medical fitness.
Other limits under the new rule are day VFR flights only, 180hp or less, 3,200 #s or less and a 10,000 above sea level altitude limitation.
Here in the USA the AOPA and EAA are petitioning the FAA for similar relaxation of 3rd class medical standards, but have incurred some opposition from the LSA industry segment. LSA manufacturers fear that the ability to fly 4 seat 180hp aircraft without a medical certificate will hurt their sales significantly.
The truth is we need to do everything we can to change the general aviation environment to encourage more flying and more student pilot starts or we may be watching a dying industry. I am in favor of anything that encourages more general aviation activity before it is too late.
What do you think?
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