AOPA, EAA Push for Driver’s License Medical Expansion

AOPA and EAA announced a proposal over the weekend that, if successful, could extend the driver's license medical standard to a much larger pool of recreational pilots.

The standard, currently available only to sport pilots, allows recreational fliers to use a valid driver’s license as proof of medical eligibility, as long as their most recent application for an FAA third-class medical was not denied, revoked, withdrawn or suspended.

The new proposal would extend that standard to recreational, private, commercial or airline transport pilots who fly for recreation only.

“We have more than five years’ experience now with the sport pilot certificate and the driver’s license medical standard,” said EAA president Rod Hightower. “In that time, we have not had a single medical incapacitation accident. The standard works.”

Under the proposal, certain aircraft, passenger and other limitations would apply. The standard could only be used by those flying daytime VFR in aircraft with 180 hp or less, fixed gear and no more than four seats. Pilots would also be restricted to carrying no more than one passenger.

In order to use the driver’s license standard, pilots would be required to complete a course covering aeromedical issues that could compromise aviation safety.

EAA and AOPA are in the process of finalizing their request for the exemption, which they plan to file with the FAA early next year.


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