House Bill Pushes Driver's License Medical

Rule would reduce restrictions on many pilots.

private pilots driver's license medical

private pilots driver's license medical

The fight against the third class medical requirement has taken a new turn. Republican Congressmen Todd Rokita and Sam Graves introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would allow private pilots who meet certain requirements to legally fly with a valid driver's license instead of a third class medical certificate. While pilots have been able to fly recreationally without an FAA issued medical certificate under the light sport rules, private pilots have previously been required to hold, at minimum, a third class certificate to fly Part 23 airplanes.

The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2013 would apply to pilots who fly in VFR flight conditions at speeds below 250 knots and altitudes below 14,000 feet. The pilot would also be restricted from flying for compensation or hire, and could only fly in airplanes with six or fewer seats and a gross weight of 6,000 pounds or less.

If the bill passes through Congress, the FAA would have 180 days to revise the medical certification regulations. Also included is a mandate for the FAA to send a report to Congress five years after the implementation of the new rule detailing its impact.

Alphabet groups, including AOPA and GAMA, have been encouraging the FAA to create an exemption to the third class medical requirement. Despite 16,000 comments in favor of the exemption during the comment period, the FAA has yet to make any decisions regarding the request.

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