Senate FAA Reauthorization Bill Emerges

ATC privatization is gone, but several provisions GA groups have championed, like third-class medical reform, remain.

FAA Reauthorization
The Senate's FAA reauthorization bill does not include privatizing ATC.iStock

The Senate has introduced a bill that scraps a House plan to privatize ATC but includes lots of other provisions, including third-class medical reform, new aircraft certification rules and a requirement that UAV pilots pass a written exam covering aviation regulations.

The bill’s third-class medical reform language is being championed by AOPA and the Experimental Aircraft Association as part of the so-called Pilots Bill of Rights 2. It would allow tens of thousands of private pilots to continue flying without ever having to receive an FAA medical exam.

The legislation also sets aside money for NextGen modernization, Part 23 aircraft certification reform and the transition to unleaded fuels for piston airplanes. General aviation groups applauded the bill for retaining many popular reforms, seen as vital for the future of general aviation, while doing away with ATC privatization, which many charged would have benefited major airlines and opened the door for future GA user fees.