Driver's License Medical Urged For Rec Pilots

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The door was opened with the sport pilot regulations and now AOPA is asking that recreational certificate holders also be allowed to forego flight medicals. AOPA has formally applied to the Department of Transportation to make the medical standard for rec pilots the same as for sport pilots, namely a valid state driver's license. AOPA maintains that medical causes account for less than 2 percent of accidents and most of those wouldn't have been detected on a flight medical. The FAA, perhaps unwittingly, is helping AOPA's cause. In the sport pilot final rule, the agency renders an opinion similar to that of AOPA's. "Medical conditions are not a significant cause of accidents in aircraft that are used for sport and recreational purposes," the rule reads. When the recreational pilot category was being created in the 1970s, the FAA rejected the relaxation of medical standards then lobbied for by AOPA.