FAA: Ditch The 3rd Class Medical Petition, Denied

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AOPA and EAA are expected to advance their own petition, soon, but an earlier submission from Potomac Airfield's David Wartofsky has received an official FAA response: denied. Wartofsky's petition was posted as a public docket and generated more than 1000 comments. The petition sought to allow pilots flying aircraft under 6,000 pounds max gross weight to operate their aircraft with medical authorization provided by a valid driver's license, only, with no third class medical required. In its clear denial, the wording of the FAA's response may allow some wiggle room for future efforts.

According to the FAA, the agency "does not have evidence to support private pilots operating without medical oversight in aircraft that are considerably more complex" than those used in LSA operations. The FAA says the 6,000-pound limit would include a wide range of aircraft. And the agency has no experience allowing pilots of multi-engine, complex, turboprop, or high-altitude turbojet aircraft to exercise flight privileges without airman medical certification. According to the FAA, "absent more substantive safety evidence," approval of the petition, as written, "may prove unwise." The wording may suggest that a successful petition could still be crafted, provided it proposes different parameters and provides evidence that the FAA might recognize as an established safety record. Wartofsky has posted the full text of the FAA's response. AVweb has made that available here (PDF).