By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The FAA will extend its comment period on a proposal to make it easier to fly without a third-class medical certificate, EAA and AOPA said on Monday. Pilots now have another 70 days -- until September 14 -- to add to the more than 14,000 comments that were already filed in the initial 20-day comment period. The proposal would allow pilots to fly some GA aircraft without a third-class medical if they take an online course, self-certify, and hold a driver's license. AOPA and EAA requested the extension, noting that the exemption would likely affect more than 39,000 pilots and impact the operations of up to 114,333 single-engine piston airplanes.
"The number of comments received by the FAA to the medical exemption request is nearly unprecedented for any aviation issue," said Doug Macnair, EAA's vice president of government relations. However, he said, the short comment period prevented some people from filing comments before the deadline. "The extension will supply additional time for people to support this important measure for the future of aviation," Macnair said. Last month, AVweb's Mary Grady spoke with Kristine Hartzell, AOPA's manager of regulatory affairs, for more details about the plan and the strategy behind it. Click here for a link to that podcast and for more details about the proposal and how to file comments.