Time To Ditch FAA Medicals?

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Does it make sense that pilots need a third-class medical to fly even the smallest GA aircraft, while drivers can get a license to drive vehicles that weigh much more without a checkup? David Wartofsky doesn't think it makes sense at all, and he has petitioned the FAA to reconsider its rule. Wartofsky, the owner of Potomac Airfield, near Washington, D.C., is used to taking on the government bureaucracy and seems ready for a new challenge. He suggests the FARs should be changed to require all pilots to have a valid driver's license, but no medical requirement for piloting an aircraft less than 6,000 pounds max gross weight. "People are in more danger from passing vehicles on the road, than small aircraft passing overhead," says Wartofsky. He has posted his petition to the FAA online, and encourages supporters to submit comments to the FAA docket.

In his petition to the FAA, Wartofsky adds that a comparison of liability insurance premiums for small private aircraft versus automobiles "attests unemotionally and non-politically that the losses, the premiums charged for those losses, and therefore the actual risks, are comparable, if not favoring the small private aircraft." He adds that pilots know their own limitations well enough that they will "hang up their spurs" on their own. "They are not suicidal," he says. "Nor do they have any desire to endanger their passengers or anyone else." To read the full text of Wartofsky's petition, and add your own comments to the FAA, visit his web site.

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