AVmail: May 7, 2012
Letter of the Week: The Third Class Medical Question
Regarding your "Question of the Week": Perhaps the reason that more have not commented in favor is that not as many people agree that it is necessarily a good idea. The cost of a medical is peanuts compared to the cost of actually flying an airplane. So what does extending the exemption accomplish? It allows people with medical issues to fly larger aircraft and carry more passengers. Getting a medical exam every two years is a small price to pay for the privilege of flying. It may also just save your life, or that of your passengers.
If you really want to increase the pilot population, increase the maximum gross weight limit for LSAs to allow the use of legacy aircraft such as the Cessna 150/152. An outright increase would be great, but even an exemption for flight training and the check ride would help. Potential LSA customers could learn to fly more inexpensively, as well as increasing the availability of training aircraft for them.
LSA manufacturers may not like competing with legacy aircraft for sales, but in the long run, more pilots means more potential customers. I'm sure the 150/152 cannibalized some sales of the 172, but in the long run, it probably helped by getting more people into aviation.
I would support your first option, complete removal of the third class medical. As the 64-year-old pilot of a Cherokee 6, given the way these things usually go, I will most likely be dead or too old to fly by the time that step gets taken. The current proposal doesn't help me any.
I read AVweb and AOPA almost every day, and I had no clue we could be commenting on the proposal. I think it is a giant step in the right direction.
I did comment, but I said it was too restrictive. I have a wife and one son at home. Why restrict to one pax? Doesn't help me.
The arbitrary limits are ridiculuous. I have two Bellancas, one with a 180-horsepower engine and the other with 230. They both fly exactly the same. How stupid is the idea that I could fly one but not the other?
Haven't commented because I don't know where/how to, and haven't investigated because I know there's no way in hell the FAA is going to give in on this. The public wants us regulated. There's no upside for the government in eliminating it.
We have until the last week of May to comment. There's still time.
Tell me how, and I will. I think it's a good idea.
Go to Regulations.gov and put FAA-2012-0350 in the search bar.
Thanks to everyone who wrote us about this. We couldn't run all the letters.