Lobbying Brings Merry Christmas For AOPA

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AOPA celebrated two lobbying milestones this holiday season, one national and one grass-roots. According to AOPA, over 25,000 pilots are now flying under BasicMed, rather than with an FAA aviation medical. “May 1 [2017] marked the implementation of BasicMed, or the biggest shift in aeromedical certification for general aviation pilots since the 1960s,” says AOPA. “Barely six months old, BasicMed has already sparked an interest in medical reform across the globe and contributed to some major aviation milestones, but perhaps its most noteworthy accomplishment is giving thousands of pilots their wings back.” Under BasicMed, pilots who had a valid FAA medical in the last decade are generally eligible to fly aircraft up to 6,000 pounds in exchange for visiting any state-licensed physician every four years and completing an online course every other year.

AOPA is also notching another victory in its war on monopolistic FBO pricing at airports with only a single GA provider. Waukegan National Airport management took notice of AOPA’s accusations against the airport’s sole FBO, Signature Flight Support. “In recent weeks, the airport has been advertising free tiedowns for transient aircraft, along with a pedestrian gate that will allow pilots and passengers direct access to their aircraft instead of having to walk through the FBO,” says AOPA’s Senior Director of Communications, Joe Kildea. Signature has also lowered the price of 100LL self-serve from $6 per gallon to $4.81. “The leadership at Waukegan should be commended for listening to the needs of pilots and taking these steps to ensure the airport better conforms with grant obligations,” says AOPA General Counsel Ken Mead.

Comments (3)

It's too early to call basicmed any kind of victory. It's a flawed program. The addition of having to have a doctors signature, which was added into the bill at the last minute by the insistence of a couple of congressmen, ruined the program. I've been unable to find a physician to sign this form. And that's not due to any physical defect, but it's due to liability fears by the doctors who don't understand the program. The doctors signature wasn't in the original proposal. It is based on education of the airman about when he should self-ground himself, and must hold a valid drivers license. Barbara Boxer was one of the congress members who added that in, and one other I forget the name of. Lobbying should continue to get this program restored to it's original intent and not celebrate it as a victory of any kind. For those pilots who are able to find a physician to sign the form, good for you. But many otherwise healthy pilots are unable to find such a physician to sign, out of liability concerns and lack of knowledge about the program.

Posted by: Richard May | December 30, 2017 8:09 AM    Report this comment

When is AOPA going to try to get us a owner maintained category like in Canada for legacy aircraft? Talk about making flying more affordable for the masses???

Posted by: Steven Untiet | January 2, 2018 1:50 PM    Report this comment

Richard, I am with AOPA and we have worked with a number of pilots on locating a physician. Call me anytime at 202-210-3250.

Posted by: Joe Kildea | January 2, 2018 1:53 PM    Report this comment

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