The FAA has proposed a new rule that would require commercial hot air balloon pilots to hold second-class medical certificates when operating for hire. As the regulations stand, balloon pilots are exempt from the medical requirement under 14 CFR 61.3(c)(2)(vi). According to the agency, the change will address the directive laid out in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 to revise medical certification standards for commercial balloon pilots along with an NTSB recommendation to remove the exemption.
“Balloon pilots are responsible for the safety of their passengers,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “This proposed rule would ensure that balloon pilots meet the same medical requirements as pilots of other commercial aircraft.”
As the proposed rule (PDF) is currently written, the new requirement would not apply to pilots conducting flight training in balloons. The agency is expected to publish the official draft of the rule in the Federal Register this month. Once published, the rule will be open for public comment for 60 days.