EAA and AOPA are jointly proposing a plan to the FAA to allow so-called “driver’s license medicals” to be used for some pilots who now must maintain a minimum third-class medical. In a joint announcement at AOPA Summit on Saturday, AOPA President Craig Fuller and EAA President Rod Hightower said the proposal will be submitted early next year and will allow pilots flying purely for recreation to use a valid driver’s license as proof of medical fitness. The standard, which now applies only to sport pilot certificates, would expand to cover all FAA certificates up to and including ATP. There would be limits, however, on the aircraft that could be flown and on flight conditions.
AOPA and EAA suggest that limit might be a maximum of four seats with no more than 180 horsepower, fixed gear and day VFR flights only with one passenger. “That would greatly expand the number of aircraft a pilot might fly while operating under a driver’s license medical standard,” the joint statement read. Pilots using the new system would be required to undergo periodic online training on aeromedical topics and self certification. The groups said the proposal is a natural extension of the medical standard applied to sport pilots. “We have more than five years’ experience now with the sport pilot certificate and the driver’s license medical standard,” said Hightower. “In that time, we have not had a single medical incapacitation accident. The standard works.”