The latest version of pilot medical reform legislation is slated for markup and discussion in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Nov. 18, after which S. 571 could move to the Senate floor. The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, proposed by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., would exempt pilots who have current third-class medicals from having to re-certify through an aviation medical examiner. They would instead self-certify, take an online aeromedical course biennially, and visit a doctor at least once every four years. Pilots who don’t yet have a medical or have had their medical lapse for more than 10 years also would need the one-time certification. The proposal changed drastically in September when, to gain Congressional support, it was changed from an exemption of the third-class medical for private pilots flying aircraft that met certain criteria, including weighing under 6,000 pounds.
“This is a very significant step forward in our efforts to bring long overdue common sense to the third-class medical process. We’ve never been closer, and we are very pleased that this bill is going to get the consideration it deserves,” AOPA President Mark Baker said in a statement this week. “With 69 cosponsors in the Senate, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 has strong support among lawmakers who recognize the importance of general aviation and the need to give pilots relief from the costly and burdensome third-class medical process. That high level of bipartisan support is a testament to the commitment and engagement of the tens of thousands of AOPA members who have contacted their elected officials and asked them to support third-class medical reform.”