Air Date: May, 1 2014
Host: Vic Eliason
Guests: Rob Hackman & Steve Hedges
Rob Hackman is the Vice President of Regulatory Affairs with AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).
Steve Hedges is the Director of Media Relations for AOPA.
AOPA is a membership association located in Frederick, Maryland. They represent nearly 400,000 members of the general aviation community. Their mission is to protect the freedom of their members to fly. They do this by advocating on behalf of their members by seeking to remove regulatory hurdles, present pilots and non-pilots with education concerning what general education is, how it benefits America and they work with policy makers at both the federal and state levels.
Currently private and recreational aviation pilots are taking ‘medicals’ every 2-5 years. That is a very lengthy and bureaucratic process that can become complicated depending upon the results of one’s physical examination. In other words, your doctor may feel you’re perfectly capable of flying but under current rules, an FAA doctor may feel otherwise.
In 2012 the AOPA petitioned the FAA to allow members an exemption to the current process of medical certification and to handle it differently. It asks the FAA to allow AOPA to provide members with stronger education with regard to allowing members to make their own determination about their medical fitness to fly. This is in lieu of seeing a doctor for a cursory exam. While the FAA has not given the AOPA a formal response, it did bring to light the issue of looking at a better process.
Representative Todd Rokita from Indiana’s 4th Congressional District has worked with Sam Graves of Missouri to put forward the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (HR3708). If passed, this legislation will direct the FAA to take a different approach to medical certification. The companion bill in the Senate is SB2103.
To discuss this issue with your senators call 202-224-3121 or you can call your congressmen at 202-225-3121.
AOPA-Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association