Tag Archives: medical

Want a stronger aircraft market? Eliminate the third class medical!


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Aviation organizations have been trying for years to coax the FAA into reducing, or eliminating the 3rd class medical. There's been some success, sport pilot for example.

But generally we're no closer to this goal than before. There's talk every now and again about the FAA reconsidering, there was a recent petition effort by AOPA and EAA but it always seems that the FAA pretty much ignores all the data, expert testimony and public comments.

I'd venture to guess that the vast majority of pilots would support eliminating the third class medical. There's the time and expense of the exam but worse the pain, suffering and expense you have to go through for any number of medical conditions that you report. High blood pressure, extra testing, and maybe your AME will sign-off. Visited the doctor in the last three years, you are supposed to keep records of every visit. Had preventative treatment for heart disese? Get ready to pay thousands of dollars for tests every year so you can keep flying.

The risk that you will die in the cockpit? No higher than any other pilot, truck driver or old guy driving a 6000 pound RV. The risk to the non-flying public if you do happen to die in the cockpit, again the same as a guy driving an RV. Don't believe me? Check out all the data published by AOPA and others.

AOPA and EAA have a rule making request out to the FAA about self-certification. Consider proving a public comment there too. I'm less than hopeful that the FAA will actually change based on this rule making request, I think it will take an act of Congress, but who knows. http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/medical-certification-petition.html 

Anyway, that's not what this post is about. One factor continually depressing aircraft prices over the last decade is the continually dwindeling number of pilots in the US. Of course, there are a lot of reasons for this, the expense of flight and flight training being top of the list but there are a large group of pilots out there that have to sell because they can't afford to keep a medical anymore.

Getting rid of the useless, from a safety perspective, third class medical goes directly to the cost of flying and the number of pilots that are out there. More people, older people who can afford it, might be able to take up flight without a months long fight with the FAA over their medical. These people might even buy airplanes.

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