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Thread: 3rd class medical - drivers license comments

  1. #1

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    3rd class medical - drivers license comments

    I have a few comments about the 3rd class medical and changes proposed to allow additional planes to be flown with a self certify - drivers license medical.
    I know there are changes proposed to allow more planes other than just the Light Sport Planes that would allow the pilot to use their drivers license to certify medical fitness. My understanding was they were going to allow more planes such as the 172 and others with less than 200hp to be flown by sport pilot licensed pilots. In my opinion, I believe all private pilot licenses should be able to self certify their medical condition to get their pilot’s license. They do anyway every time they get into the left seat.

    The FAA, EAA, AOPA, all say they want to get more people into flying to help save an industry that is in danger. There are many of us that flew years ago and would love to start flying again but do not qualify for the medical because of a medication that is on the restricted list.
    The changes proposed by the EAA will work this way – you will need to obtain a third class medical, let it expire, then self certify with your drivers license that you are medically fit. That will do NOTHING to help those of us who would love to get back into flying but do not want to fly a small, slow airplane. Many of us have reached the age where our financial position and responsibilities now allow us to return to flying – helping an industry that needs a boost of $ to grow.

    If there are going to be changes made, either increase the speed, weight, and stall limits for the sport pilot category to C172 size planes or allow a private pilot license with a drivers license medical up to the size plane they will be allowing in the proposed regulations. Having to go through the medical first, then it being OK once it has expired is idiotic. How about using some common sense and making some good changes that will actually help. It is not enough to just have “good intentions”, changes need to actually do what they are trying to do.


    I am interested in what others have to think about this issue. Thanks for letting me vent!

  2. #2

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    Rock, where did you get the information that the "FAA wants more people to get into flying"? I certainly have not read that or heard any FAA official source say that.
    Years back the FAA was supposed to promote aviation as well as regulate it. But that was removed from their calling ; I think it may have been under first Pres Bush, not sure.
    I think the FAA moslty regulates the airlines, as they should and in that respect has done a good job as per the good airline safety record.

  3. #3

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    As for as what planes a new pilot might fly, perhaps a good approach is a version of what is done in some states when a teenager first gets his drivers license. There are some restrictions like not driving alone at first, without a parent or driving at night, or how many passengers if any he can carry.
    Otherewise the first year or so of drivng has a large accident rate.

    Something similar could and should be done for new pilots. Perhaps limit passngers carried for the first 100 hours, and complexity of the plane, maybe under 200 hp or fixed gear or such. And limit night flying or IMC flying for a few hundred hours.
    After the pilot has some experience and a safe record, then the restrictions could be relaxed.
    It should not just be based on some medical, which has very little to do with what is required to fly a plane or what causes accidents.

  4. #4

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    Bill Greenwood

    You are correct - I should have not included the FAA as a group that wants more general avation. It may be more accurate to suggest they do about everything they can to keep general avation with as few pilots as possible. If the NTSB and FAA were as concerned with truck safety on the highways as they are with a pilot having a heart attack or taking a medication that a doctor felt was the best option to keep a person healthy, they could really save lives. The TSA are doing everything they can to keep us from flying commercial. They sort of compete with each other to see who can impose the most idiotic rules on us. And we just let them do it.

    I should have been more specific in that members and suppliers for general aviation would like the number of pilots to increase to the levels of just a few years ago. I have several friends who no longer fly and still own a plane. Again, maybe I should be more accurate. They no longer have a medical and still have their planes. I wouldn't suggest that they may actually fly them without a medical or valid license, that would be against the rules. Perhaps the FAA and NTSB should join the real world with the rest of us.

    As for your suggestion of an approach allowing increased responsibilities as your experience grows - great idea that Im sure everyone would agree to. I for one would not want to put myself in a position of planting myself or anyone else with me into the ground. And worse would be injuring someone on the ground. I would be all for no passengers for the first 50 or even 100 hours. My personal rules may be more than others would agree to, but they include no night flights, no bad weather flights, and don't run out of gas. If I don't buzz people, I eliminate about 75% of the chances of crashing. Taking a medication that keeps me healthy or allows me to concentrate thus being eliminated from flying only LSA airplanes makes no sense.

    The part of the proposed changes make absolutely no sense. they have nothing to do with competence. They will allow you to fly a few more planes - I believe up to 200hp, 4 passenger, and a few other things, IF you had a class 3 and it expired. Why is having one that expired different than not having one? I had a class 3 many years ago - would I qualify for a private license now? Why not? With the medical now lasting for 5 years, how is a medical passed now going to predict the health 5 years in the future? It is a total waste of time for the EAA and AOPA to push for these changes. It for sure will do nothing for the safety of pilots, passengers, or people on the ground. It will not keep one pilot from having a heart attack flying. Like I said earlier, lets live in the real world - not the dream world.

    Thanks Bill for the comments. I am passionate about this and how the FAA picks who can fly and who can't by medications. I have pilot friends with ADD. They were on adderall and doing great before they got their medical. To pass, they had to come off for 6 months. Two of them can no longer afford to fly because their business suffered from them not being able to concentrate and keep their businesses successful. Both are back on adderall and doing great again. My son is an Army Apache helicopter pilot. On long missions, they are given "go pills". Guess what that is? When was concentrating a bad thing in aviation?

    Thanks for letting me rant on. You should hear me in person! lol!

  5. #5
    dbcrn's Avatar
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    RE 3rd class medical and new pilots

    The proposal would not allow Light Sport pilots to fly planes outside the Light Sport parameters. It would allow Private pilots who've allowed their medicals to lapse to fly up to 4 seat aircraft of less than 200hp while carrying no more than 1 passenger.

    Regarding limiting new pilots....why? If my flight examiner didn't think I was capable of piloting "safely", I wouldn't have received my certificate. I've been flying for over four years and have about 120 hours. Before I hit 100 hours I had flown cross country flights of 400 miles, 650 miles, 800 miles, and 1200 miles. Also several Young Eagles, three friends, and my twin sister. Why should I not have been allowed to fly with these people in the aircraft?

  6. #6

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    I agree - there is no reason

    Quote Originally Posted by dbcrn View Post
    The proposal would not allow Light Sport pilots to fly planes outside the Light Sport parameters. It would allow Private pilots who've allowed their medicals to lapse to fly up to 4 seat aircraft of less than 200hp while carrying no more than 1 passenger.

    Regarding limiting new pilots....why? If my flight examiner didn't think I was capable of piloting "safely", I wouldn't have received my certificate. I've been flying for over four years and have about 120 hours. Before I hit 100 hours I had flown cross country flights of 400 miles, 650 miles, 800 miles, and 1200 miles. Also several Young Eagles, three friends, and my twin sister. Why should I not have been allowed to fly with these people in the aircraft?
    I agree with you. Once you have shown you can safely fly, having a class 3 medical or not is not what makes you a safe pilot. There is a far greater chance of injuring yourself and others driving on the roads simply because there are more cars - people around you. Of course, a plane crash makes much better news coverage, but the number of sport pilots having an accident because of a medical problem is VERY LOW. I'm sure it has happened, but I have not seen a report that confirms that as the call. If there is data showing that sport pilots have more medical problems than private pilots, I haven't seen it and maybe i would reconsider my opinion.

    I have no problem with a graduated schedule of responsibility in flying. That goes for both private and sport pilots. Maybe you fly by yourself or with an instructor the first 40 hours after you get your license. Maybe longer - but limiting the chance of not being able to increase your flying choices discourages further flight education, instrument training, upgrading to a larger airplane, or even getting started flying again at all. The FAA does what they can to discourage new pilots, maybe the AOPA, EAA, and individual pilots need to start pushing harder for a better approach to what makes a pilot safe. I would bet the budget for my plane that there have been many times more crashes (not accidents) from running out of gas than a pilot having a medical incident. If safety of the pilot, passenger, and those on the ground are really the concern, then change to training to help reduce the running out of gas, buzzing, flying when the weather is crap, and doing a good pre-flight. That is how you will reduce crashes and accidents - not limiting people from flying because of a medication or medical condition that does not effect their piloting abilities.

  7. #7
    rosiejerryrosie's Avatar
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    Rockwoodrv9a - You rock!!
    Cheers,
    Jerry

    NC22375
    65LA out of 07N Pennsylvania

  8. #8

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    Rockwood, I see you are at Glenwood; I am at Aspen, but used to keep my Cub there one summer when our runway was under constrction.

    Do you have a plane based there, or do you rent one there?
    It's great flying weather these days, sure is a little thin on snow, but I am enjoying the blue skies.

  9. #9

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    No plane - getting ready to build

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Greenwood View Post
    Rockwood, I see you are at Glenwood; I am at Aspen, but used to keep my Cub there one summer when our runway was under constrction.

    Do you have a plane based there, or do you rent one there?
    It's great flying weather these days, sure is a little thin on snow, but I am enjoying the blue skies.
    Bill, no kidding, you are in Aspen? Wow, I had no idea. I would love to get together for lunch to discuss flying. I get to Aspen quite often and would make a trip up about anytime. I went over to the Glenwood Springs airport yesterday to look around and that place is in need of a serious cleanup. I hear rumors about it and how valuable the land is. I wonder if it will be there 10 years from now.

    I wil send you a message with my contact info and maybe we can get together. Not much flying today - finally some snow. Talk later,
    Rockwood

  10. #10

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    Interesting, I was wondering if this new EAA/AOPA 3rd class medical initiative would leave those poor slobs with failed medicals out in the cold like the Sport Pilot License. Maybe in another 10 years or so we can get to FAA to cut people some slack on that one.

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