Our Stuart Florida Chapter of the IMC Club meets the second Thursday of each month. At the last meeting we had a local AME come and speak to our members about the recent approval of the third class medical reform bill. Most of our members are in the age group where we had a lot of questions regarding how it would affect the pilot community, even though it has to eventually go through final FAA publication.
It was a very informative meeting and I feel that when all the rules are set in stone, the final affect on anyone that wishes to take advantage of the ruling might as well consider either joining the ranks of LSA pilots or just continue getting a regular third class medical. The new ruling has been watered down from it's original intention when you get right down to it.
First of all, even if a pilot has had a third class medical certificate issued within the previous ten years the hoops that he will still have to go through are going to be quite onerous. Not only will there be a continual need to take an online battery of health questionaries, but the pilot will have to visit their personal doctor to get a general heath sign off. Many doctors are going to be reluctant to put their license or reputation on the line when they realize they are signing off a pilot to fly.
Our speaker is not only a AME, but an accomplished commercial pilot that flies an Aerostar. He said that when he signs off a pilot applicant for a third class medical it is really a very basic health exam which most normally healthy people can pass. He realized that we as pilots are normally anxious when we walk in to take a medical because we might not pass and our blood pressure might be high. But AMEs make allowances for this and might even have the applicant come back later or wait awhile before taking another reading.
The biggest benefit that I think that the AME passed on to us was that an applicant should never accept a denial, but should request a deferral if there are ever any issues during the exam. From what I can pass on or gather from the meeting was that this is an accepted option that a pilot can opt for.