AOPA has announced that it received a letter from FAA Administrator Michael Huerta apologizing for the FAA’s nearly two-year delay in responding to the joint AOPA-EAA petition that would expand the use of the driver’s license medical standard. In his Dec. 26 letter, Huerta said it was important to “ensure that such an unprecedented change will not result in any adverse impact that could lead to degradation in safety.” He did not indicate when the agency will make its final decision. The letter was sent following a meeting with AOPA President Mark Baker that included discussion of the third-class medical issue.
Administrator Huerta said he recognized the importance of the issue to pilots as there had been more than 16,000 comments made on the petition. The long delay by the FAA resulted inintroduction of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act in Congress by members of the Congressional General Aviation Caucus. The act would allow pilots to use their state’s driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights below 14,000 feet in aircraft with no more than six seats, weighing 6000 pounds or less and with a cruise speed of 250 knots or less. AOPA and EAA have called on their members to support the proposed act and will be continuing to request they contact their representatives in the months to come.