NBAA Lauds Congressional Bill Providing Third-Class Medical Exemptions to Pilots

Contact: Dan Hubbard, (202) 783-9360,

Washington, DC, Feb. 27, 2015 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed the introduction of congressional legislation to allow private pilots, in certain instances, to use a driver’s license in lieu of a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) medical certificate.

The legislation, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), was proposed in both the House and Senate on Feb. 25.

Sen. John Boozman (R-AK), co-chair of the Senate General Aviation Caucus, introduced the Senate bill (S. 573), which has five co-sponsors: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), James Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Pat Roberts (R-KS). Boozman’s bill was referred to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for consideration.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-4-IN), a member of the House General Aviation Caucus, offered the House bill (H.R. 1086), which has seven co-sponsors: Reps. Bill Flores (R-17-TX), Sam Graves (R-6-MO), Richard Hanna (R-22-NY), Daniel Lipinski (D-3-IL), Stevan Pearce (R-2-NM), Collin Peterson (D-7-MN) and Mike Pompeo (R-4-KS). Rokita’s bill was referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Under GAPPA, pilots who make noncommercial VFR (visual flight rules) flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats would be exempt from the third-class medical certification requirement. Pilots would be limited to carrying a maximum of five passengers, flying at altitudes below 14,000 feet mean sea level (MSL), and at a speed no faster than 250 knots.

“We are encouraged by the bipartisan support demonstrated in both the House and Senate for practical efforts to exempt certain pilots from third-class medical certification requirements,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said. “If an exemption to some medical certification requirements is allowed, the FAA’s scarce resources could be allocated to higher-risk oversight activities, even as a focus on safe flying would remain in place. We encourage Congress to provide early consideration of this important legislation.” 

Language identical to GAPPA is also included in a broader measure, the Pilot’s Bill of Rights Part 2 (PBOR2), introduced in the House and Senate Feb. 25. Read more about PBOR2.

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Founded in 1947 and based in Washington, DC, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) is the leading organization for companies that rely on general aviation aircraft to help make their businesses more efficient, productive and successful. The Association represents more than 10,000 companies and provides more than 100 products and services to the business aviation community, including the NBAA Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition, the world’s largest civil aviation trade show. Learn more about NBAA at

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