NBAA Welcomes FAA’s Announcement to Consider Third-Class Medical Exemptions

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

Washington, DC, April 3, 2014 – The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) today welcomed a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announcement that the agency will begin a formal rule-making project to consider whether to allow private pilots, in certain instances, to use a driver’s license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate.

NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said, “We are pleased to hear the FAA is considering alternatives to an FAA medical certificate for certain pilots. Included in NBAA’s membership are pilot-businessmen, especially light business aircraft owners, who fly themselves in furtherance of their business needs and could benefit from relief from FAA third-class medical certification requirements.”

Bolen added: “We believe a risk-based, studied approach to lessening the burden of medical certification requirements for some pilots could save the FAA significant resources at a time when every government man-hour and dollar spent needs to show a return. 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.”

The FAA’s announcement follows a joint petition by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association to the FAA to expand the third-class medical exemption. A related legislative proposal, the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), is currently making its way through both the House and Senate. This legislation would exempt pilots who make noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats 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 MSL and at a speed no faster than 250 knots.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-4-IN), a member of the House General Aviation Caucus, and General Aviation Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Sam Graves (R-6-MO) introduced GAPPA in the House in December. The bill now has 86 bipartisan cosponsors. Senate General Aviation Caucus members Sens. John Boozman (R-AR), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) recently introduced an identical measure in the Senate.

Bolen concluded: “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.”

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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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