Saturday, April 14, 2007

FAA proposes extending duration of pilot medical certificates

FAAEarlier this week the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in regard to the duration of first-class and third-class medical certificates. The agency is proposing to extend the duration of both first- and third-class medicals for individuals under the age of 40.

Currently, the maximum validity of the first-class medical certificate is six months, regardless of age. The FAA is proposing to extend the duration of first-class medical certificates to one year, for pilots under the age of 40. First-class medical certificates are required for airmen exercising airline transport pilot privileges.

Third-class medical certificates currently are valid for a period of 36 months, for pilots under age 40. The FAA is proposing to extend the duration of third-class medical certificates to five years. Private pilots, recreational pilots, and student pilots must be in possession of at least a third-class medical certificate.

The NPRM document says:
Decreasing the frequency of medical examinations by increasing the duration of validity from 6 months to 1 year on first-class medical certificates for individuals under age 40 and from 36 months to 60 months on third-class medical certificates for individuals under age 40 would reflect the FAA's assessment of the current, appropriate interval for younger airmen.

It also would decrease routine workflow thereby allowing the FAA to focus on the most safety-critical certification cases and provide more efficient service to other applicants waiting to be processed.
The FAA developed this new proposal through a review of relevant medical literature, its own aeromedical certification data, and accident data.

Also taken into consideration was the fact that the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) requires only annual medical certification for airline transport and commercial pilots in multi-crew settings.

No change is proposed for the duration of second-class medical certificates, which is the minimum required for a commercial pilot certificate or an air traffic control tower operator certificate.

Comments on the proposal are due by June 11.

Click here to read the entire Notice of proposed rulemaking: [Docket No. FAA-2007-27812; Notice No. 07-08]

The document includes instructions for submitting comments.