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Is General Aviation Finally Getting Third Class Medical Reform?

A Cessna Skywagon in flight - Is General Aviation Finally Getting Third Class Medical Reform?
A Cessna Skywagon in flight

UPDATE – 7-15

Today, President Obama signed an FAA Extension into law that contained medical reform language.  Click here for more details.

Third Class Medical Reform Goes to Senate As Part of Defense Bill

Third Class Medical reform is going to be put before the full Senate for a vote, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Just a few days ago, on May 13th, the Senate Armed Services Committee overwhelmingly approved the NDAA, which contained third class medical reform language taken from the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (PBR2), by a vote of 23-to-3. According to officials over at AOPA, the full Senate will be taking up the measure before the end of the month.

AOPA president and CEO Mark Baker, who has put incredible effort into passing third class medical reform, had this to say, “This is great news for general aviation. Third class medical reform is vital to our community, and it has widespread bipartisan support. We applaud Sen. James Inhofe and the Senate Armed Services Committee for taking action to update an unreasonably cumbersome system that costs pilots millions of dollars and countless hours while doing little or nothing to improve safety.

Senator Inhofe, who was responsible for introducing PBR2 to the senate and has continued to champion its passage, is optimistic regarding the proposed reform. “Including the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 in the National Defense Authorization Act demonstrates the commitment of the Senate to getting third class medical reform passed this year.” Senator Inhofe also expressed appreciation for AOPA’s continuing support of the legislation, including rallying pilots and the general aviation community to the cause. “As always, I thank AOPA for all of the hard work they’ve done to make this a priority in Congress. I look forward to working with them to get this across the finish line.

The Senate has previously approved third class medical reform language on two occasions in the last five months, first as standalone legislation and then as part of the recently passed FAA reauthorization bill.

Anders Clark
Anders Clark was introduced to aviation a few short years ago, and has developed an interest in aviation history and what the future of aviation will bring. A writer and editor, Anders enjoys researching and sharing the stories of aviation.
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