Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Congress considering pilot regulation reforms

Wichita, Kan. --- A question coming before Congress this session is whether medical certificates are necessary for private pilots? 

Kansas Senator Jerry Moran is co-sponsoring legislation he believes will help reverse the trend of a declining number of airplane pilots.

There are two senate bills. 'The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act' and 'The Pilots Bill of Rights 2.'

Aviation supporters including the National Business Aviation Association welcoming the legislation which the NBAA says would allow private pilots, in certain instances, to use a driver's license instead of a FAA medical certificate.

This is not about commercial or corporate pilots.

It would be for those flying noncommercial VFR and IFR flights in planes weighing 6,000 pounds or less with a maximum of six seats.. planes such as small Cessna 172's and 182's up through Beechcraft Bonanzas.

Co-owner of Lakepoint Aviation at Jabara Airport, Matt Bell says the bill would keep more people flying longer who still want to fly.

Bell says those pilots would still be renting or purchasing planes which benefits general aviation here in Wichita, the Air Capital.

Below is the news release from Sen. Moran's office.

March 04, 2015

Sen. Moran Sponsors Legislation to Support Pilots and General Aviation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, recently sponsored bipartisan legislation to support pilots and general aviation. Over the past 10 years, 60,000 pilots have left the general aviation industry. Sen. Moran joined several of his Senate colleagues in introducing two bipartisan bills to help reverse this troubling trend – the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2.

“These common-sense bills will allow general aviation to grow and prosper while providing vital protections to pilots and aircraft operators,” Sen. Moran said. “I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act and the Pilots Bill of Rights 2, two important steps toward ensuring a brighter future for general aviation.”

For many pilots, the current process of obtaining a third-class medical certificate has become burdensome and expensive, while providing very little benefit to the industry. The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2015 (S. 573), introduced by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), extends the 2004 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sport pilot rule to include slightly larger aircraft, provided certain safety requirements.

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 (S. 571), introduced by U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), would expand the third-class medical exemption for recreational pilots and broaden the protections provided in the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights, which was signed into law in 2012. In addition, S. 571 represents a significant improvement in the due process rights and liability protections for volunteer pilots by ensuring certificate holders have the right to appeal FAA decisions through a new, merit-based trial in Federal Court.

General aviation is the largest industry in Kansas, generating nearly $3 billion in annual exports and manufacturing 40 percent of all general aviation planes.

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