News Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) reacted to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) announcement that they will commence a rulemaking process that could expand the number of pilots allowed to fly without obtaining a third-class medical certificate.

“Today’s announcement that the FAA is considering a commonsense rule change is good news for general aviation pilots in Kansas and across the country,” Sen. Moran said. “I encourage pilots to review this proposal and share feedback. I am hopeful an improved FAA rule will remove unnecessary hurdles for pilots trying to get off the ground, while preserving important safety standards in our nation’s skies.”

“I am pleased FAA has taken steps to review medical certification rules,” Sen. Roberts said. “I hope today’s action leads to a solution that will allow more pilots to fly recreationally and in a safe manner without having the burden of obtaining an unnecessary third-class medical requirement.”

Last month, Sens. Roberts and Moran, along with U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-Ark.), introduced the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act, S. 2103. The legislation would expand on the success of FAA’s 2004 Sport Pilot rule, which allows pilots to fly small, light aircraft without a third-class medical certificate, but requires them to undergo a biennial flight review by a certified flight instructor. During these flight reviews, instructors evaluate each pilot’s physical and cognitive condition, as well as his or her ability to safely operate an aircraft.

“For a decade, sport pilots have flown safely without third-class medical certificates, and we’re confident private pilots can do the same,” AOPA President Mark Baker said. “This issue is a top priority for AOPA members and we appreciate the FAA’s decision to move forward with rulemaking. We’re especially grateful to Reps. Rokita and Graves and Sens. Boozman, Roberts, and Moran for their leadership on medical certification reform. They understand the value of general aviation to the economy, the national transportation system, and the American way of life. And they recognize that expanding the third-class medical exemption will make it easier to get new pilots flying and keep experienced pilots safely in the air.”

S. 2103 is supported by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).