Well, we are seeing some progress in Washington with the Pilot's Medical Reform bill. This bill now will go to the House and then the President. One little note about the bill. The FAA does have one year from the date that the bill is signed into law to put these new regulations in place. If they do not have it in place by that time, then the law as written will go into effect. Here is what was put out by AOPA.
"The full Senate has passed the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2, which will now go to the House for consideration. The Senate passed the bill, which includes third class medical reform, by unanimous consent on Dec. 15, less than a week after it was reported out by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. The House must also pass the bill before it can go to the president for a signature.
“This is an enormous step toward getting long-awaited third class medical reforms, and we’re excited that the Senate has moved so decisively to get this done,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “Without a doubt this has been a real fight, but the passage of the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 shows that members of the Senate recognize the value of supporting the general aviation community. This legislation will help hundreds of thousands of general aviation pilots by saving them time, money, and frustration while giving them tools they need to take charge of their health and fitness to fly.”
The bill must also pass the House, where it has 152 bipartisan cosponsors, before it can go to the president for his signature.
“These reforms are vital to the future of general aviation, and we are grateful for the leadership of Senators Jim Inhofe and Joe Manchin as well as Senators John Thune, Bill Nelson, and the 71 bipartisan cosponsors who have made this possible,” said Baker.
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 in the Senate in February as a follow up to the original Pilot's Bill of Rights measure he championed that became law in 2012. In addition to medical reform, the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2 includes a number of protections for pilots facing FAA enforcement actions.
Under the medical reforms of Pilot's Bill of Rights 2, most pilots who have held a valid third class medical, either regular or special issuance, within 10 years of the legislation’s enactment would never need to get another FAA medical exam. The rule would apply to pilots flying VFR or IFR in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds and carrying up to five passengers at altitudes below 18,000 feet and speeds up to 250 knots.
Pilots who develop certain medical conditions, including a small list of specific cardiac, mental health, or neurological conditions, will have to get an FAA special issuance medical one time only, significantly reducing the time and money spent navigating the FAA’s medical bureaucracy."