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Wed, Jul 21, 2004

FAA FAQ: Sport Pilot Medical

Here's The Way The Feds Explain It...

1.  What if I meet the requirements set forth in the rule that allow me to medically qualify using my current and valid US driver's license?  When may I use my current and valid US driver's license as medical qualification?

Answer: Provided you meet the requirements and you are qualified to exercise sport pilot privileges using a current and valid US driver's license, you may do so on September 1, 2004, the effective date of the rule.

2.  What if I already hold a pilot certificate and a valid airman medical certificate?  Do I have to maintain my airman medical certificate if I will only be exercising sport pilot privileges or may I use my current and valid US driver's license as medical qualification?

Answer:  You may use your current and valid US driver's license to exercise sport pilot privileges; however, you must hold the required, valid FAA airman medical certificate if you wish to exercise private pilot (or higher) privileges.

3.  What if I know (or suspect) that I have a significant medical condition and I hold (and have been able to maintain) a current and valid US driver's license?  Am I authorized to exercise sport pilot privileges provided I otherwise qualify?

Answer:  Long-standing FAA regulation, � 61.53, prohibits all pilots--those who are required to hold airman medical certificates and those who are not--from exercising privileges during periods of medical deficiency.  The FAA revised � 61.53 to include under this prohibition sport pilots who use a current and valid US driver's license as medical qualification.  The prohibition is also added under �� 61.23 (c) (2) (iv) and 61.303 (b) (2) (4) for sport pilot operations. 

You should consult your private physician to determine whether you have a medical deficiency that would interfere with the safe performance of sport piloting duties.  Certain medical information that may be helpful for pilots is posted on the FAA website at www.cami.jccbi.gov/aam-400A/400brochure.html.

4.  What if I have a life-long, chronic medical condition (e.g., diabetes mellitus) and I have never applied for or held an FAA airman medical certificate and my medical condition has never precluded me from being able to renew my US driver's license?  Am I authorized to exercise sport pilot privileges provided I otherwise qualify?

Answer:  You should consult your private physician to determine whether you have a medical deficiency that would interfere with the safe performance of sport piloting duties.  You may exercise sport pilot privileges provided you are in good health, your medical condition is under control, you adhere to your physician's recommended treatment, and you feel satisfied that you are able to conduct safe flight operations.

5.  Why does the FAA specify conditions for using a current and valid US driver's license only for persons whose most recent application for an airman medical certificate has been denied; whose most recently held airman medical certificate was rescinded or revoked; or whose most recent Special Issuance has been withdrawn?

Answer: To clarify that, if your most recent records on file with the FAA indicate that you were found ineligible to exercise airman privileges for medical reasons then, in the interest of public safety, you shouldn't go out right away and use your driver's license as medical qualification. 

We understand that these conditions may not have been expected and may disappoint some people.  That was not our intent, nor is it our intent that affected persons would have to maintain an airman medical certificate if they would rather use their current and valid US driver's license to medically qualify as a sport pilot. 

We ultimately concluded that, in those cases where the FAA has existing knowledge of medical ineligibility, we need the affected person to address it and, hopefully have it resolved.  To meet the intent of the rule, the affected person should apply for reconsideration of their eligibility.  In some denial cases, applicants simply may not have provided enough information to the FAA or may not have supplied information that the FAA may have requested.  In certain other denial cases, applicants may not have exercised their appeal rights which may have led to certification in some cases. 

The FAA wants to see as many pilots as possible take advantage of this exciting new rule and looks forward to working with individuals seeking to exercise sport pilot privileges.  We also intend to work with EAA, AOPA, and other industry groups toward that end. 

6.  What if I resubmit my application and, ultimately, I am certified?  Must I continue to renew my medical or may I use my current and valid US driver's license as evidence of medical qualification?

Answer: If you are ultimately certified then you are no longer on record with the FAA as having had your most recent application denied or your most recently held FAA airman medical certificate suspended or revoked, etc.  Therefore, it is not necessary to maintain airman medical certification thereafter to exercise sport pilot privileges provided you hold a current and valid US driver's license and provided you otherwise qualify.

7.  What if I hold a Special Issuance?  Is that considered denial of an application for an airman medical certificate?

Answer:  No.  Special Issuance is not considered the denial of an FAA airman medical certificate.

8.  Approximately how many applicants for third-class airman medical certificates are denied?

Answer: Over the past 3 years, the number of denials of third-class airman medical certificates has ranged from approximately 2000 to 2500 per year based on approximately 135,000 to 140,000 applications for third-class airman medical certification per year.  Most of these denials resulted because of a failure of the applicants to provide sufficient information for the FAA to make a favorable decision.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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