On the Government Front

There is a lot being considered for aviation at all levels of government.

First let us look at the National level. Of BIG news is the US Congress is considering changes to the Third Class Medical and “Pay to Use (User Fees)” Airspace. On Dec. 15 the Senate passed the “Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2” and moved the bill to the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the president to be signed into law. After the president signs it, the FAA has up to one year to implement any regulatory changes that comply with the new law.

What this change does if you’ve held a regular or special issuance medical within the past 10 years, you may NEVER need to get another medical certificate. If you’ve never held a medical certificate or if your certificate expired more than 10 years before the legislation is enacted, you will need to get a third class medical certificate ONE TIME ONLY. And if you develop certain cardiac, neurological, or mental health conditions, you will need to get a third class medical certificate ONE TIME ONLY. You will need to visit your personal physician at least once every four years and provide a form that lists issues to be discussed during the visit.

Both you and your physician will need to sign the form saying that the doctor conducted the exam, you discussed the items on the form, and that the doctor is not aware of any medical condition that, as it is currently being treated, would interfere with the ability to safely fly an aircraft. You will need to make a note of the visit and include the form in your logbook. You do not need to report the outcome of the visit or file any paperwork with the FAA unless you are specifically requested to do so. You also will need to take online training in aeromedical factors every two years. The training will be offered free of charge. Pilots flying under the new rules will be allowed to operate aircraft that weigh up to 6,000 pounds and have up to five passenger seats plus the pilot in command, at altitudes below 18,000 feet and at speeds of up to 250 knots. Pilots, if appropriately rated, canfly VFR or IFR in qualified aircraft.

As for the “Pay to Fly” bill that the US Congress is considering, the bill is currently stalled. The FAA reauthorization legislation will not be taken up on the House floor the week of Feb. 22 to 26, according to Politico.

The bill, which passed the House Transportation Committee earlier, contains user fees on Part 135 charter operations based outside Alaska and Hawaii and would separate air traffic control functions from the FAA and place them into a federally chartered not-for-profit entity. There are a lot of problems with this bill. For the latest status on these two bills, please do to http://www.aopa.org/Newsand-Video/Advocacy/All-Advocacy-News.

As you know, the Hawaii legislature is also busy discussing ideas and making laws for aviation. GACH was again unsuccessful in gaining momentum on two bills deleting criminal offenses for minor airport violations but the bills may have led to a bigger bill. A VERY BIG proposal in the legislature being discussed is SB 3072 (and the corresponding HB) to create a Hawaii Airport Authority. I am currently have mixed opinions on the bill since it may help provide direction to the Airport Division but may consist of political appointees that have little knowledge of aviation.

The eight-member Airport Authority would have an administrator, a board member from the Travel and Visitors group and two appointments each from the Governor’s Office, the Senate, and the House. GACH has always recommended an airport commission (port authority) but manned with aviation professionals. Having non-aviation people on the board may lead to big problems especially when using FAA money. Also being considered is the need for insurance to fly a drone. To keep up to date on aviation news in Hawaii legislature, please go to http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov and search for aviation to be informed on what is happening

Posted in GACH, Newsletter.

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