Hoeven: Senate Passes Measure to Update FAA Medical Certification, Protect Pilots' Due Process Rights

Bill Supports General Aviation, Allows More Qualified Pilots to Continue Flying

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the Senate has passed the Pilot’s Bill of Rights II, a measure he cosponsored that updates the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) medical certification for most general aviation pilots, providing a safe and transparent process to help ensure more healthy, qualified and trained pilots can fly. The bill expands the 3rd class medical exemption for recreational pilots flying light sport aircraft and broadens the protections provided in the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights signed into law in 2012, which Hoeven also cosponsored.

“General aviation is an important part of North Dakota’s transportation infrastructure and economy, providing vital services across industries,” Hoeven said. “The FAA’s current medical standards are outdated, costly to comply with, prevent healthy and skilled pilots from flying and do little to ensure the safe operation of general aviation aircraft. Our bill updates the FAA’s medical exemption process to reflect real-world health care needs and risks, which will better serve our pilots, empower them to seek treatment for their medical conditions and enhance public safety.”

The Pilot’s Bill of Rights II:

  • Expands the existing FAA exemption for a 3rd class medical certificate to include general aviation aircraft up to 6,000 pounds and raises altitude up to 18,000 feet.
  • Maintains safe aircraft operations by requiring an individual to take an online medical education course, complete the FAA medical evaluation process one time and maintain ongoing medical care, while also providing a checklist to guide discussion between pilots and their physicians during health examinations and maintaining the special issuance process for pilots diagnosed with mental health disorders, neurological disorders or cardiovascular conditions.
  • Expands the original Pilot’s Bill of Rights by explicitly stating that pilots facing investigation by the FAA may appeal to a district court and clarifies who bears the burden of proof.
  • Expedites updates to the FAA’s Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) program to ensure pilots receive and can access important flight safety information in a timely and relevant manner.