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FAA Finally Moves on Commercial Balloon Pilot Medicals

Out for comment now is a Notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) which would require second-class medical certificates for commercial balloon operators. This action was originally due in early 2019: the Commercial Balloon Pilot Safety Act of 2018, part of the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, was signed on October 5, 2018. It required FAA to update the Federal Aviation Regulations within 180 days to require balloon pilots to hold a medical certificate when exercising commercial privileges. A government shutdown caused the first of many delays, but the NPRM has finally arrived and includes a 60-day comment window. In addition to requiring pilots to hold a medical certificate when exercising commercial privileges (except for flight instruction) in a balloon, FAA is proposing two other changes not limited to balloons. One is allowing pilots who do not hold a medical certificate to act as PIC during a medical flight test, and the other is expanding BasicMed eligibility to include safety pilots acting as required flight crew members but not acting as PIC.

Chad Mayer

Legal Services Plan, Attorney
Chad Mayer is an in-house attorney with AOPA’s Legal Services Plan who assists Plan members with a wide variety of aviation-related legal issues. He is also a Commercial Pilot, a Remote Pilot with sUAS Rating, and an Advanced/Instrument Ground Instructor. The AOPA Legal Services plan is offered as part of AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services.

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