PPL holders in the UK are within weeks of liberation from the Class 2 medical, along with its needless hassle and expense.
This means the medical requirement for UK private pilot licence and national private pilot licence holders will be the same as for a DVLA Group 1 Ordinary Driving Licence (ODL). Existing medical options (for example, a UK declaration with GP countersignature) will remain open. The same options will be available for private balloon pilots.
To take advantage of the change, pilots will only need to complete a form on the CAA website to declare that they meet the DVLA medical standard. Pilots under 70 will need to do this once, while pilots older than that must confirm their declaration every three years.
The changes are subject to enactment of the proposed Air Navigation Order 2016 (ANO) which is planned to come into effect on a so far unspecified date in ‘late [northern] summer’ 2016. The proposed ANO legislation will contain these changes and other significant amendments for GA.
Currently, UK pilots with an NPPL (National Private Pilot Licence) must merely comply with DVLA group 1 or 2 standards and have their self-declaration of fitness countersigned by their GP. Holders of a UK PPL currently need an EU Class 2 medical, or meet the NPPL medical requirements if they only use the privileges of an NPPL licence (in other words, only fly within the UK).
The change has been supported by a study of the risks associated with GA flying, together with a review of the causes of light aircraft accidents and the likelihood of these being triggered by a pilot being medically incapacitated.
The risk to third parties was considered by the CAA, as well as the regulatory approach now being taken by the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA, which mirrors the UK proposal.
In New Zealand, pilots continue to ask: Just how long will it take for our own Civil Aviation Authority to awake from its slumbers and try to catch up with much of the developed world?
Our most recent information from the CAA (couched in its characteristically defensive, bureaucratic wording) said:
The CAA is aware of, and monitoring, developments relating to questions of Private Pilot Licences and medical requirements in the UK and USA. The question of suitable future requirements in the New Zealand context is to be the subject of policy work by the CAA. However, please note that any significant changes to the current regime would require changes to the Civil Aviation Rules, which is a matter outside the control of the CAA.
And as CAA deputy boss/Associate Minister of Transport Craig Foss told a GAA supporter in a letter dated 26 July 2016: “the CAA is not currently considering any changes to medical certification requirements.”