British and U.S. Elected Officials Call for Bilateral GA Agreements

In a Sept. 26 joint letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.K.’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), members of both Congress and Parliament argued that recognition of each other’s new medical standards would help benefit general aviation. Additionally, the letter urged the authorities to explore ways to issue pilot certificates/licenses on the basis of a foreign pilot license.

The letter was signed by three Members of the U.K.’s Parliament–Sheryll Murray, Mark Prichard, and Grant Shapps; and Members of the United States Congress–Sen. John Boozman (R-Ariz.), Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.).

Graves, who is chairman of the General Aviation Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, hopes that shared goals will result in a prosperous GA community in both nations. “Third class medical reform in the U.S. was a landmark win for general aviation and we want to be sure that it is recognized when American pilots fly in the United Kingdom and Europe. We expect the FAA would grant similar recognition for U.K pilots flying in the U.S. [under the U.K.’s new rules].”

So far, 36 nations around the globe have successfully implemented their own alternative medical standards that save non-commercial pilots time and money. In the United States, BasicMed is highly popular- with more than 40,000 pilots flying under the medical certification in just over a year since its implementation.  AOPA advocated to reduce the bureaucracy, cost, and red tape of the medical process because they were increasingly pushing pilots out of aviation.  Now, under BasicMed, private pilots can visit with their own medical doctor or continue to visit with a government doctor if they wish.  In addition, the new program requires a medical education course for pilots that must be taken and passed once every two years.  The U.K. also developed a new medical standard for its pilots giving them more freedom to assess their fitness to fly. However, neither country recognizes the other’s updated medical certification, making it difficult to fly in each other’s airspace.

The joint letter comes just a week after representatives from the International Council of Aircraft Owner and Pilot Associations (IAOPA) met with officials at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) headquarters in Montreal to discuss medical standards for GA pilots across the globe. The IAOPA delegation encouraged ICAO to come up with universal medical guidelines for GA pilots–especially as the industry is facing a shortage of skills.