Rick Rademacher wrote:
Just received an email from Avemco insurance in which a Thomas P. Turner discusses being fit to fly. He believes that “ Not
only does having failed a medical certificate make you unfit to fly an
LSA, so does having a condition that you know would cause you to fail
if you tried to pass a medical.”
Are the medical requirements of a driver’s license thrown out the window?
My point is that Mr. Turner in the Avemco article seemed to imply that
if you had a condition that would led to a failure to pass a flight
physical, you also should not fly as a sport pilot. Tough rules to
follow and I disagree with his thinking.
Tom Turner is the Executive Director of the American
Bonanza Society Air Safety Foundation. As a long-time former member of
the American Bonanza Society, my opinion of Mr. Turner is that he is an
honorable and competent man.
Mr. Turner does not "imply" what Rick says above, he states it
emphatically in his conclusion, "Whether you’re a sport pilot or a
private pilot, the answer is the same: “I’m fit to fly if I think I’d
pass an FAA medical exam today.” Mr. Turner may be stating his
considered and conservative opinion, but he is not stating the law.
CFAR 61.23(c) states: [The following is a careful extraction, being careful to keep everything in context.]
(1) A person must hold and possess either a medical certificate issued
under part 67 of this chapter or a U.S. driver's license when
exercising the privileges of--...
(ii) A sport pilot certificate in a light-sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon; ...
(2) A person using a U.S. driver's license to meet the requirements of this paragraph must--
(i) Comply with each restriction and limitation imposed by that
person's U.S. driver's license and any judicial or administrative order
applying to the operation of a motor vehicle; ...
(iv) Not know or have reason to know of any medical condition that
would make that person unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a
So, no, the medical requirements of a driver's license are not
thrown out the window. Further, believing one can operate the aircraft safely,
and being confident one can pass an FAA physical, are two distinctly
different things. It is up to the pilot to determine that he or she can
safely operate the light-sport aircraft. That's what matters, according to the regulation.
Personally, I think too many older pilots think of the Sport Pilot
rule as their ticket to continue flying "after the angina sets in," and
I think that's unwise and unsafe. But it is left to the pilot to make
the determination, and the criteria has nothing to do with one's belief
he or she could pass an FAA physical. That's true regardless of Mr.
Turner's or the insurance company's opinion to the contrary.