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Fit to Fly

Posted By:
Rick Rademacher
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
71
Posts
20
#1 Posted: 10/18/2010 22:08:38

 

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.”

 So, those of you who don’t take a flight physical because you are afraid you might not pass should not be flying as a sport pilot. Are the medical requirements of a driver’s license thrown out the window? Flight physical are picky about everything. Are we then to be that demanding in looking at the medical requirements for us to fly as a sport pilot?

Not sure I know where to begin! Maybe he is thinking about the worse case medical problems? Or is this another don't ask don't tell?

 

 



Rick Rademacher
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
71
Posts
20
#2 Posted: 10/19/2010 08:21:48

 

Sorry, I forgot to include the link to the full article.

http://www.avemco.com/Articles/OnApproachFall2010.pdf

 

It is an interesting dilemma. Only by taking a flight physical would one would know for sure that a medical condition would keep you from passing the physical.  As I only fly a Cub, I have been advised by a flight doctor not to bother with a class III medical and just fly as a sport pilot. My only medical problem that I am aware of is the reoccurrence of a hernia that I will take care of in 2011.

 



Brad Strand
Homebuilder or Craftsman
66
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27
#3 Posted: 10/19/2010 09:50:54

Rick wrote: Only by taking a flight physical would one would know for sure that a medical condition would keep you from passing the physical.

Rick,

It is perfectly acceptable to ask your flight surgeon to examine you to see if, in his opinion, you would pass a flight physical if you were to take one.  While I am sure he would charge you for his time, it might be worth it for your peace of mind.  If your flight surgeon is unwilling to do this he doesn't understand the rules very well.



Rick Rademacher
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
71
Posts
20
#4 Posted: 10/19/2010 10:22:16

 

Brad

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.

 



Mike Edwards
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or Volunteer
130
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30
#5 Posted: 10/19/2010 14:44:08
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 safe manner.

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.



Rick Rademacher
Vintage Aircraft Association MemberYoung Eagles Pilot or VolunteerAirVenture Volunteer
71
Posts
20
#6 Posted: 10/19/2010 16:06:21

Mike

I agree with you and am impressed with the clarity of your thoughts on this issue. Wish Avemco would let you express your thoughts as a response in one of their messages to thousands of pilots.

 



Stephen Goode
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0
#7 Posted: 10/21/2010 20:47:00

Personally not to mention many other pilots that I have talked to, all agree that they should do away with the 3rd. class medical all together. Think about it, there are many good experenced pilots out there who are grounded that are capable of flying but they can't because of a technacality that doesn't mean a hill of beans. I mean if you think about it, I could kill just as many people or more with my car than I would with a single engine airplane that would probably go down in a field or some other unpopulated area. How many more accidentsdo you think would happen due to health problems if they did away with the 3rd. medical? Yes there will be some, but not many more than there is now. There are many many more accidents due to pilot error than there ever will be due to health problems. Get pilots better trained and forget the 3rd. class medical.