The CAA has introduced changes to medical requirements which it says will lead to both cost and time savings for pilots and, in most cases, remove the need for General Practitioners or Authorised Medical Examiners to be involved in the process.
The change follows a public consultation, in which 96% of those responding agreed with the proposal. The changes do not apply to Commercial pilots’ licences or those displaying at airshows, who will still need to be approved as fit to fly by a specialist aviation medical examiner.
Once the change takes place later this year the medical requirement for UK PPL and NPPL holders will be to meet the same standard as that required to hold a DVLA Group 1 Ordinary Driving Licence (ODL). Existing medical options (for example a UK declaration with GP’s countersignature) will remain available. The same options will also be available to private balloon pilots. To take advantage of the change, pilots will need to complete a form on the CAA website to declare that they meet the DVLA medical standard. Pilots under seventy will need to do this once, while pilots over seventy must confirm their declaration every three years.
Currently, pilots with a NPPL licence are required to 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 the NPPL medical requirements if they only use the privileges of an NPPL licence. The changes are subject to the enactment of the proposed Air Navigation Order 2016 which is planned to come into effect in late summer. It will contain these changes and other significant amendments for GA.
The change is 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 has been considered, and the regulatory approach taken by the US Federal Aviation Administration, which mirrors the UK proposal, was also reviewed. The consultation response document can be seen at caa.co.uk/cap1397