FAA Clarifies Check Pilot Medical Requirements

 - June 3, 2019, 11:17 AM

The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to remove regulatory inconsistencies that have caused reported misunderstandings over the fact that medical certificates are not required for check pilots and instructors at commercial operations who perform their functions in aircraft, as long as they are not serving as part of a required flight crew. “This proposed change would increase the number of experienced pilots who would be able to qualify as Part 135 check pilots on aircraft,” the agency said.

Current regulations are contradictory. For example, FAR 135.338(b)(5) states that flight instructors (aircraft) must hold at least a third-class medical certificate; however, FAR 135.338(e) states that an airman who does not hold a medical certificate may serve as a flight instructor in an aircraft if functioning as a non-required crewmember. According to the FAA, this confusion has unnecessarily limited airmen to conducting check pilot functions in flight simulation training devices. Changes are also proposed for similar contradictions in Part 121.

Requiring a medical certificate for check pilots and flight instructors who are not serving as required flight crewmembers is an “unnecessary burden,” the FAA said. “Moreover, there has been no degradation in the safe operation of aircraft resulting from the current application of the regulations during the estimated eight years the agency has allowed eligible check airmen and flight instructors to serve without medical certificates if not serving as required crewmembers.” Comments on the NPRM are due August 2.