In conjunction with its issuance of the new Sport Aircraft Rule, the FAA issued a statement addressing airmen’s concerns regarding the inability of an airman use a driver’s license to operate under a Sport Pilot Certificate when that airman has previously been denied an FAA medical certificate or had a medical certificate revoked:
“We understand that these conditions [the concerns of pilots with FAA medical denials on record] may not have been expected and may disappoint some people. That was not our intent, nor is it our intent that affected persons would have to maintain an airman medical certificate if they would rather use their current and valid U.S. driver’s license to medically qualify as a sport pilot.
We ultimately concluded that, in those cases where the FAA has existing knowledge of medical ineligibility, we need the affected person to address it and, hopefully, have it resolved. To meet the intent of the rule, the affected person should apply for reconsideration of his or her eligibility. In some denial cases, applicants simply may not have provided enough information to the FAA or may not have supplied information that the FAA may have requested. In certain other denial cases, applicants may not have exercised their appeal rights, which may have led to certification in some cases.
The FAA wants to see as many pilots as possible take advantage of this exciting new rule and looks forward to working with individuals seeking to exercise sport-pilot privileges. We also intend to work with EAA, AOPA, and other industry groups toward that end.”
If you have received a denial or revocation and would like to operate under the Sport Aircraft Rule, you have two options: 1) you can pursue a third-class special issuance from the FAA through traditional channels, or 2) you can seek a sport-pilot medical evaluation via a separate procedure that the FAA continues to design and develop. Unfortunately, we don’t know what this procedure will be because it has not been developed or implemented yet. As a result, the special issuance route is realistically the only option currently available.