The new law was signed by President Obama July 12th 2016. So, What Does This Mean for Pilots?
After doing some research, it doesn’t appear that the rule will go into effect for another year but as of July 12th your active drivers license may act as your medical verification while flying as a private pilot.
The FAA will be going through the rulemaking process which could take up to one year. In the meantime, here are the important facts about the 3rd Class Medical allowances:
•Aircraft: Up to 6 seats, no greater than 6,000 pounds, and covered (unlike the previous iterations, no restrictions on complexity, horsepower, etc.) – sorry folks, no biplanes
•Flight rules: Day/Night VFR and IFR
•Passengers: Up to 5
•Aeromedical: Pilots must take a free online aeromedical course every two years
•Altitude: Up to 18,000 feet
•Airspeed: No greater than 250 knots indicated airspeed
•Pilot: A pilot cannot fly for compensation or hire
Pilots looking to take advantage of this new rule need only to have a valid U.S. driver’s license and have had held a medical certificate (regular or special issuance) in the last 10 years from the date the legislation became law.
Canada already has a non-ICAO program in place with the Recreational Permit and the class 4 medical but it is very limited compared to this new USA program.