FAR 61.53

Anything pertaining to the new Light Sport Pilots license, or other licensing.
Captgrumps
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Captgrumps »

Spin doctors can make numbers say anything. The FAA in posting accident records should differentate between purely trained Sport Pilots and Certificated Pilots flying light sport without a current medical using their drivers license. As long as Cessna is building a $100,000+ light sport SkyCatcher aircraft, the 1320# rule will never be eliminated for the C150 or other aircraft. Deep pockets.

Doug
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by pablo »

In my simplistic perception of life, the Sport Pilot certificate allows the holder to fly without a medical, as long as the pilot considers himself healthy enough to fly and has a valid driver's license.
This allows people like epileptics or diabetics on medication who can legally drive, and would have never qualify for a FAA medical, to fly as Sport Pilots. If a private, commercial or ATP allows his medical expire (not lost for medical reasons), he can continue to fly as Sport Pilot (with its legal limitations), for as long as he wants, as long as he has a valid driver's license,
EVEN if he later develops conditions that by written regulations would disqualify him for a FAA 3rd class medical (examples: angina, depression, malignancies, etc.), unless his regular physician (not an AME) prohibits him from flying or driving. Example: the epileptic on medication that after many years free of seizure , has a seizure.

Insurance companys have nothing legal to say about this. Remember: when you buy insurance, it is a bet between you and the insurance company: You bet them $600 that you are going to have an accident in one year. They bet you $25,000 that you are not going to have an accident. If you do not have an accident they keep your $600. If you do have an accidente they pay you $25,000. The usual rules of the bet are to be within the established FAR, annual, BFR, etc.
But also, the insurance company might decide not to bet (sell you insurance) with you, unless
you meet certain conditions: fly with an instructor, have a medical exam every six months, etc. etc. That can prevent you to buy insurance from that company, but will not prevent you to fly -uninsured- if you want to do so.

Pablo
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Aerco »

Doc wrote:


Lastly, the only difference between a 2nd class and a 3rd class is a 32" vision testing requirement for pilots 50 years old and older. With the new progressive lenses, a single pair of glass easily meets vision reuirements for 16", 32" and infinity.

Thanks for your questions/musings. Doc
I must add something to that: For a Class 2 medical the distance vision requirements are 20/20 in both eyes. For a Class 3 you need only 20/40 both eyes - for both, that can be with or without glasses/contacts.

I know, because I don't have a single health issue that would prevent me from getting a Class 1 medical, except my left eye won't correct to better than 20/40. For somebody who never wanted to be anything other than a pilot, that really, really sucks....
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Doc
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Doc »

I have really enjoyed the responses to this thread. For those who are holding Special Issuance medical certificates, you may have noticed that you are now required to keep a copy of the FAA authorization letter in your possession while exercising your privileges. Anyone want to claim "best answer"? Doc :roll:
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Paul Agaliotis »

I'm not a big fan of these " I know something you don't know" threads. If there is information that needs to be spread it should be brought out into the open. And it's always good to have a SODA around.
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Doc »

To all who responded...thanks. To avoid irritating anyone else, I will close the thread. Doc
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rkittine
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by rkittine »

The AOPA has a pretty good listing of disqualifying drugs as well as aflictions. This may not be totally complete, but I did find out that Coumadin (which twice in my life caused me to wait to get my medical back until I was off for six months, is now OK as long as 80% of your INR times during the past 6 months have been between 2.0 and 3.0. Now that I am on Coumadin again, this has not disqualified me as I have stayed in that range.

Cancer, which I had, of in itself is not necessarily a disqualify desease. It depends on the type, complication and treatment.

In order to have the least issue with my insurance, I have a letter from each of my doctors stating that in their opinion, I am in good health and there is no reason why I can not fly an airplane. I have a valid drivers license and none of my medication is on the disqualifying list.

Lastly have now been Cancer Free for 2 years, the AOPA again is saying I will get the medical back, but the list of items I need to send in takes time.

For $99.00 a year the AOPA will not only review your medical records in detail, but will pull everything together and handle the filing and follow-up. Hopefully I will be flying everything including Light Sport in the next few months.
Robert P. Kittine, Jr.WA2YDV
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Jerry Eichenberger
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Jerry Eichenberger »

Doc -

Unfortunately, you are both right and wrong, legally. I'm an aviation lawyer who has spent over 35 years in the field.

61.53 has two subparts. Subpart (a) has to do with operations requiring a medical certificate, and for that subpart, you are clearly right. If you need a medical for a given operation, and discover that you no longer meet the requirements for it, you must not engage in operations requiring that medical.

Subpart (b) applies to operations that do not require a medical certificate. These include glider and balloon pilots, who don't even have to have a driver's license, and who can fly AFTER being denied a medical certificate; and of course, sport pilots who must at least have a driver's license.

I also take issue with your comment about keeping up a medical or a special issuance if you intend to exercise only SP privileges, As we all know, if you are denied a medical and can't get a special issuance, you are done as far as sport pilot in airplanes is concerned. You may still fly gliders and balloons, as stated above, but no more airplane flying.

So, for sport pilots flying airplanes, all that is required, if you have a valid driver's license, is to make sure that you do not know of any medical condition that would make you unable to operrate the aircraft in a safe manner. That's a far cry from having a condition that makes you ineligible for a medical certificate. If you have a situation like mine, holding a 2nd class medical back in 2004, and have an onset of angina which led to implantation of two stents in the LAD, and your cardiologist gives you the OK to fly afterwards, and further says that from a medical point of view that he'd let his kids fly with me, I am "good to go" as a sport pilot, so long as I have a valid driver's license. I am medically able to operate the aircraft in a safe manner, per competent medical advice.

And, before you accept some FAA lawyer's advice as gospel on this or any other subject, seek another opinion.

Jerry E.
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Carl Prather »

It would seem to me that it would depend on whether a pilot decides to exercise the privileges of private or light sport pilot. I do not see this as a complicated situation. Airline pilots can fly a Pitts in their spare time but do not exercise the privileges of their 1st class medical, ATP and type ratings and recency of experience in flying that Pitts. Why should it be any different for the private pilot who elects to meet the requirements for flying LSA?

I remember reading an article in Avemco's rag about accident rates and it mentioned that pilots were having a tougher time getting used to lower wing loading aircraft, resulting in runway mishaps. There was no mention of health issue or prescription drug use. If health issues or drug use had an adverse on an insurance company's loss experience, you can bet that company would take steps to address the problem. They want premium payments preserved, not spent on unneeded losses.

No matter what a person flies, it makes sense that the level of care exercised should always be equal to the task at hand. That's the best insurance.

Carl
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by RRHaldeman »

So here I am, after 43 years of flying under a 3rd Class Medical and I want to consider flying my Aeronca Champ as a Light-Sport Aircraft without keeping my 3rd Class Medical, using my U.S. driver’s license instead. Along comes Doc’s opinion that “ . . . any medical condition that would disqualify a Medical Certificate would also preclude him from flying under the Sport Pilot rules...this is based on the "catch-all" FAR 61.53 . . . The FAA SW Regional Flight Surgeon's Office in Fort Worth, TX verified this opinion prior to my posting.” (Doc FAA Senior AME #20969) In order to follow the logic of his opinion, we must begin with a review of the pertinent FARs.

FAR 61.23 (b) identifies operations not requiring a medical certificate: (1) Operating a glider or a balloon under a student pilot certificate while seeking a sport pilot certificate or a pilot certificate with a glider or balloon rating; (2) Operating a glider or balloon with a sport pilot certificate with privileges in a glider or balloon; (3) Operating a glider or balloon with a pilot certificate with privileges in a glider or balloon; (4) acting as a flight instructor with a sport pilot rating in a glider or balloon . . . and others.

FAR 61.23(c)(1) requires a medical certificate or a U.S. driver’s license when operating a light-sport aircraft (other than a glider or balloon) when exercising the privileges under: (1) a student pilot certificate while operating a light-sport aircraft while seeking sport pilot privileges: (2) a sport pilot certificate while operating a light-sport aircraft; or (3) a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating while acting as pilot in command or serving as a required flight crewmember of a light-sport aircraft.

FAR 61.23(c)(2) states that a person using a U.S. driver's license must (1) 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; (2) Have been found eligible for the issuance of at least a third-class airman medical certificate at the time of his or her most recent application (if the person has applied for a medical certificate); (3) Not have had his or her most recently issued medical certificate (if the person has held a medical certificate) suspended or revoked or most recent Authorization for a Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate withdrawn; and (4) 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.

FAR 61.53 (the “catch-all” mentioned by Doc), states that for operations under FAR 61.23(b) and FAR 61.23(c) a person shall not act as pilot in command, or in any other capacity as a required pilot flight crewmember, while that person knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make the person unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.

So, let us assume that you did have a medical certificate, but decided to let it lapse and use a U.S. driver’s license to fly a light-sport aircraft. Now, let’s try some hypothetical situations and see where they lead us.

Hypothetical 1

First, let us assume that if you had submitted to a flight physical by an AME, he would have discovered a heart condition (unknown to you) that would have disqualified you from receiving a 3rd Class Medical. Perhaps it was an erratic heart-beat (an arrhythmia) that he would have detected but that was not detectable by you and you had no reason to know of its existence. You decide to fly a light-sport aircraft on a day when you are feeling just fine. In my personal opinion, you were in compliance with the FARs because you personally did not know or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make you unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.

Hypothetical 2

Second, let us assume that you had recently noticed the arrhythmia, but it would only occur once a month when extremely tired but no medical doctor had ever detected it or told you of the significance of that arrhythmia. Let us assume that if you had submitted to a flight physical by an AME, he would have discovered the arrhythmia and after further testing, that condition would have disqualified you from receiving a 3rd Class Medical (or might have required an Authorization for a Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate). You decide to fly a light-sport aircraft on a day when you are feeling just fine. In my personal opinion, you were in compliance with the FARs because you personally did not know or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make you unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.

Hypothetical 3

Third, let us assume that you had recently noticed the arrhythmia, but it would occur intermittently, without warning, and you would become dizzy for up to 5 minutes. You decide to fly a light-sport aircraft. Let us assume that if you had submitted to a flight physical by an AME, he would have discovered the arrhythmia and after further testing, that condition would have disqualified you from receiving a 3rd Class Medical. In my personal opinion, you were probably not in compliance with the FARs because you personally had reason to know of a medical condition that would make you unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.

Conclusion

It seems to me that Doc’s opinion that “any medical condition that would disqualify a Medical Certificate would also preclude him from flying under the Sport Pilot rules” ignores the clear and unambiguous standard set forth in FAR 61.23(c) and FAR 61.53. FAR 61.23(c) and FAR 61.53 establish a subjective standard that a pilot using a U.S. driver’s license is disqualified from flying a light-sport airplane only if he knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make him unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner.

AMEs have medical knowledge beyond the ken of average pilots. A pilot is not required to predict that an AME would detect a heart condition that would disqualify the pilot for a 3rd Class Medical. The pilot is only required to disqualify himself if he knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make him unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner.

So, I'm going to continue refurbishing my Champ so that when I decide not to renew my 3rd Class Medical, I'll use my U.S. Driver's license to fly the Champ. (Yes, I used to be a trial lawyer, but now that I'm retired, I'm just another nice guy).
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by pablo »

Dick:
The holder of a class 1, 2, or 3 has the obligation to disqualify himself, when that holder becomes aware of any condition (transitory or permanent) that would make that flight unsafe.
The same applys to a light sport pilot with a valid driver's license. Your reasoning is completely correct. Myself, as a Gynecologist (not AME), feel bad that you have retired as a trial lawyer, since you demonstrate the capacity to think -missing in so many of them-. Go ahead and fly and enjoy your Champ. If ever in Oklahoma, you are welcome to fly my Champ with your driver's license only.

Pablo
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by MikeB »

The subject came up at our local Saturday Morning Airport Loafters meeting a couple of weeks ago and one of our members was of the opinion that the third class medical could possibly be dropped as one with a third class can't fly for hire and we (as stated above) need to 'self certify' before we fly, anyway.

In my case (71 + years old) I have no medical problems that I'm aware of and get a routine but through physical every year. A 3rd class medical is just another (IMH opinion) unneccessay expense.

One other thing which may belong in another thread: at what point does an insurance agency decide 'Pilot B' is too old insure or their 'risk factor' is too great, even though he meets all the requirements and never had a claim. I'm guessing many of us flying under light sport are probably at the advanced age state or at least over 60.

MikeB
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by RRHaldeman »

Thanks, Pablo

In my Champ, the closest I may come to OKC will be Gainesville, TX (GLE). My dream is to recreate the flight of the Buck brothers in the book "Flight of Passage." If everything works out, I plan to fly the trip in September, then reverse course, head east and end up in Florida for the winter. But if I get your way, I'd be happy to take you up on the offer. My blog about my plan can be found at: http://areoncachamp.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... t-leg.html
Dick Haldeman, RRHaldeman AT aol DOT com
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by Dennis »

I seems to me that the catch all expression "....if he knows or has reason to know of any medical condition that would make him unable to operate a light-sport aircraft in a safe manner." Allows a person to fly light sport while taking Synthroid or blood pressure medicine and maybe other medication which may result in the issuance of a Authorization for a Special Issuance, simply because he has been doing it in a "safe manner". (Provided of course he has a driver license). Certainly not a lawyer or Doc but looks to me like a lot of wiggle room here.

It is good to see item (3) Not have had his or her most recently issued medical certificate (if the person has held a medical certificate) suspended or revoked or most recent Authorization for a Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate withdrawn; I have wondered about this one. If I go in and come away with a one year Special, can I convert to light sport without a hassle from the FAA? The answer appears to be yes.

Dennis
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Re: FAR 61.53

Post by RickH »

Dennis wrote: If I go in and come away with a one year Special, can I convert to light sport without a hassle from the FAA? The answer appears to be yes.
Dennis
Actually there's no 'converting' to be done. As a Private Pilot, if your valid medical whatever its class, simply lapses (not denied or revoked), you may continue to fly under the light-sport rules as long as you have a driver's license and can self-certify that you are not aware of a condition that would prevent you from safely completing the flight. That's the reason there are so many of us OF's flying or looking for LSA-qualified Chiefs and Champs. :)
Rick, Chief NC86196
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