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Changes to UK Private Pilot Medical Requirements :

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced today that medical requirements for some private pilots are to change in line with our top level principles for GA regulation. These changes do not apply to pilots with commercial licences or those displaying at airshows who will still need to be approved as fit to fly by a specialist aviation medical examiner.

The move will lead to both cost and time savings for pilots and, in most cases, remove the need for General Practitioner (GP) or Authorised Medical Examiner involvement in the process. The change follows a public consultation, in which 96 percent of those responding agreed with the proposal.

Once the change takes place later this year the medical requirement for UK private pilot licence and national private pilot licence 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 counter signature) will remain available. The same options will also be available for 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 70 will need to do this once while pilots over 70 must confirm their declaration every three years.

The changes are planned to come into effect in late summer 2016 when a new version of the UK Air Navigation Order legislation will be published and which will contain these changes and other significant amendments for general aviation.

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 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 Federal Aviation Administration in the USA, which mirrors the UK proposal, was also reviewed.

Currently, UK PPL holders are able to fly EASA aircraft using the privileges of a LAPL. This is anticipated to change in 2018, at which point the benefits of this change in medical requirements will decrease for those pilots. However, the CAA aim to influence EASA in considering reviewing the medical requirements for EASA Private Pilot licence holders flying EASA aircraft.

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