• Aviation medical standards in Australia have been under scrutiny for years.
    Aviation medical standards in Australia have been under scrutiny for years.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority today published a discussion paper (DP) on the future of medical certification standards.

Coming after moves by regulators in the UK and USA to relax standards, and representations to CASA from the Sport Aircraft Association of Australia (SAAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the DP explores possible changes to the current regime of medical examinations.

"Aviation medicine is complex," Acting CASA CEO Shane Carmody says in the DP introduction, "involving medical, regulatory and legal considerations. Mindful of this complexity, we have decided that a wide-ranging discussion paper is the best way to canvass community views about medical certification in the sport, recreation, general aviation, aerial work, air transport and air traffic control sectors alike."

The SAAA and AOPA have been pushing for Class 2 medicals (PPL) to be abolished and medical standards re-set to match those required by a driver's licence, similar to the new UK regulations, FAA proposal and the Recreational Aviation Medical Practitioner's Certificate (RAMPC).

CASA's DP explores all medical standards, not just Class 2, and proposes six options for consideration.

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Re-assess the risk tolerances in the context of industry and community expectations.
  3. Examine and streamline practices for all classes including the approach to incapacitation.
  4. Extend the RAMPC so that it applies more widely in the sport aviation sector as well.
  5. Develop a new certification standard for the sport and recreational sectors.
  6. Mitigate the risk of change by applying operational restrictions.

According to CASA, the aim of the DP is to "stimulate debate and raise awareness of our current approach to aviation medicine, the propriety of current medical fitness standards, the factors involved in aeromedical decision-making and related considerations, and developments internationally and in other jurisdictions."

CASA has given the aviation community until 30 March 2017 to lodge submission to the DP.

The DP is currently on the CASA website.

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