CASA will introduce a new aviation medical standard next year based on the Austroads commercial vehicle driver's standard.
To be known as the Basic Class 2, the new standard will require pilots to be assessed by a general practitioner only rather than a Designated Aviation Medical Examiner (DAME).
The Basic Class 2 will apply only to private VFR pilots flying aircraft with no more than five passengers on board and will also exclude aerobatic flight, IFR and NVFR. A full Class 2 medical will still be required for those operations.
Basic Class 2 holders will be able to fly in controlled airspace.
Class 1 and Class 3 medical standards will remain unchanged, but commercial pilots flying operations that don't carry fare-paying passengers will now need only an unrestricted Class 2.
The changes, to be implemented across 2018, come after medical reforms in the UK and USA, and CASA's own AVMED discussion paper, which elicited over 180 responses in March this year.
CASA CEO and Director of Aviation Safety, Shane Carmody, believes the reforms will maintain appropriate medical standards whilst reducing the burden on the aviation community.
“CASA has been engaged with the aviation community and made a series of fundamental reforms to aviation medical certification," he said.
“We have initially focussed on changes that benefit general aviation because this sector has been telling us the current medical certification system was causing real difficulties.
“In the interests of public safety it is important that pilots meet relevant medical standards, but the system must not make unnecessary demands and should meet the needs of the aviation community.
“I am pleased we are making changes that will see more appropriate medical standards applied to flying training and aerial agriculture – two vital sectors of Australian aviation.
“CASA will now continue to review the aviation medical system to identify possible improvements in areas such as using medical data more effectively, further streamlining processes, further reducing CASA involvement in medicals and harmonising with global best practices.
“It is CASA’s role to maintain appropriate aviation safety standards but the requirements must not unnecessarily burden Australian aviation and hinder development and growth.”
Part of the reforms will see the Recreational Aviation Medical Practitioner's Certificate (RAMPC) dropped for holders of Recreational Pilot Licences, with RPLs going onto the new Basic Class 2 standard.