FAA Clarifies Medical Requirements

From NAFI's Chair

FAA Clarifies Medical Requirements

The FAA has issued a notice of proposed rule-making (NPRM) to remove regulatory inconsistencies that have caused misunderstandings over the fact that medical certificates are not required for check pilots and instructors at commercial operations who perform their functions in aircraft, as long as they are not serving as part of a required flight crew. Current regulations are contradictory. For example, FAR 135.338(b)(5) states that flight instructors (aircraft) must hold at least a third-class medical certificate; however, FAR 135.338(e) states that an airman who does not hold a medical certificate may serve as a flight instructor in an aircraft if functioning as a non-required crew-member. According to the FAA, this confusion has unnecessarily limited airmen to conducting check pilot functions in flight simulation training devices. Changes are also proposed for similar contradictions in Part 121.

Requiring a medical certificate for check pilots and flight instructors who are not serving as required flight crew-members is an "unnecessary burden," the FAA said. "Moreover, there has been no degradation in the safe operation of aircraft resulting from the current application of the regulations during the estimated eight years the agency has allowed eligible check airmen and flight instructors to serve without medical certificates if not serving as required crew-members." Comments on the NPRM, which is available here, are due August 2. Read more here.

FAA Will Issue AD for Some Boeing 737NG, MAX Aircraft for Leading Edge Slats
Boeing has informed the FAA that certain 737NG and 737MAX leading edge slat tracks may have been improperly manufactured and may not meet all applicable regulatory requirements for strength and durability. The FAA determined that up to 148 parts manufactured by a Boeing supplier are affected. Boeing has identified groups of both 737NG and 737MAX airplane serial numbers on which these suspect parts may have been installed. 32 NG and 33 MAX are affected in the United States, while the affected worldwide fleet are 133 NG and 179 MAX aircraft.

The FAA will issue an Airworthiness Directive to mandate Boeing's service actions to identify and remove the parts from service. Operators of affected aircraft are required to perform this action within 10 days. The FAA today also alerted international civil aviation authorities of this condition and required actions. Read more here.

FAA Safety Briefing on Return to Service

Some fatal GA accidents have been caused by flying in an aircraft that was undergoing maintenance and was not approved for return to service. Before you fly, check for the signed Approval for Return to Service entry in the aircraft logbook.
You may download the FAA's Fact Sheet here for more information.

Bob Meder,
NAFI Board Chair
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