HAI urges caution on FAA waiver announcement
FAA Chief Counsel issues Enforcement Policy Notice re Expired Medical Certificate
Enforcement Policy is a LEGAL matter, HAI is told
“The US-based Helicopter Association International (HAI) has urged its members to contact their insurance company to check their requirements for medical certification for crewmembers in light of the FAA saying it would waive enforcement actions for the next three months For pilots or aircrewmens [SIC]whose medical certificate will expire between March 31 and June 30, 2020, the FAA has announced that it is waiving enforcement actions if they are unable to obtain a new certificate in a timely manner due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Helicopter Association International (HAI) still recommends affected personnel do not delay in obtaining a current medical certificate. “I note that the document was signed by Legal, not Flight Standards,” commented President and CEO James Viola. “It’s also possible that insurance companies may not acknowledge this document as binding.”
FAA Docket No. FAA-2020-0312 provides the requirements for and duration of the waiver for medical certificates issued under 14 CFR Part 67. In posting the new policy, the agency released this summary: “Due to extraordinary circumstances related to the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, until June 30, 2020, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will not take legal enforcement action against any person serving as a required pilot flight crewmember or flight engineer based on noncompliance with medical certificate duration standards when expiration of the required medical certificate occurs from March 31, 2020, through June 30, 2020.”
HAI further suggests contacting the operator’s insurance company if crewmembers intend to operate with an expired certificate. HAI is seeking further clarification on this FAA policy change and will provide additional guidance when it is available. In the meantime, HAI members should contact email@example.com with questions about this and other regulatory challenges.
The pronouncement was met with an immediate refutation:
This is not a 100% GET OUT OF JAIL” ticket. All airmen (a statutory term) may not fly if under 14 C.F.R. § 61.53 she/he has a disqualifying condition or is taking medicine/receiving treatment that would disqualify the airman from obtaining a medical certificate). The FAA will still take enforcement action for violations of this regulation § 61.53, not the expired medical certificate, as appropriate.
It might be advisable to call your insurance broker .Let him or her that you are flying under the Chief Counsel’s Policy, i.e. it is difficult/illegal (in some states) for you to go to your AME for a physical until the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
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