AP

US will require hot air balloon pilots to pass medical exam

Nov 16, 2022, 12:38 PM | Updated: 1:16 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators are requiring pilots of hot air balloons carrying paying passengers to pass an annual medical exam, similar to the requirement for pilots of commercial planes and helicopters.

The Federal Aviation Administration adopted a long-delayed final rule on Wednesday that includes the requirement for a medical certificate, which includes examination by an FAA-approved examiner.

Congress approved the requirement in 2018 and directed FAA to adopt a rule detailing the requirement by the spring of 2019. When that deadline came and went, lawmakers accused the agency of ignoring Congress’ directions.

Balloon pilots had long been exempt from the requirement. The FAA instead went along with voluntary guidelines set by an industry trade group. The National Transportation Safety Board recommended ending the exemption, however.

Safety board members criticized the FAA after a 2016 crash in Texas that killed all 16 people on board, the deadliest hot air balloon accident in U.S. history. Investigators determined that the pilot was probably impaired by a variety of medicines when he flew into a power line. The man had told his psychiatrist that he stopped taking his antidepressant medication, and the psychiatrist documented the man’s mood as “not good.”

Robert Sumwalt, then the chairman of the safety board, questioned why the FAA endorsed voluntary requirements written by a balloon industry trade group instead of tightening regulations.

Last November, the FAA published proposal to require medical certificates. About 200 people and groups commented before the agency issued its final rule.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Several hundred students and pro-Palestinian supporters rally at the intersection of Grove and Coll...

Associated Press

Pro-Palestinian protests sweep US college campuses following mass arrests at Columbia

Columbia canceled in-person classes, dozens of protesters were arrested at New York University and Yale, and the gates to Harvard Yard were closed to the public Monday.

2 days ago

Ban on sleeping outdoors under consideration in Supreme Court...

Associated Press

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

The Supreme Court is wrestling with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness as it considers a ban on sleeping outdoors.

2 days ago

Arizona judge declares mistrial in case of rancher who shot migrant...

Associated Press

Arizona judge declares mistrial in the case of a rancher accused of fatally shooting a migrant

An Arizona judge declared a mistrial in the case of rancher accused of killing a Mexican man on his property near the U.S.-Mexico border.

2 days ago

Donald Trump appears in court for opening statements in his criminal trial for allegedly covering u...

Associated Press

Trump tried to ‘corrupt’ the 2016 election, prosecutor alleges as hush money trial gets underway

Donald Trump's criminal trial in New York over alleged hush money payments started with opening statements on Monday.

3 days ago

This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

5 days ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

US will require hot air balloon pilots to pass medical exam