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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.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

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

4 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

5 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

12 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

13 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

15 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

US will require hot air balloon pilots to pass medical exam