CASA Exemption 68/of 2012

 

Published October 2012

 

Driving licence type medical certificate for private operations

 

1. CASA is now permitting a VH pilot to fly with a driver’s licence medical. However, there are some catches. The fact that you can drive does not necessarily mean you are good to fly under this new scheme. The scheme operates as an exemption to the normal medical requirements for a person holding an ATPL, Commercial or Private pilot’s licence. The medical is called a DL medical certificate (aviation) and only permits private operations even if you use your existing commercial or ATPL pilot’s licence to fly. The exemption is dated 29 June 2012 and was registered 3 July 2012. The exemption is a Legislative Instrument under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003. It remains in force until the end of 31 May 2015.

 

2. If you don’t have the need to see a specialist for an existing condition, your GP can complete the necessary paper work for you and you then file it with CASA. One should take the necessary 3 forms with you when you see your GP. (Forms 116A, B and C).

 

You can print these forms from my site. Click here to open them and then print them (then click the “back” arrow to continue with this article). If you wish to down load the forms - right click on the above link and go to "Save Target As".

 

3. If you are under 65 the medical is good for 2 years, above 65 is limited to one year. It is for private day time VFR flights only in a single piston engine aircraft which has a maximum take off weight (MTOW) of 1500 kg or less. MTOW is defined in the 1988 Regs as “…the weight set out in the certificate of airworthiness of, or the flight manual for, the aircraft as the maximum take-off weight.”The exemption has no definition of MTOW to change the existing definition. Thus one is restricted to the aircraft’s certified MTOW and even when the plane is being flown with a qualified co-pilot. In my opinion this is unsatisfactory. If you have a qualified co-pilot in a control seat, why should you be restricted to 1500 kg?

 

4. For a person to be a passenger being flown by a DL medical pilot they have to be a ‘qualified passenger.’ This means they have to be told they are being flown by a DL medical pilot and told it is a lower standard than the usual Class 1 or 2 and also told that the flight is one under a CASA exemption from the usual requirement to hold a medical and that this exemption imposes conditions to the flight. A pilot under this scheme is restricted to one passenger unless the co-pilot holds a Class 1 or 2 medical. If you have the qualified co-pilot you can carry a normal load of passengers and do not need to explain that you are flying under a DL Medical. The 1500 kg limit still applies.

 

5. Before you can fly you must email the three mentioned forms to rec.medical@casa.gov.au and then wait for an acknowledgment from CASA. Sending these forms as separate attachments seems to assist. At the time of writing this article, the acknowledgment is -

Thank you for registering your driver’s licence medical (aviation) with CASA. The registration process is now complete. From the time of receipt of this email you can fly under the conditions of CASA Instrument EX68/12.

 

When exercising the privilege of your flight crew licence you must carry your signed driver’s licence medical (aviation) certificate and this acknowledgement email as proof of registration.

 

6. CFIs and ATOs are permitted to test pilots holding this DL Medical but must see the DL medical certificate, the CASA acknowledgment of registration and must ensure the test is restricted to the permitted operations of the DL Medical.

 

7. A pilot under this scheme is restricted to 10,000 feet unless flying with the qualified co-pilot. There is also no aerobatic (the instrument uses the word acrobatic) flying unless you have the qualified co-pilot and qualified to do this flying.

 

8. The exemption also makes demands for extra requirements to the road medical standard. They are defined as ‘additional fitness standards’ and are set out in Schedule 2 of the legislative instrument. This Schedule details in clause 2 the medical conditions which will exclude you. Corrected vision is acceptable. The CASA website shows an expanded list of exclusions which are, in my opinion, beyond the clear wording of clause 2 in Schedule 2 of the instrument. In a very shortened nutshell, you do not fall within the exemption if any of these apply:

 

  • Any cancer except a basal cell skin cancer treated by excision with no metastasized sequelae, within 5 years of the DL medical assessment. Brain cancer will be an exclusion from this scheme regardless of timing.
  • ECG changes.
  • A history of heart failure except if no history within 3 three years and since the last episode there has been continuous case management and the DL medical assessment is carried out by the treating specialist.
  • An inability to hear a conversation at 2 metres even with a hearing aid.
  • A muscle or skeleton disability, disorder or disease which restricts the normal manipulation of the aircraft controls without modification to the aircraft.
  • A history of transient ischemic attack – I have taken this to be a “transient episode of neurologic dysfunction caused by ischemia (loss of blood flow) – either focal brain, spinal cord or retinal – without acute infarction (tissue death)” as described by Wikipedia.
  • MS, cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s disease.
  • Non trivial head injury. That is, not suffered a loss of consciousness, amnesia after a knock or abnormal findings in a CT or MRI of the head.
  • A history of kidney stones or renal pain.
  • A balance disorder or vertigo.

 

9. The Form 166A should be completed but not signed and taken to the doctor where you will sign the form in front of the practitioner. This form asks you an amazing number of questions including “How often during the last year have you needed a first drink in the morning to get yourself going after a heavy drinking session?” One of the permitted multi choice answers is ‘daily or almost daily.’ One has to assume the author of these questions trusts the applicant to answer truthfully. The Form 116B is a questionnaire for the doctor to complete. The Form 116C is the actual medical certificate to be completed by the doctor. Take all three forms with you when you leave the GP. Scan and email them to the above email address (Paragraph 5).

 

Conclusion: This is a first step by CASA for a private pilot who wishes to fly their smaller VH aircraft without the stricter Class 2 medical requirements. It will be noted that diabetics are not at first blush excluded under the Legislative Instrument. Hopefully the exemption will be extended to permit at least three passengers.

 

C. McKeown

22 October 2012