JAR-FCL (Discussion in Germany)


For two years now the new fitness criteria apply. As for pilots, also for flight surgeons the new rules provided plentiful displeasure, in various ways.

Costs and their consequences on general aviation

The Medical became clearly more expensive (up to approximately 250 € euro), additional fees are with the optician (100 - 150 € ) and, if a Waivor Examination becomes necessary (Specialist Examination: several hundreds €, plus consultants charging (JVEG) 85€ per hour), the licensing authority dues from 240 € upwards.

In particular vision waivers, and many new (Waivor Examinations) “Sonderuntersuchungen”. The costs of these “Sonderuntersuchungen” rose partially into the thousands of euros. Concerned are above all older pilots. Some of them gave up flying unnerved and frustrated.

This development can be read in the Club statistics. The member statistics of the German aero club proves today thousands of glider pilots less than before two years. This concerns here more than ten per cent of the German Glider Pilots. The further development is not foreseeable.



Frustration of the pilots articulated itself loudly in InterNet Websites and forums. In particular the action alliance “JAR CONTRA” had put influence on politics, authorities and on the German aero club. The imbalance of the new medical practice is denounced substantial. Headlines like "Absurd fitness catalog makes unfit with smallest medical deviations " or "There is no proof for the need of medical fitness investigations in glider flying" became world-wide the credo of the scene.

With their demands, to reduce the present medical standards, against authority arbitrariness and bureaucratic overregulation of JAR FCL the pilots took a position in the last months decidedly.One criticizes above all, that JAR FCL 3 in particular had Professional Flying in mind and not private pilot and air sport licenses thereby without special consideration to be included. Translations of JAR into German took place with unnecessary aggravations and translation errors, with partially fatal consequences, like unnecessarily hard reporting rules in cases of banal illnesses.

JAR Contra did not argue softly. The attacks were directed against Ministry of Transportation, the executive committees of the DAeCs and the flight surgeon federation. Some political representatives who were personally attacked, responded understandably very much annoyed.In the consequence conferences and meetings took place, on annual Aeroclub meetings, and at air shows even the Federal Office of Aviation with the leading flight surgeon and the aviation-medical centers (AMC) took part.

Petitions to the parliament

The Petitions to the parliament had some success. The committee on petitions of the German Bundestag confirmed the legal standard of the demands and passed it on to the traffic Ministry - one sound-ends slap for the regulation giver.

At the end of 2004 was signaled for the first time by the Ministry of Transportation obligingness. AOPA Germany and the DAeC were asked, to compile suggestions on the simplification of the national Medical system for Recreational Pilots. In September 2004 the DAeC had already called the working group Medical in the life, in the federation physicians, Air sport advisers, Flight safety supervisors and further function carriers were discussing alternatives.

Suggestions on European level

On European level already European Air Sport was active, the European roof federation of the national Aeroclubs. It developed with its medical advisor, Flight surgeon Dr. Peter Saundby, the concept, that in particular the Glider license should not fall under JAR FCL 3. In Great Britain also JAR FCL 3 remained an Aeroclub License.

Contrary to Germany British Recreational Pilots with their Medical are subject to reduced administration and standards. The medical fitness examinations are adapted to the risks and kind of the kind of flying. The phenomenon "sudden incapacitation” is not more frequently expected here even without Medical than with a Medical. The risk outgoing from recreational pilots concerning the Third party Risk is set practically to zero.

It applies the principle of the direct responsibility of the pilot. That is, health restrictions and the responsibility for Fitness stay with the pilot. A goal is, to keep administration as small as possible. Pilots with health restrictions and/or age dismantling get, so far justifiably, a reduced solo pilot license. So much to British practice.

Concepts developed by European Air Sport are that fitness investigations from the flight surgeon (aeromedical examiner: AME) should also be done by the family doctor. That is particularly then recommendable, if the family doctor knows the pilot very well and he has, like in the UK, usually access to the entire health data.The requirement for a Medical is seen critical, since it can be completely different. The largest pilot nation of the world, the USA, requires no Medical for Glider Pilots. For Recreational Pilots in powered flight exist partially easements. In Europe Switzerland does likewise after an entrance fitness investigation with Glider Pilots, in following years without further Medicals. This practice is justified by accident statistics, among other by the international AOPA. After these statistics concerning recreational pilots no improvement of flight safety arises as a result of flier fitness investigations.

Opinion of German authorities and organizations about the necessity of JAR-FCL 3

Aviation Medicine in Germany proceeded so far from totally different conceptions. Flier fitness investigations are judged necessary for accident avoidance as absolutely necessary. It might be difficult, to solve this conflict in the near future by an agreement.Around an appropriate risk estimate on basis of scientific investigations we do not come to a reasonable compromise. Usable investigations are at present in Germany hardly available, however in the Anglo/American scientific arena.

As a decision criterion for the relevance of health troubles years ago in England the CAA developed for pilots the One per cent rule (see: T.Evans, JAR CONTRA WebSite source collection). This means, that the probability of failure for pilot is not to exceed 1 per cent with a defined illness in the following year.

JAR FCL 3 took over the 1 per cent guideline for flightworthyness. JAR sets now however at the same time recreational pilots to the same level as professional pilots of class 1.

For the view of threshold risk of recreational pilots this value appears however too high. Peter Saundby refers to it, that with the minimum existing risk opposite third parties by recreational pilots the limit value could be increased easily to the statistic risk by two per cent. In other words: The fitness requirements can be reduced.

Especially the older pilot has an interest, to be able to keep up with their aeronautical activities - appropriate Fitness presumed - into the higher age. With this desire today the democratic principles and the general legal aspects of equal opportunity and discrimination are to be considered.

There should be thus fitness and license defaults for handicapped leisure pilots, also reduced. This aspect in all other respects already led into many ranges of daily life to adapted regulations.

Undisputed is in the modern state also, that the expenditure and the means for the conversion of a law must be in appropriate relation to the objectives. Substantially this applies also to the overcompensation within general aviation.

The “Working Group “Medical of the DAeC” came to completely similar results. Those could affect the positions of other European Countries and Europe Air Sports . A new Aviation Medical system to compile from the scratch was practically not possibly. The DAeC fell back therefore to existing national systems. The simplified license procedures and medical fitness criteria of the British Gliding Association served as model; beyond that we checked the regulations from Australia, New Zealand, the USA, valid regulations. On this basis the working group provided a suggestion of fitness criteria for SEL Pilots (airplanes to 2 t MTOW) Glider Pilots up to the “balloon driver”.

Position of the German Aero Club

The following core statements describe today the position of the German Aero Club for the recreational pilots.

* Also in Recreational Flying flight safety has priority.

* the fitness criteria are to orient themselves at reduced standards, adapted to the individual aeronautical activity.

* special arrangements for old and handicapped pilots must be practicable.

* beside the flight surgeons (AMEs) also family doctors should be available for simple Medicals. That serves for to the simplification and regional availability.

* participating physicians are obligated, to keep rules and standards of a future set of rules.

* simple practicable waiver rules and procedures. Supported by an Experienced Aeroclub Medical Advisor.

* The flight surgeon should be present in the association and at the airfield, in order to be able to make an effective contribution to flight safety.

European driving licence regulations offer themselves, even here is a European Union standard, as option for a Pilot Medical. They are relatively generally and simply held and make a two-class system possible. In the Restricted standard the pilot can fly with reduced health standards, however not with passengers. Further details are under review.

A periodic self declaration of the pilot to his health is to be countersigned in writing by a physician. This can be on basis of knowledge of the person, the medical documents, or in addition, on basis of an investigation.

The self declaration is not a Medical Examination. It is a review of the health condition, it makes the classification into appropriate license standards possible. On this basis the pilot must always meet solely responsible his decision to the flight. - Signature denial by the physician is possible. – What is substantial: The criteria for the receipt of a special permission are simplified.

What hardly someone knows: Also in Germany motorists must consider such standards, even if there is no medical check up. So a non treated Epileptic may not drive a car.

The DAeC published its suggestion at the end of 2004 (representation and forms in the InterNet).

Both for the pilot and for the physician appropriate simple guidance in writing is given for filling out the templates.

There is the suggestion of an improvement of flight safety with fewer restrictions, but more individual responsibility of the flyer. Association structures in Germany are here helpful.

Beyond that is each air sport section (balloon, UL- and Glider Pilots etc.) after this system solely responsible, with support of federation physicians and the assistance of others, national institutions for aviation, own federation rules will apply.

A reduced Fitness is after consultation and arrangement with specialists, an Aeromedical Examiner (AME) or Aeromedical center (AMC) a waiver decision is possible. Waivers are to be nationally collected and later on a regular basis periodically evaluated, in order thereafter to be scientifically checked.

Deviations in the implementation

In some European Union states there are obviously deviations to the JAR Medical. Thus one country, France achieved practible solutions for recreational pilots also in agreement with the federations. After initial problems flight surgeons can act there solely responsible.

ee also

Aviation medicine

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