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Budd Helps Introduce Fair Qualifications for Pilots Act

Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Ted Budd (R-NC) helped introduce the Fair Qualifications for Pilots Act. The bipartisan bill would prohibit the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) from imposing onerous medical requirements on drone operators.

Currently, prospective commercial Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operators are required to meet the same medical qualifications as commercial airline pilots. This requirement runs counter to the recommendations of the FAA-sponsored Beyond Visual Line of Sight Aviation Rulemaking Committee, and is in place despite the clear differences in physical demands between the two roles. 

The bill was also sponsored by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Senator Budd said in a statement:

“The FAA should always prioritize safety in its regulations, but it must also use common sense. Burdensome medical requirements on drone pilots place an additional barrier to entry for UAS operators and could harm America’s thriving UAS industry. I’m proud to help propose legislation that would fix this issue.”

Senator Cruz said:

“Subjecting the operators of commercial drones, like those operating in Texas, to the same medical requirements as commercial pilots is completely illogical and will only limit the potential of this nascent technology. Our bipartisan legislation is consistent with issued recommendations, which state that the FAA should develop tailored medical qualifications for UAS operators. I am grateful to be joined by Sens. Warner and Budd in this important effort to prevent the medical discrimination of capable drone operators based on unreasonable and unnecessary standards.”

Senator Warner said: 

“The development and integration of unmanned systems into our economy has opened numerous doors and created countless opportunities, but right now we are using dated regulations to oversee a new technology. This legislation would eliminate unnecessary and discriminatory requirements that have prevented talented and capable pilots from operating these machines, diversifying and growing the drone workforce.”


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