FAA may require medical certificates in a proposed balloon pilot rule
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Aviation Administration is proposing stricter rules for commercial hot air balloon pilots.
According to the FAA, public comment will soon be taken for a proposed rule requiring balloon pilots to hold medical certificates if they are flying paying customers. The required certificates would be the same as what is required for airline pilots.
The FAA specifically cited a 2016 deadly balloon crash in Lockhart, Texas, within the document, as a catalyst for the rule. The document states the pilot had drug and alcohol issues and mental health issues that would have been flagged, had he received the proposed certificates.
The deadly balloon crash in Albuquerque in June was not referenced in the document – the NTSB has not ruled on the cause of the crash. However, a toxicology report showed pilot Nicholas Meleski had marijuana and cocaine in his system.
The public will have 60 days to weigh in on the proposed rule, which can be found here.