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FAA Announces Change in Special Issuance Medical Certification

April 11, 2013 - This week the federal air surgeon announced a major change to the medical certification process for several common diagnoses that have previously required a special issuance and a review process by the FAA prior to issuing a medical certificate.

Under the new policy, termed "Certificates an AME Can Issue" or "CACI," applicants with arthritis, asthma, glaucoma, chronic hepatitis C, hypertension, hypothyroidism, migraine and chronic headache, pre-diabetes, and renal cancer can receive their medical certificates directly from their AME. Further diagnoses are expected to be announced in the coming months.

The AME will require certain documentation but this does not have to be forwarded to the FAA as in the case of a special issuance. The resulting medical certificate is good for the normal duration, depending on the age of the applicant and/or the class of medical.

Members of the EAA Aeromedical Advisory Council were heavily involved in bringing about these changes. "We are incredibly fortunate to have the Aeromedical Advisory Council at EAA," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "These six AMEs are among the most experienced and respected doctors in the aeromedical business, and this announcement represents the culmination of several years of hard work on this policy they have done on behalf of our membership."

Source: EAA News, 11 Apr 2013 (

Protected Airspace for Circling Approaches To Expand

The FAA will begin publishing instrument approaches that use larger circling-approach airspace dimensions on May 2, addressing industry safety groups' assertions that the radii were "insufficient to contain large, jet transport airplanes during the circle-to-land maneuver," according to NBAA. This increase in circling protected airspace will provide improved lateral clearance from obstacles, while allowing additional maneuvering room to assist pilots in stabilizing the final approach and landing, the association noted. The lack of maneuvering room in circling approaches has led to an increased frequency of runway overruns after circle-to-land approaches, NBAA said. U.S. terminal procedures approach charts will have a "Negative C" circle icon, and Jeppesen charts a "Negative C" diamond icon, to identify circling minimums that use the new expanded circling area dimensions. Circling minimums without these icons still use the smaller circling area dimensions, NBAA said. Under the expanded minimums, circling radii could be up to 1 nm larger than they were previously. NBAA has set up a dedicated web page to explain these changes (

Source: Aviation International News AINalerts, 23 Apr 2013 (

FAA Changes Alternate Airport GPS Policy

A change in FAA policy that allows the use of GPS approaches at alternate airports should be welcome news for pilots. "Operators are now permitted to file a flight plan for a GPS approach at either the destination or an alternate, but not both," according to NBAA. The new policy took effect on April 4. Previously pilots could fly GPS approaches only at the destination airport. "Allowing operators to plan for GPS approaches at alternate airports provides more flexibility and will help alleviate delays," according to NBAA, which notes that the change is especially important in the context of looming sequestration cuts. The policy change, according to the FAA, is based "on research that demonstrated a satisfactorily low probability of a missed approach or diversion and an even more remote probability concerning loss of navigation." To take advantage of the new policy, aircraft must have GPS-based nav systems with fault detection and exclusion capability; pilots must perform a Raim prediction for the airport with the GPS approach and have the required knowledge and training; and the conventional approach at either the destination or alternate must be flyable without GPS.

Source: Aviation International News AINalerts, 9 Apr 2013 (

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