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U.S. FAA proposes requiring balloon pilots to hold medical certificates -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO A passenger hot air balloon floats above a rising moon, as the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), continues to spread in Cardiff, California on August 30, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photograph

WASHINGTON (Reuters – Tuesday’s announcement by the Federal Aviation Administration stated that they are proposing to require pilots of commercial hot air balloons to obtain medical certificates in order after a deadly 2016 balloon crash. It was the worst U.S. aviation accident since 2009.

In its previous investigation into the Texas balloon accident that claimed 16 lives in July 2016, the National Transportation Safety board had criticised the FAA. About 30 miles (50km), south of Austin, a balloon collided with a power line. The ballon plummeted into flames and crashed in a pasture.

Investigators found that the pilot of the balloon and the owner were both killed. They also failed to disclose any drug or alcohol-related arrests back in 1987. He did not have a valid driver’s license at the time of the crash and had been incarcerated twice.

Pilots of balloons do not need to have a medical certificate. However, they cannot fly if they are suffering from certain conditions.

The 2018 Congress authorized the FAA’s revision of the medical certificate standards for commercial balloon-pilots. According to the FAA, the rule proposed by them would allow commercial pilots to obtain a second-class medical certification.

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