My Letter to the chairman STC, I would ask that all instructors write and lobby your CI to vote against this proposal. This is really important!
I wish to express my disappointment in the proposal to require all instructors to have a medical certificate with one of the conditions being signed by a CAA aviation medical practitioner. It is appreciated this this is a necessary requirement for tandem instructors but to the best of my knowledge there has been no situation where this requirement would have had any effect in the last 50 years.
This proposal will add considerable expense and create many logistic problems (I have to travel 80 miles to attend a CAA aviation qualified practitioner every year) and there will be many experienced instructors who will now no longer continue to offer their valuable instructional services to our students. It is clear that this requirement will have a detrimental effect on many of our skydiving centres.
We will be in a situation where a consultant who deals with any given medical situation will not be able to sign an instructor as ‘fit to parachute’ whereas the CAA aviation medical practitioner will have to send for reports and may have to pursue further medical records but will still not be in as knowledgable a position as the doctor or consultant who deals directly with the instructor. This will inevitability result in unnecessary medical failures and protracted appeals. Why would a BPA member who is a doctor have to be an instructor to sign the medical? Surely if they were an experienced skydiver they would have sufficient knowledge to add to their experience in skydiving for signing these medicals?
No one would argue that instructors require to be certified medically fit for purpose but it should be sufficient for any doctor or if necessary a consultant treating a condition to be authorised to sign the medical form.
This is a major change in the medical requirements for instructors but I have seen no consultation or seeking of the wider instructors community opinion outside the working group, no evidence is sited to support these changes and I have to say this has been badly handled. We seem to be solving a problem that does not exist and the association has already had its fingers burned with major financial loss to the membership in regard to the perviously proposed age limits of pilots.
I strongly urge STC to reject this proposal in its current form and to insist that the requirement for aviation medical specialists be removed. We should also allow any BPA member who is a qualified doctor to sign without the requirement to be an instructor, C licence qualification should be more than sufficient for the level of experience required.