House passes hot air balloon regulations
By Miles Smith
A five-year bill containing legislation designed to prevent medically unfit pilots from causing balloon crashes such as the tragedy that struck outside Lockhart nearly two years ago was approved 393-13 last week by the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018 contains an amendment requiring medical certifications for hot air balloon pilots. After passing the House, the bill is up for review by the U.S. Senate.
The National Transportation Safety Board found that the FAA’s lack of a rule requiring balloon operators to obtain medical certificates contributed to the Caldwell County crash.
The hot air balloon amendment was championed by U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) and, prior to that, gained traction through the efforts of other local officials including State Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) and Caldwell County Office of Emergency Management Chief Martin Ritchey.
For more, read this week’s Post-Register.