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FAA Rolls Out Cruz Rule to Increase Safety for Commercial Balloon Operators, Riders

‘Precautions like this will help to make sure the tragedy in Lockhart never happens again‘

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Commerce Committee, today announced that the rule created by his amendment to the FAA Reauthorization of 2018 has been officially implemented by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The rule will ensure that commercial balloon operators hold a second-class medical certificate in order to conduct commercial flights.

Sen. Cruz said:

“Following the deadly hot air balloon crash that took place in Lockhart, Texas back in 2016, I made it my mission to advocate for increased, preventative safety provisions for commercial balloons. In order to prevent the recurrence of a tragic event like this, I worked to pass the bipartisan Commercial Balloon Pilot Safety Act as part of the FAA Reauthorization, which stipulated that commercial hot air balloon operators must have a second-class medical certificate, just like what is required of other pilots.  

“Rules like this will help to make sure the tragedy in Lockhart never happens again, and I am proud to have led the fight to make commercial hot air balloons safer for future riders and operators.” 

The full text of the rule can be read here.

Sen. Cruz has a long history of advocating on behalf of the victims in Lockhart and for increased aviation regulation for commercial balloon operators.

  • Cruz sponsored the bipartisan Commercial Balloon Pilot Safety Act of 2017.
  • Cruz amended the Commercial Balloon Pilot Safety Act of 2017 onto the FAA Reauthorization Bill of 2018.
  • Cruz wrote a letter to the FAA Administrator to raise concerns regarding the FAA’s failure to implement commercial balloon flight safety standards in 2019.