Teams of AOPA experts are examining the Jan. 10 announcement, which at first look appears to closely mirror the legislation signed into law on July 15, 2016. Pilots should note that BasicMed will not be effective until May 1, so they cannot fly under the rule until then."BasicMed is the best thing to happen to general aviation in decades," said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. "By putting medical decisions in the hands of pilots and their doctors, instead of the FAA, these reforms will improve safety while reducing burdensome and ineffective bureaucracy that has thwarted participation in general aviation."
During the announcement, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, “I believe BasicMed is a win for the general aviation community, and I’m happy that our FAA team has brought it across the finish line.”
In the near future, AOPA will be offering a free online medical course to let pilots comply with the BasicMed rules. The course is just one part of a range of AOPA's Fit to Fly resources for pilots and physicians created to help people take full advantage of BasicMed. The Fit to Fly resources also include an interactive tool that helps you determine if you qualify for BasicMed as well as FAQs and other important information for you and your doctor.
AOPA will closely review the new rule and associated advisory circular, and keep members informed about flying under the new regulations.
"As with any regulation, the details are critical, and we’ll be carefully analyzing the rule and seeking clarification where needed," said Jim Coon, AOPA senior vice president of government affairs. "We, along with our supporters in Congress, worked diligently to bring these reforms to pilots, and now we need to make sure they deliver the benefits lawmakers intended."
Under the reforms, pilots who have held a valid medical certificate any time in the decade prior to July 15, 2016, may not need to take another FAA medical exam. The 10-year lookback period applies to both regular and special issuance medicals. Pilots whose most recent medical certificate was revoked, suspended, withdrawn, or denied will need to obtain a new medical certificate before they can operate under the reforms. Pilots who have never held an FAA medical certificate, including student pilots, will need to go through the process one time only.
The FAA explained that “what we’re providing is an alternative path. Under BasicMed, the FAA provides two avenues to meet the medical requirements.”
After meeting the initial requirements to fly under the reforms, pilots will need to visit any state-licensed physician at least once every four years and take the free aeromedical factors online course every two years. The course will be available for free on AOPA’s website. A certificate of completion of the course and the checklist from the physician must be kept in the pilot’s logbook; alternatively, pilots may carry a legible representation, such as a smartphone image, of the document to be able to show to an FAA inspector if asked. The checklist will be a four-page form that includes instructions for you and your physician. No information from the checklist you complete along with your physician is sent to the FAA.
"The course will put the focus on safety," said AOPA Pilot Information Center Medical Certification Section Director Gary Crump. "We encourage members to take notes as they work though the course so they’re prepared to answer the questions at the end."
Elizabeth A Tennyson
Senior Director of Communications
AOPA Senior Director of Communications Elizabeth Tennyson is an instrument-rated private pilot who first joined AOPA in 1998.
Go to Elizabeth A Tennyson's Profile
Topics: Advocacy, Airman Regulation, Medical Reform
According to the table in 14 CFR 61.23 (d), the expiration date of your medical is based on your age "on the date of examination for your most recent medical certificate."
So, if you were 39 on the date of the examination, you're good for 60 months.
There is a possibility that the requirement to renew 3rd class medicals may go away completely soon. On Dec 15, 2015, the U.S. Senate passed the "Pilot's Bill of Rights 2". The bill would still need to be passed by the House and signed by the President before it would take effect. As of Dec 15, it had 152 co-sponsors of both parties in the House. According to AOPA:
Under the medical reforms of Pilot's Bill of Rights 2, most pilots who have held a valid third class medical, either regular or special issuance, within 10 years of the legislation’s enactment would never need to get another FAA medical exam. The rule would apply to pilots flying VFR or IFR in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds and carrying up to five passengers at altitudes below 18,000 feet and speeds up to 250 knots.
Pilots who develop certain medical conditions, including a small list of specific cardiac, mental health, or neurological conditions, will have to get an FAA special issuance medical one time only, significantly reducing the time and money spent navigating the FAA’s medical bureaucracy.
For pilots who have not had a valid medical in the past 10 years and those who have never applied for and received a medical certificate, a one-time third class medical certification by an aviation medical examiner will be required. After a pilot has been medically certified once, either through the regular or special-issuance processes, he or she will also be able to fly indefinitely without needing to go through the FAA medical certification process again.