BasicMed Explained

Third class medical reform rule was released on January 10.

Within no time, online forums and social media was flooded by pilots as they were eager to know whether they qualify for BasicMed as per their specific flying situation.

From May 1, pilots will be able to fly under BasicMed.

Before cranking the engine, pilots pass a physical exam from a state-licensed physician, have the associated checklist completed, and complete an online aero medical course.

Pilots should note that these requirements need to be fulfilled in the given order because information from the exam are required to be conveyed after the completion of the aero medical course.

Pilots are advised to go through the advisory circular and regulation to become familiar with the limitations and privileges of BasicMed.

Here are answers to some common questions that a pilot may have:

I wish to fly with BasicMed from May 1, but how will my current medical certification feature in that?

As per BasicMed, pilots may not need to undergo FAA medical exam if they held a valid medical certificate any time in the decade prior to July 15, 2016. This ten year period is applicable on both special and regular issuance medicals.

Pilots whose medical have expired and want to find out if they fall in the look back period, should check the expiration of their most recent medical certificate.

The “Date of Examination” on the certificate and the time period given in 14 CFR 61.23(d) are used to determine the expiration date.

The expiration date depends on age (at the time of exam) for pilots who have regular medical certificate:

  • Age 40
  • Over 40
  • Under 40

On special issuance certificate, expiration dates are given.

Third class medical certificates for pilots aged 40 or above on the date of their examination are valid for two years.

Medical examination done on or after July 15, 2004 will fulfill the 10 year period described

Persons age on Examination Date Validity of Third Class medical Meeting 10 Year Period Described in FESSA
Pilots age 40 or above 2 years Examination done one or after July 15, 2004
Pilots age below 40 3 years Examination done on or after July 15, 2003

The validity of third class medical is as per rule prior to 2008.

A new medical certificate is required to operate under BasicMed, if, most recent medical certificate was:

  • Withdrawn
  • Suspended
  • Revoked
  • Most recent application was denied

New student pilots or those who never held a medical certificate from FAA will have to obtain the same, one time only.

What should I do if my medical expired before May 1?

Pilots whose medical certificate will expire before May 1 should hold a valid and current medical certificate to continue their flying as pilot in command under higher certification levels or recreational purpose.

Your medical certificate expired? – Just don’t fly as pilot in command or fly with an instructor to keep your flying skills fresh – between expiration of medical certificate and May 1 when BasicMed starts.

Sports pilot or of light sport aircraft can use their driver’s license medical.

If your query has not been answered yet, you can contact the Pilot Information Center of AOPA.

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