Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Basic Med- FAA Alternative Medical Certification Program for Pilots Starts May 1, 2017

Starting May 1 2017, in lieu of getting a third-class FAA airman certificate general aviation pilots acting solely as pilot in command seeking to operate a small aircraft (weighing less than 6,000 lbs and carrying 5 occupants or less) in accordance with Title14 of Code of the Federal Regulations (14 CFR), § 61.113(i) may obtain certification through a new program called  Basic Med (Title 14 CFR, Part 68) .   The announcement of the final rule was made at the FAA website.  The new program was legislated by Congress as part of the FAA Extension, Safety, Security Act of 2016 (FESSA), which includes relief from holding an FAA medical certificate for certain pilots. .  Not all pilots qualify under Basic Med.  To qualify and comply with CFR 61.113(i) a pilot must:

“…Hold or have held a valid first-, second-, or third-class medical certificate issued by the FAA at any time after July 14, 2006; and The most recent medical certificate held (including an authorization for a special issuance certificate) must have not been denied, suspended, revoked, or withdrawn.”

So for new pilots, who have never held a medical certificate, you are still required to see an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) to get your initial FAA medical certificate (regular or special issuance).

For those that qualify to fly under Basic Med you will also have to:

  • possess a valid driver’s license
  • Give consent to a National Driver Register check
  • have taken a Basic Med online medical education course within the past 24 calendar months
  • have completed a comprehensive medical examination with any state-licensed physician within the past 48 months
  • not fly for compensation or hire

The airman applicant will complete Section 2 of the Basic Med application which includes:  demographic information, medical history, medication use, use of corrective lenses, history of convictions and administrative actions, and visit to health professionals in the last 3 years.  The airman signs and dates the affirmation statements under the “Airman’s Signature and Declarations”, and brings the Basic Med application (Sections 1-3) to a state licensed physician who will perform and complete a comprehensive medical examination.

The examining physician is required to:

  • review all sections of the checklist, particularly SECTION 2 completed by the airman.

  • conduct a comprehensive medical examination in accordance with the checklist by: a. Examining each item specified; b. Exercising medical discretion, address, as medically appropriate, any medical conditions identified; and c. Exercising medical discretion, determine whether any medical tests are warranted as part of the comprehensive medical examination.

  • review and discuss all prescription and non-prescription medication(s) the individual reports taking and any potential to interfere with the safe operation of an aircraft or motor vehicle.

  • Complete the Physician’s Signature and Declaration.

  • Complete the Physician’s Information.

There are several available aeromedical resources on the flight hazards associated with medical conditions/medications, available for the state licensed physician to consult.  They include the following:

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