Pilot’s Guide to BasicMed

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What is BasicMed?

If you’ve held a valid medical certificate at any point after July 14, 2006, you may never have to see an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) again under the BasicMed rule. BasicMed is an alternate way for pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements. To fly under BasicMed, pilots must print off a FAA Form 8700-2; BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC) and get your physical exam with a state-licensed physician. Then complete an online medical course and you’re ready to fly!

An important note is that third-class medical reform does not alleviate the need for pilots to continually self-certify when it comes to being fit for flight.  This includes consideration for any medications that may affect physical or cognitive abilities.  While it would make sense that a primary care physician would be in a better position to assess one’s overall health than the snapshot that takes place during the traditional AME exam, the process also depends on an honest and free exchange with your doctor.

BasicMed regulations are provied in 14 CFR Part 68.

Slow flight from cockpit

BasicMed flying can be thought of as recreational or personal flying – generally flight training and all types of flying short of commercial operations.

What type of flying can be accomplished under BasicMed?

The type of flying that is covered under BasicMed is that can be thought of as recreational or personal flying – generally flight training and all types of flying short of commercial operations including day and night VFR operations and even IFR flying.  When flying under basic med, there is a maximum number of passengers that may be carried – five (5) – and the aircraft operated is limited to six seats and may not be certified for more than 6,000 lbs.  Pilots are also altitude restricted to 18,000 feet MSL (no Class A operations) and a speed limit of 250 knots.

How often do I have to visit a physician under BasicMed?

BasicMed rules require that pilots visit their primary care physician (or any state-licensed physician) at least once every four years and provide the CMEC which includes topics to be discussed during the visit.  Both the pilot and physician need to sign the checklist stating that the items have been completed.  A record of the required visit should be documented in the pilot’s logbook and pilots should save their checklist. It’s also a good idea to maintain a copy of your expired medical as evidence that you held a valid medical after July 14, 2006 when the legislation was passed.  There is no additional need to report or file anything directly with FAA.

What type of training do I have to complete to fly under BasicMed?

Pilots are required to complete an online training course in aeromedical factors every two years.  The course is available free from AOPA or Mayo Clinic.  A copy of the course completion certificate should be saved and a notation of the training made in the pilot’s logbook.

physician

Pilots visit their primary care physician (or any state-licensed physician) at least once every four years and provide the CMEC.

What about special issuance medicals?

Perhaps the greatest financial and regulatory relief of BasicMed comes to those with special issuance medicals.  Special issuance medicals are an option for pilots with certain medical conditions that are specifically disqualifying.  Once FAA reviews the history and circumstances, the pilot may be cleared to fly under the special issuance authorization.

If you currently hold a special issuance third-class medical, or have held one after July 14, 2006, and do not suffer one of the specific cardiac, neurological, or mental health conditions identified as exceptions, you will never again be required to go through the special issuance process.

What conditions require a special issuance before operating under BasicMed?

  • A mental health disorder, limited to an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of—
    • A personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts;
    • A psychosis, defined as a case in which an individual —
      • Has manifested delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of psychosis; or
      • May reasonably be expected to manifest delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of psychosis;
    • A bipolar disorder; or
    • A substance dependence within the previous 2 years, as defined in §67.307(a)(4) of 14 Code of Federal Regulations
  • A neurological disorder, limited to an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of any of the following:
    • Epilepsy;
    • Disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause; or
    • A transient loss of control of nervous system functions without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause.
  • A cardiovascular condition, limited to a one-time special issuance for each diagnosis of the following:
    • Myocardial infarction;
    • Coronary heart disease that has required treatment;
    • Cardiac valve replacement; or
    • Heart replacement.

BasicMed Summary – what documentation do you need to fly

  • Hold a U.S. driver’s license.
  • Hold or have held a medical certificate issued by the FAA at any point after July 14, 2006.
  • Answer the health questions on the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC) and complete your examination by any physician – required every 4 years.
  • Take the online medical education course (required every 2 years) and complete the attestations/consent to the National Driver Register (NDR) check. Keep the course completion document.
  • Go fly!

BasicMed Summary – operationsl restrictions

  • No more than five passengers
  • Operate within the United States, at less than 18,000 feet MSL, not exceeding 250 knots.
  • Can’t operate for compensation or hire
  • Accepted in the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, and Mexico

Additional Resources:

 

Eric Radtke
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