Looks like there have been some changes in medical certification. In the past, I’ve always gone to an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner). Now it looks, for specific medicals, there’s something called BasicMed.
One thing similar to what I remember is that a 3rd class medical for a pilot over 40 lasts for two years. (14 CFR 61.23). What’s definitely different is that for under 40 it lasts for 5 years!
BasicMed (14 CFR 68) came effective May 1, 2017. Instead of going to an AME, a pilot can go to their personal physician. The pilot also has to take some online course.
There are some items you need to meet to qualify for BasicMed:
- Valid Drivers License – check
- Have held a valid FAA medical after July 15, 2006 – awesome, because I had gotten a Medical in 2007. Let’s say that wasn’t the case – I would need to go (one time) to an AME
- In order to maintain BasicMed, every 48 months you go to a physician with a FAA checklist called, “Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist”. This signed off checklist stays with your logbook. Also, every 24 months you do a free online medical education course. Completion of the 24 month course gives you a certificate to include in logbook. So far so good.
While BasicMed appears on the surface to be a good deal, there are a bunch of restrictions, which reveal what kind of medical this really is:
- The aircraft can only be up to 6000 pounds with a max occupant load of six and fly with no more than five passengers. Note: A Private Pilot is certificated up to 12, 500 pounds.
- Only fly within the USA, with some exceptions
- Fly at indicated airspeed of 250 KIAS or less. That would rule out really high-performance aircraft.
- Fly at or below 18000 feet. That keeps you out of pressurized high performance aircraft most likely then.
- Cannot fly for compensation or hire. This now reveals that this is not for Commercial Pilot flying. But, you can do the share of cost deal with passengers and do charitable flying. One thing interesting is that you can fly as a pilot (as an employee) for a business only if it’s incidental to the business — meaning you’re not charging any passengers/property on the flight.
I’m not a CFI yet, but… there’s something about BasicMed for instructors that doesn’t make sense, so I’ll need to clarify:
- Flight Instructors can give instruction as a PIC without holding a medical certificate to a student who may not have a medical certificate. Note: I think that means that a CFI without a medical from an AME can still instruct students (without medicals) if the CFI has done BasicMed.