As thousands of pilots hurried to get on board with the FAA’s new BasicMed rules that will allow eligible pilots to fly starting May 1 without a third class medical certificate, members kept the AOPA Pilot Information Center on its toes fielding procedural questions and requests for guidance. Mostly, expressions of relief and delight that BasicMed has “finally crossed the finish line” were articulated by pilots who contacted AOPA by phone, email, or via social networks after the documents to complete a BasicMed checklist went online April 24.
As of April 26, 529 pilots had complied with all the required steps and received BasicMed completion certificates; 2,495 had passed the quiz at the end of the online medical education course applicants should take after their appointment with a state-licensed physician; and 1,773 applicants had begun to take the course.
Member reactions to BasicMed have flowed to AOPA across various media channels. A woman pilot who had gone year to year with special-issuance medical certificates reached out to express gratitude that she will no longer have to undergo the testing—or shoulder the burden of expenses not covered by her insurance—of renewing medical certificates.
A voicemail message left for a Pilot Information Center staffer thanked AOPA “for how the BasicMed process has been successful and made easy by AOPA.” The member also expressed appreciation for “the up-to-date information and URL references that actually work.”
Another AOPA member asked for confirmation that he correctly understood that the “checklist” referred to as an item pilots should fill out before their BasicMed visit to a state-licensed physician referred to the entire nine-page Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist and not just a part of it. “Otherwise, he was quite pleased with the entire BasicMed concept and couldn’t thank AOPA enough for our work,” said Craig Brown, senior aviation technical specialist in the Pilot Information Center.
Another member got in touch to let AOPA know how the process went over with his physician. “My family Doctor had no problem with the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist. He was very thorough, completing every item and even made notes directly on the form. He retained a copy for his records,” the member wrote. He added, “I also completed the on-line Medical Training this evening. Scored 90% on this excellent course. It was informative, interesting and very well done. I learned a lot! Best of all, I can now resume flying under BasicMed effective May 1, 2017. Thank you, again, for helping to make this a reality.”
While the aviation community waits to see how much of a bump BasicMed will give to general aviation activity, a Facebook post hinted at a possible answer, reflecting a sentiment often expressed during the long haul to make medical reform a reality. “It is a great move in the right direction. I will not ever apply for or have issued to me a 3rd class medical. With this I can now use Basic Med and begin flying again,” it said.
Another correspondent celebrated freedom from “the headache of having a special issuance medical” that was previously required for a condition that is “well controlled.”
“I'm so happy this got passed! Thank you AOPA for all your hard work,” the pilot wrote.