AOPA has reviewed President Donald Trump’s executive order to hold pending and new regulations for a 60-day review and determined that the freeze does not apply to BasicMed, which provides a long-anticipated alternative to medical certification. The executive order is a standard operating procedure for new administrations.
The order exempts “any regulations subject to statutory or judicial deadlines.” The FAA had a statutory deadline of early January 2017 to publish the third class medical reform final rule in the Federal Register. That limit was set in the legislation signed into law last summer.
Meanwhile, the FAA is currently working on finalizing the checklist for the physical exam, and is also reviewing AOPA’s online aeromedical course. Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the FAA must receive Office of Management and Budget approval of the checklist and course, but that again is expected to happen in time for the May 1 effective date.
With BasicMed set to go into effect May 1, pilots can use the intervening months to make sure they are ready to take full advantage of the new regulations.
However, pilots should note that they cannot operate under BasicMed until the new rules take effect on May 1, and that they must first meet certain requirements to fly under BasicMed. Pilots who have held a regular medical certificate or special issuance anytime on or after July 15, 2006, whose most recent medical was not suspended, revoked, or withdrawn, can fly under BasicMed by getting a physical exam by a state-licensed physician in accordance with a checklist that will be filled out by the pilot and the physician, and then completing the online aeromedical course. Pilots should take those steps in that order because upon successful competition of the aeromedical course, certain information must be transmitted to the FAA such as the name, address, and contact information for the pilot as well as the physician who performed the exam, the date of the examination, an authorization for the National Driver Registry check, and the pilot’s certifications acknowledging his or her fitness to fly. The FAA is currently working on finalizing the checklist for the physical exam, and is also currently reviewing AOPA’s online aeromedical course.
Find out if you will be eligible to fly under BasicMed or if you will need to get a medical certificate or special issuance authorization one more time before being eligible. AOPA’s interactive, four-question Fit to Fly quiz will enable you to quickly determine if you qualify. And, if you see that you might not immediately qualify, the quiz provides resources that you can use to prepare now so that you can qualify as soon as possible after May 1. You also can learn more about the qualifications needed for BasicMed in AOPA’s suite of Fit to Fly resources.
If it has been a while since you have flown and you plan to get back in the air as pilot in command once BasicMed goes into effect, start working toward your flight review and catch up on the airspace and regulatory changes that may have gone into effect since the last time you flew.
AOPA offers Rusty Pilots seminars through its You Can Fly initiative; the two-hour seminars are designed to satisfy the ground portion of the flight review so that you leave with a CFI logbook endorsement in hand that states you have fulfilled the ground requirement. After that, all that’s left is some brush-up work in the air with a flight instructor. In 2016, AOPA hosted more than 156 of the seminars, and more than 45 percent of attendees said they later completed their flight review. Find a Rusty Pilots seminar near you and take the first step to getting current again.
If you haven’t flown in a while or don’t currently have a medical certificate, go up with a flight instructor to sharpen your skills. Complete a flight review if you need one, or work on areas in which you would like to improve. You also can take the opportunity to learn about new equipment—glass cockpits or Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast traffic and weather information. The goal line is in sight for many pilots who will return to the air as PIC under BasicMed, so use this time to work with a flight instructor to improve your skills and learn new concepts and technology.
Whether you are interested in aerodynamics, instrument flying, radio communications, transitioning to other aircraft, airspace, or other aviation-related subjects, you can learn more about them through the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s free online courses. Many of the courses qualify for the FAA’s Wings program and Accident Forgiveness.
Spend time studying the new regulation and associated advisory circular. The BasicMed rules address eligibility requirements for pilots, the type of aircraft that pilots may operate, and the limitations that apply to flights conducted under BasicMed. If you have questions about BasicMed rules, the advisory circular provides insight and clarification. Remember, a good pilot is always learning: Just like you studied the regulations and other FAA materials while you were working on new certificates and ratings, you should study these new regulations. You’ll be better prepared to start flying under them safely and legally when they go into effect.
If you still have questions specific to your situation, call AOPA’s Pilot Information Center (800/USA-AOPA) for one-on-one conversations about BasicMed.
Once the checklist and course have been approved and become publicly available, you can schedule your physical with a state-licensed physician and complete the checklist. Then, take the online course and keep both the completion certificate and signed checklist in your logbook. At that point, you’ll be on your way to flying under BasicMed on May 1.
AOPA has worked tirelessly to bring BasicMed to fruition to give hundreds of thousands of pilots an alternative means to medical certification. Consider joining or renewing your membership and enroll in AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services Plan if you have any medical conditions that require you to receive a medical certificate or special issuance authorization one more time before operating under BasicMed.