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Can a private pilot fly for compensation under BasicMed?Can a private pilot fly for compensation under BasicMed?

Only with some familiar exceptions

Since the FAA announced the BasicMed rule, pilots who see it as a good fit have been focused on making sure they will be able to continue doing the kind of flying they love under the BasicMed program.

Since the FAA announced the BasicMed rule, pilots who see it as a good fit have been focused on making sure they will be able to continue doing the kind of flying they love under the BasicMed program.

For example, private pilots cannot fly as pilot in command “for compensation or hire” except for some well-known exceptions including charitable flying, sharing costs of flights with passengers, and flying related to a business only if the flight is incidental to that business and does not carry any passengers or property for hire. Will those exceptions be available to private pilots who participate in BasicMed?

The short answer is yes. This is addressed in the BasicMed final rule in footnote 10: “The FAA notes that § 61.113 provides that certain activities conducted by a private pilot acting as PIC are excepted from the general prohibition on operations conducted for compensation or hire. These activities are listed in § 61.113(b)-(h). Although the FAA considers these activities to be operations involving compensation or hire, the compensation or hire exceptions for these operations permit these operations to be conducted under this rule.” Furthermore, the FAA’s published guidance on BasicMed (Advisory Circular AC 68-1, Alternative Pilot Physical Examination and Education Requirements) explains that operations from which a pilot may receive some form of compensation, including “operations such as flying in furtherance of a business, sharing flight expenses with passengers, demonstrating an airplane for sale, and conducting search and location operations,” are exceptions that will “apply to people operating under BasicMed just as they would apply to a person exercising private pilot privileges under a part 67 medical certificate" (AC 68-1, 5.2.4.1).

Charitable, nonprofit, or community event flights also are listed in the advisory circular in 4.1.1 as permissible operations for private pilots exercising their certificate privileges under BasicMed under the limitations of 14 CFR 61.113(d), which references 14 CFR 91.146. For more information on complying with the charitable flight rules of 14 CFR 91.146, read this article by AOPA Legal Services Plan attorney Jared Allen. Pilots will still have to comply with BasicMed’s other provisions on those flights. AOPA encourages pilots to review 14 CFR 61.113(i), which adds BasicMed’s required pilot qualifications and eligible aircraft to the regulation governing private pilot privileges and limitations to act as pilot in command.

As noted, pilots can conduct any operation that they would otherwise be able to conduct using their pilot certificate and a third class medical certificate, except that under BasicMed you may fly with no more than five passengers; fly an aircraft under 6,000 pounds maximum certificated takeoff weight that is authorized to carry no more than six occupants; conduct flights within the United States; fly at an indicated airspeed of 250 knots or less; fly at an altitude at or below 18,000 feet mean sea level; and not fly for compensation or hire (except as discussed in the advisory circular).

The BasicMed advisory circular answers many questions about the rule. AOPA recommends that pilots review it carefully as they prepare to take advantage of new opportunities to fly provided by this long-awaited and hard-won medical certification reform.

Between now and May 1, the date BasicMed becomes effective, the FAA is working to finalize the checklist for the physical exam that a BasicMed participant must undergo every four years with a state-licensed physician. The FAA also is reviewing AOPA’s online aeromedical course that BasicMed participants will be required to take every two years. Both the checklist and the course must receive Office of Management and Budget approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

AOPA supports charitable flying as a great way for pilots to support their communities while doing something they love. The value of those flights, and other kinds of flying, can extend well beyond the direct purpose of the flight by cultivating strong relationships with local communities and, perhaps, inspiring the next generation of pilots and aircraft owners.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
AOPA Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Medical Reform, Airman Regulation

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