May 1 marked the official launch of BasicMed, the most significant alternative to a third class medical since the 1960s. Just five months into the program, more than 20,000 pilots have completed the checklist, exam, and AOPA Medical Self-Assessment online course and are now flying under the new rule. With 20,000 aviators enjoying the freedom to fly, it’s safe to say that BasicMed is cruising along smoothly.
Though BasicMed faced some initial issues in Congress, the end result for many general aviation pilots and especially those with special issuances is revolutionary. Now, pilots are able to see their personal physicians, who are most familiar with their health history, to receive the exams. With fewer unnecessary regulatory burdens, more are encouraged to get back into the cockpit.
With more than 20,000 eligible to fly under the BasicMed rule, AOPA is working to achieve similar medical reforms for GA pilots in Canada and across the globe. Though it’s been mostly clear skies for BasicMed, there are still some pilots who are unfamiliar with the program and are searching for more information. To help, AOPA has developed a Fit to Fly resource page; pilots also can call the AOPA Pilot Information Center hotline at 888/462-3976 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time, or contact AOPA online. For those who are able to attend the upcoming AOPA Fly-Ins in Groton, Connecticut, or Tampa, Florida, AOPA will have staff on hand ready to answer BasicMed questions.