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BasicMed: Checking for clearance

It’s hard to believe, but come May, BasicMed will be two years old. More than 45,000 of you have been flying under its provisions, and many of you are quickly approaching the mandatory two-year online course renewal, asking: Now what?

Fit to Fly

Under BasicMed, you can fly aircraft with up to six seats and with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of no more than 6,000 pounds, and fly up to 250 knots indicated airspeed and up to 18,000 feet msl.

While the aircraft restrictions are straightforward, the online education course renewal has created some confusion. Under 14 CFR Part 68, the regulations that govern BasicMed, you as the pilot in command must receive a comprehensive medical examination by a state-licensed physician every 48 months (calculated to the exact day); plus you must complete an online course every 24 calendar months (calculated to the last day of the month).

Since the examination and online course are valid for different lengths of time, remember to ensure that both your medical exam and online course are current before flying under BasicMed. For example, let’s say you received the required medical exam on May 1, 2017, and completed the online course on May 15, 2017. You would be eligible to operate under BasicMed through May 31, 2019. After May 31, 2019, you’ll need to complete the online course again, because it will be more than 24 calendar months since you last completed the online course.

Now, let’s assume that you go ahead and take the course that day, May 31, 2019. Just like when you completed the course last time, you’ll be required to enter information about yourself. Because the medical exam you had on May 1, 2017, is valid for 48 months, and you’re still within that period, it is this exam you’ll refer to when the course requires you to provide details about your BasicMed exam (such as the date of examination, physician’s name, etc.). No need to submit any paperwork to the FAA—AOPA will submit the information you provided at the end of the course to the FAA on your behalf.

Once you have completed the online course and have a newly issued course completion certificate in hand, you are now eligible to continue flying under BasicMed until May 1, 2021, which is the end of the 48-month period since your physical exam on May 1, 2017. Now, you’ll need to go to any state-licensed physician to complete another exam before acting as pilot in command under BasicMed. You’ll need to keep your new completed exam checklist with your logbook, but you won’t need to provide any information about the exam until the next time you are required to complete the online course.

We have a number of BasicMed resources on the Fit to Fly page. If you have additional questions, or are having trouble accessing your BasicMed online course account, contact the Pilot Information Center for assistance at [email protected] or by phone (888-462-3976).

AOPA Communications staff

AOPA Communications Staff are communicators who specialize in making aerospace, aviation and advocacy information relatable for all.

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