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Pilots on board with BasicMedPilots on board with BasicMed

55,000 aviators now flying under the medical program55,000 aviators now flying under the medical program

The acceptance of private pilots conferring with their private physicians has led to more than 55,000 aviators using the privileges of BasicMed as the program approaches its three-year anniversary on May 1.

More than 55,000 aviators have begun using the privileges of BasicMed since the program went into effect May 1, 2017. iStock photo.

Under the FAR Part 68 medical rule, pilots can self-certify their fitness to fly after an examination by their personal physician as long as they have had at least one medical exam by an aviation medical examiner. BasicMed-eligible pilots can fly aircraft authorized to carry up to six occupants with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of no more than 6,000 pounds. Pilots can fly up to 250 knots indicated airspeed and up to 18,000 feet msl.

Before taking the aircraft out for a spin under BasicMed, pilots are required to receive a comprehensive medical examination using an FAA-approved checklist given by a state-licensed physician every 48 months (calculated to the exact day). Airmen must also complete an online medical education course every 24 calendar months (calculated to the last day of the month) and maintain records of compliance.

BasicMed was signed into law in 2016 and went into effect in 2017—making it the biggest shift in aeromedical certification for general aviation pilots since the 1960s. With only 4 percent of bills ever becoming law, its passage was a significant victory for the GA community.

Many aviators can enjoy the privileges of BasicMed, including flying to select international destinations (when there aren’t travel restrictions due to the coronavirus). Shortly after BasicMed’s inception in the United States, the Bahamas was quick to welcome BasicMed pilots in its airspace, and just last year Mexico announced its acceptance of the program.

AOPA has a number of resources on the BasicMed webpage for pilots or physicians who may still have questions about the exam, eligibility, or renewal. Additionally, AOPA’s Pilot Information Center is available for assistance via email or by phone (888-462-3976).

Amelia Walsh

Communications Coordinator
AOPA Communications Coordinator Amelia Walsh joined AOPA in 2017. Named after the famous aviatrix, she comes from a family of pilots and is currently working on her pilot certificate.
Topics: Advocacy, Airman Regulation, Pilot Health and Medical Certification

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