May 1 marks the third anniversary of the BasicMed program, and for thousands of general aviation pilots flying under the program’s medical privileges, it has been a resounding success.
BasicMed continues to grow in popularity and to date, nearly 56,000 aviators have received a certificate of completion and are flying safely and with more knowledge about their health and well-being than ever before. Under the FAR Part 68 medical rule, 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.
Also, pilots are required to take an online medical self-assessment course, which AOPA offers for free.
The BasicMed comprehensive medical examination can be performed by an AME or by a pilot’s state-licensed private physician every 48 months (calculated to the exact day) and requires that the physician use an FAA-approved checklist. Airmen must also complete the online medical education course every 24 calendar months (calculated to the last day of the month) and maintain records of compliance. AOPA encourages all pilots to keep track of their physical exam date and when they’ll be due for another doctor visit.
Once these two steps are completed, pilots are free to fly (under normal circumstances outside the coronavirus pandemic)—and that includes visiting some pretty cool international destinations. The Bahamas and Mexico have both welcomed BasicMed pilots into their airspace, and AOPA continues to work with officials in Canada.
Should pilots still have questions, AOPA has developed a suite of online resources including an FAQ, video tutorial, and step-by-step eligibility guide on our BasicMed webpage.