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For the Record: Back to the basics

Are you up to date with your BasicMed qualifications?

If you’re flying under BasicMed and your latest comprehensive medical examination checklist (CMEC) was completed in 2017, then it’s time to see your doctor again.

A CMEC is valid for 48 months, so pilots whose most recent CMEC was completed around the launch of BasicMed on May 1, 2017, are due for renewal or will be soon. For all pilots flying under BasicMed, now is a good time to review the documents required to maintain compliance, along with some mistakes to avoid.

Several issues can render a previously qualified BasicMed pilot immediately ineligible, such as a newly developed cardiovascular, neurological, or mental health condition. If you have had any change in your health, review the conditions specified in FAR 68.9. Likewise, a pilot is immediately ineligible for BasicMed by having his or her most recent medical certificate suspended or revoked, most recent application denied, or most recent authorization for special issuance withdrawn.

After confirming eligibility, it’s time to address the first required document, the CMEC (Form 8700-2). FAR 61.23(c) requires that pilots flying under BasicMed must have a CMEC dated within the previous 48 months (calculated to the exact day). The CMEC must be completed on paper and can be printed from the FAA or AOPA websites. The “Individual Information” section is completed by the pilot prior to the exam, but remember that the phrase “previously reported, no change” cannot be used. Since the CMEC is not submitted to the FAA, you need to fully disclose all information each time you complete it. Following an exam, the physician completes the CMEC and returns it to the pilot.

Don’t make the mistake of filling out the online MedXPress form, as it is only used to apply for a first, second, or third class medical certificate. On more than one occasion, a pilot has mistakenly completed the MedXPress form instead of the required CMEC. If that pilot appears at an AME’s office and the mistake is not realized until after the AME accesses the MedXPress form in the electronic system, the pilot must proceed with the process to apply for a first, second, or third class medical or withdraw. Keep in mind, however, that a withdrawal is considered a denial, and a pilot whose most recent application is denied is ineligible to fly under BasicMed.

Any state-licensed physician may perform the exam and complete the CMEC, but there are some important considerations. The FAA relies on each state to determine who is a “state-licensed physician,” but the airman is ultimately responsible for ensuring this qualification and can do so by checking with the state medical board. Before leaving the physician’s office, ensure that the physician checked all the boxes on the CMEC and personally signed it.

It’s also good to check that the physician did not place any restrictions or conditions on the CMEC. The FAA’s BasicMed FAQ states that “the physician declaration is simply yes-or-no” and that the law “provided no provision for the physician to allow conditional approval.” Additionally, “[t]he physician is only declaring at the time of the examination that he or she is not aware of any medical condition that, as presently treated, could interfere with the individual’s ability to safely operate an aircraft.”

With your CMEC completed, check if you need to renew your second required document, the certificate of completion for an FAA approved online BasicMed medical education course. FAR 61.23(c) requires pilots flying under BasicMed to have a course completion certificate issued within the past 24 calendar-months (unlike the CMEC, this date is calculated to the end of the month). AOPA’s course is free to everyone at basicmedicalcourse.aopa.org. Remember that from your CMEC you’ll need to provide your physician’s contact info, medical license number, and the date of the exam. Moreover, remember that you have not completed the course until you have your course completion certificate.

You’re required to keep your CMEC and course completion certificate with your logbook or in electronic format, but you’re not required to carry them with you while flying. However, in addition to the other documents all pilots must carry, BasicMed pilots must also possess a valid U.S. driver’s license and comply with any restrictions. If a pilot’s U.S. driver’s license is suspended or revoked for any reason, even for an unpaid parking ticket, he or she cannot fly under BasicMed rules.

If you have BasicMed questions, check out Advisory Circular 68-1A and remember that AOPA’s Pilot Information Center and Legal Services Plan are here to help.

Email [email protected]
The AOPA Legal Services Plan is offered as part of AOPA’s Pilot Protection Services (aopa.org/pps).

Jared Allen

Mr. Allen is AOPA’s Legal Services Plan (LSP) senior staff attorney and is an instrument-rated private pilot. He provides initial consultations to pilots through the LSP when the FAA has contacted them about potential FAR violations. Jared has helped numerous pilots successfully navigate through compliance actions.

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