New FAA Medical Rule
The new change to the FAA medical requirement goes into effect on May 1, 2017. This is good news for many people but not quite as hassle free as some would have hoped. The new program called BasicMed has a few things you still need to do in order to be legal to fly. It’s not as simple as just being able to fly as long as you have a drivers license, as many had hoped. It sill requires action on your part every couple of years, as well as doctor visits.
Once the rule takes effect, anyone that has held a valid medical certificate any time in the 10 years following July 15, 2006, will not need to get another medical certificate as long as they meet the requirements of the new rule. If you’re a new student pilot that has never had a medical certificate, then your first visit must be to an FAA examiner to get a medical certificate. After your first visit, then the new rules will take effect.
In order to remain current and qualified to fly without a medical certificate you must do an online course related to aeromedical factors within the preceding 24 months and you will also need to visit a local physician within the preceding 48 months. The physician will need to fill out paperwork that you must keep with your logbook, along with your certificate of completion for the online course.
The online course will be offered for free on the AOPA website and they will have the information you and your physician need. When that information is published we will post a link to their course. Special issuance medicals are acceptable just as any other medical, as long as you had one within the time-frame then you can use the new rules to keep current. Certain health requirements will obviously need to be met in order to qualify and should be spelled out in the online course.
Pilots that Do Not Qualify for the New Medical Rules
Pilots that fly for compensation or hire will still need to get a medical through an FAA Medical Examiner. This does not seem to be the case for flight instructors according to AC 68-1 dated 1-9-17 in section 18.104.22.168
Pilots that have been denied a medical do not qualify unless they are able to pass a medical exam and get a medical certificate first, with an FAA medical examiner. Once they are able to pass and receive a medical certificate, then they can stay current using the new rule. If your medical was suspended and then reinstated, you do not qualify unless you get a medical first.
Limitations for operating under the New Medical Rule
You cannot fly an aircraft with more than 6 seats or with more than 6 total occupants
You cannot fly any aircraft over 6000 LBS
VFR and IFR operations must be below 18,000’ MSL, and cannot exceed 250 knots
You must have a valid drivers license and it must be carried with you. If there are any limitations or restrictions on your drivers license they apply to flying also. If your license is suspended, so is your ability to fly!
For more information you can see the FAA Advisory Circular 68-1 here.
I hope this helps clarify some things for those who are anxiously waiting for the new rule to take effect!