Pilots who are not eligible for FAA medical certification may be able fly under the new BasicMed Rules.
A pilot flying under the new “BasicMed” rule must:
- Possess a valid driver’s license
- have held a medical certificate at any time after July 15, 2006
- have not had the most recently held medical certificate revoked, suspended, or withdrawn
- have not had the most recent application for airman medical certification completed and denied
- have taken a medical education course within the past 24 calendar months
- have completed a comprehensive medical examination with a physician within the past 48 months
- be under the care of a physician for certain medical conditions;
have been found eligible for special issuance of a medical certificate for certain specified mental health, neurological, or cardiovascular conditions, when applicable
- consent to a National Driver Register check
- fly only certain small aircraft, at a limited altitude and speed, and only within the United States
- and not fly for compensation or hire.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: How did the FAA come up with these BasicMed requirements?
A: The FAA did not develop these requirements. The requirements are from the U.S. Congress, which enacted the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (PL 114-190) (FESSA) on July 15, 2016. Section 2307 of FESSA, Medical Certification of Certain Small Aircraft Pilots, directed the FAA to “issue or revise regulations to ensure that an individual may operate as pilot in command of a covered aircraft” if the pilot and aircraft meet certain prescribed conditions as outlined in FESSA. The FAA regulations implement the provisions in § 2307 of FESSA.
Q2: How does BasicMed affect FAA medical certificates? Does FAA still offer the third class medical?
A: BasicMed does not affect medical certificates at all. Nothing about the FAA’s medical certificate program has changed with BasicMed, and you can still apply for a first, second, or third class medical the way you always have. BasicMed is merely an additional qualification you can use to fly, in lieu of holding a medical certificate.
Q3: Is there a grace period for meeting BasicMed?
A: No. You must meet all BasicMed requirements before you can use BasicMed. However, you can still operate a covered aircraft with a medical certificate as long as that certificate is unexpired. If you don’t meet all of the BasicMed requirements, then you must hold an FAA medical certificate.
Q4: I can’t remember if my medical certificate was valid after July 15, 2006. How can I find out if I meet the BasicMed requirements?
A: You may contact Federal Aviation Administration, Medical Certification Branch, AAM-331, P.O. Box 26200, Oklahoma City, OK 73125-9914 (phone: 405-954-4821) to ask when your most recent medical certificate expires or to request a copy of your most recent medical certificate.
Q5: Do I need to keep my expired paper medical certificate as proof that I held a medical since July 15, 2006?
A: It’s not a bad idea to hold on to your expired medical certificate (or documentation from the FAA of that medical certificate) but there is no requirement for that.
Q6: I took my Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC) with me to my yearly physical exam with my primary care physician. She signed it but kept the original and emailed me a copy of it in .pdf. Can I still fly under BasicMed even though I never possessed the original CMEC that I filled out?
A: You can have an electronic and/or paper version of your CMEC, as long as you can produce an accurate representation of these documents at the request of the FAA. We’d recommend you have both electronic and paper copies, since the FAA won’t have a copy of the CMEC you can request. Again, you don’t have to carry these documents while flying under BasicMed.
Q7: Can I exercise BasicMed and hold a medical certificate at the same time?
A: Yes. If you are operating under BasicMed, then you must comply with the BasicMed operating limitations (e.g. flying only within the U.S. and at or less than 250 knots). When operating under BasicMed, you are not exercising the privileges of your medical certificate. You can’t operate under BasicMed and switch to operating using your medical, or vice versa, during flight.
Q8: My medical certificate expired in 2011 and I submitted an application for an FAA medical certificate using MedExpress but I never went to an AME for my physical exam. Does this application prevent me from using the previous medical certificate to meet the requirement to hold a medical certificate at any point after July 15, 2006?
A: No. Since an AME never accessed or imported your application, you didn’t complete the application process and you may use the previous medical certificate (before you submitted your MedXpress application) to comply with BasicMed.
Q9: My most recent medical certificate was suspended for legal action by the FAA and then later reinstated. May I operate under BasicMed?
A: No. If your most recent medical certificate was suspended due to legal action (even if it was later reinstated) you must obtain a new FAA medical certificate of any class before operating under BasicMed. However, if your application was previously denied and you subsequently received a clean certificate or a Special Issuance, you may operate under BasicMed.
Q10: I showed my physician the draft checklist for the comprehensive medical examination from Advisory Circular 68-1 and she is willing to sign it. May I have my physician complete the comprehensive medical examination prior to the effective date of BasicMed?
A: The physician may not conduct a comprehensive medical examination for BasicMed until the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC) is approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The version of the CMEC in AC 68-1 is a draft unapproved version. When the CMEC form is approved by OMB the FAA will make an announcement the form is approved and available. The AC will also be revised. At this point, you may accomplish the BasicMed comprehensive medical examination. (updated 2/17/2017)
Q11: My medical certificate was issued with limitations. How does that affect my eligibility under BasicMed?
A: The limitations or restrictions on your medical certificate apply to exercising pilot duties that require a medical certificate. Examples include restrictions related to defective color vision or hearing deficits. The FAA recommends that you carefully consider any limitations or restrictions of your medical certificate before deciding to exercise pilot privileges under BasicMed.
Q12: In conjunction with my prior FAA medical certification, I was issued a Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA). How does that affect my eligibility under BasicMed?
A: Although your SODA was issued in conjunction with your medical certificate, the operational limitations or restrictions of your SODA apply to the duties that you may perform under your pilot certificate. Under BasicMed, every 2 years you must attest that you “understand that I cannot act as pilot in command … if I know or have reason to know of any medical condition that would make me unable to operate the aircraft in a safe manner.” Your SODA lets you know that you have medical conditions that operationally limit or restrict your exercise of pilot in command privileges, whether you are flying with a medical certificate or under BasicMed.
Hold, or Have Held, a Medical Certificate Since July 15, 2006
Q13: Do I have to always “hold or have held a medical certificate” in the past 10 years?
A: No. There is no 10-year requirement, or a 10-year “look-back”. You only need to have held a medical certificate at any point after July 15, 2006 that was not subsequently denied, revoked, suspended or withdrawn. If you meet that provision, then you never have to hold a medical again, unless you develop one of the conditions identified in 14 CFR 68.9 that require you to get a special issuance (i.e., psychosis, epilepsy, heart replacement, etc.).
Q14: I thought BasicMed did away with Special Issuances! Why is the FAA requiring this?
A: Special Issuance for certain medical conditions is a requirement of the FESSA legislation passed by Congress. The BasicMed rules have to follow the law.
Q15: I had a Special Issuance in the past? When do I need to get another one?
A: You need to undergo the FAA process for Special Issuance if you newly develop any of the following medical conditions since the last time you received a FAA medical certificate:
(i) Personality disorder severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts
(iii) Bipolar disorder
(iv) Substance dependence within the previous 2 years
(ii) Disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause
(iii) A transient loss of control of nervous system functions without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause
(i) Myocardial infarction (heart attack)
(ii) Coronary heart disease that has required treatment
(iii) Cardiac valve replacement
(iv) Heart replacement
Q16: I had a Special Issuance in the past that required me to see my physician and get medical testing? Do I still have to do all of that?
A: BasicMed requires that you be under the care of a physician if you have been diagnosed with any medical condition that may impact your ability to fly and/or if you have been diagnosed with mental health or neurological conditions. BasicMed allows your physician to substitute his or her professional judgment for the requirements of your Special Issuance in following your condition(s). Regardless, the FAA holds that the requirements of your Special Issuance are “best aeromedical practices” for ongoing follow-up of your medical condition(s).
Q17: I had a heart attack in 2008 and was given a Special Issuance, but let it lapse? I have had no other medical problems. Can I use BasicMed?
A: Yes. As long as your Special Issuance medical certificate was valid for any date after July 14, 2006, and you have had not had another heart attack or developed another new condition requiring going through the process for a special issuance identified in 68.9, you may use BasicMed.
Q18: I had cardiac valve replacement in 1988, and held a special issuance for that condition until March of 2007, when my most recent special issuance/medical certificate expired. In December of 2009 I had a myocardial infarction (heart attack) but I was not flying at the time and did not have a current medical certificate. I have not applied for an FAA medical certificate since my previous medical certificate expired in 2007. Can I fly under BasicMed?
A: No. You have to first get a special issuance due to your 2009 heart attack, per 14 CFR 68.9. When you apply for that medical certificate with special issuance, you will have to report your 1988 cardiac valve replacement, but the new special issuance is only specifically required because of your 2009 heart attack. This is because the special issuance issued to address your 1988 cardiac valve replacement was not revoked, suspended, or withdrawn. Any new diagnosis of any of the mental, neurological, or cardiac conditions identified in 68.9 require a special issuance for those conditions. However, in order to receive a new special issuance medical certificate, you must meet all requirements to hold a medical certificate. This includes not only being eligible with your history of a 2009 heart attack, but also remain eligible for your 1988 heart valve and any other medical conditions that you may have.
Q19: When I was 13 years old I had a clinical diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I’m now 35 and have always been symptom-free as an adult. Do I really need to get a special issuance to fly under BasicMed?
A: Yes. To operate under BasicMed, 14 CFR 68.9(a)(1)(iii) requires you to undergo one special issuance if you have ever had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. You still have to apply for a medical certificate with special issuance even if you are, or have been asymptomatic for a long time.
Q20: I had a cardiac valve replacement as an infant. I’m now 35 and have held a medical for 15 years, and have reported the valve replacement on previous applications for medical certificate. Do I need to get a special issuance to fly under BasicMed?
A: It depends. If you have ever been given a special issuance for this condition you will not need another one. However, if the FAA has never required or granted you a special issuance for this condition, you will be required you to have one, pursuant to 14 CFR 68.9(a)(3).
Q21: I have coronary heart disease that has required treatment, and I also have epilepsy. I understand 14 CFR 68.9 requires me to get one special issuance for each condition. Do I get two separate special issuances, one for each?
A: No. A special issuance addresses all conditions you may have, whether just one or several. You need to apply for a special issuance medical certificate and, if you are eligible, the FAA will grant a special issuance covering all of your conditions. If you have been granted a special issuance for your current condition(s) that require special issuance for BasicMed under FESSA, and then later you are diagnosed with one or more additional conditions, then you would need to apply for a new medical certificate through the special issuance process.
Q22: Does BasicMed affect sport pilots?
A: No. If you are exercising sport pilot privileges in an aircraft that meets the definition of a light‑sport aircraft, then you may continue to operate using either a driver’s license or an FAA medical certificate. BasicMed privileges are not intended to be exercised by sport pilots, who can exercise Sport Pilot privileges with only a driver’s license.
Q23: The driver’s licenses that are currently issued by my State don’t meet the REAL ID requirements. Will I be in compliance with BasicMed if I use my non-REAL ID-compliant driver’s license?
A: Yes. Any valid driver’s license issued by a State, territory, or possession of the United States can be used to meet the driver’s license requirement in BasicMed.
Q24: What happens if I have a restriction on my Driver’s License?
- Any restrictions on the driver’s license also apply to exercising pilot privileges under BasicMed. A typical example would be the requirement to use glasses or corrective lenses while driving, which would obviously apply while flying. However, there are other restrictions which would appear to preclude flying using BasicMed, such as a requirement for the automobile to be fitted with a breathalyzer ignition interlock system, or a restriction to drive only to-or-from work. The FAA recommends that you consult with the state issuing your driver’s license, legal counsel, or your insurance providers for additional guidance.
Q25: What documents do I need to carry during flight to exercise BasicMed?
A: Only a valid driver’s license (in addition to the other required documents not identified under BasicMed, such as your pilot certificate and photo ID).
Q26: What documentation do I need to keep?
A: You need to keep a copy of your Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (all pages) and your medical education course completion certificate. You can store these in your logbook, or you can store them electronically in any format, as long as you can produce an accurate representation of these documents at the request of the FAA. You don’t have to carry the actual paper or electronic documents while flying under BasicMed.
Q27: Can I exercise my CFI, as PIC, under BasicMed?
A: Yes, as long as you are flying a covered aircraft.
Q28: Can I use BasicMed to act as a safety pilot, rather than holding a medical?
A: Only if you’re acting as PIC while performing the duties of safety pilot. The statutory language prescribing BasicMed said it only applies to people acting as PIC. BasicMed cannot be exercised by safety pilots who are not acting as PIC but are required crewmembers.
Q29: Do I still have to have a flight review required by § 61.56?
A: Yes. BasicMed does not affect any pilot requirement other than the holding an FAA medical certificate.
Q30: I’ve mislaid my BasicMed course completion certificate. Can I still fly under BasicMed?
A: No. Although you don’t need to have them in your personal possession, you must be able to produce the BasicMed course completion certificate and the completed Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (or an accurate and legible representation of those documents) if you are asked by a representative of the FAA Administrator. You should contact the provider of the medical course to obtain a replacement course completion certificate.
Q31: Can I use BasicMed privileges to take an Airline Transport Pilot practical test?
A: Yes. A person taking any FAA practical test is exercising no more than private pilot privileges because the operation is not being conducted for compensation or hire.
Q32: I’m a Designated Pilot Examiner. Can I give check rides while using BasicMed?
A: No. You have to hold a medical certificate when performing the duties as an Examiner in an aircraft when administering a practical test or proficiency check, per 14 CFR 61.23(a)(3)(vii).
Q33: I use an electronic pilot logbook. Can I use this to store my BasicMed documentation?
A: You can attach those documents to your electronic logbook, or you may store them in any other fashion as long as an accurate and legible representation of those documents can be made available upon request, the same as for your pilot logbook.
Q34: The medical course required that I enter my personal information and the name and license number of the physician who conducted my individual medical examination. Why is the FAA collecting this information?
A: The legislation (FESSA) requires the FAA to collect that information. The pilot’s personal information will be used to conduct the NDR check. The FAA will store the information it is required by FESSA to collect in the airman’s record.
Q35: Some States allow active duty service members to continue to use an expired driver’s license for the purposes of operating a motor vehicle, for a specified period. Would these expired driver’s licenses be valid under BasicMed?
A: Individuals can use expired driver’s licenses in this circumstance, as long as the individual possesses documentation from the State, territory, or possession (along with their expired driver’s license) indicating the continued validity of the driver’s license, based on that state’s active duty military status exception you cited. The documentation can be information from a website of that State/territory/possession. The individual must also possess documentation indicating their active duty military status.
Comprehensive Medical Examination: Pilots and Physicians
Q36: How do I find a physician to conduct the BasicMed medical examination?
A: Any state-licensed physician who is familiar with your complete health history would be a good choice.
Q37: Can my AME provide the medical examinations under BasicMed?
A: The FAA does not require AMEs to provide medical examinations under BasicMed. Some AMEs may elect to, but the decision is entirely up to their professional judgment regarding their medical practice.
Q38: What should my physician do if he or she is not sure whether they can do the examination?
A: The determination by the physician is their professional choice, and the FAA does not direct them to do the examination. The conditions of their state medical license and other medical practice considerations will probably be important in their decision.
Q39: Is the examination covered by medical insurance or do I have to pay out of pocket?
A: That is a billing decision between you and your physician.
Q40: My physician is willing to do the examination, but what should he or she do if they have questions? Can they call the FAA for medical advice about my conditions and whether they can sign off?
- No, BasicMed provides an alternative to third-class medical certification that allows your physician to make a determination based on their clinical judgment. The FAA (e.g., the Federal Air Surgeon and all FAA aerospace medicine representatives) may only address questions relating to 14 CFR part 67 and the standards for airman medical certification, and then only when there is a current application on file.
Your physician should consider consulting available aeromedical resources on the flight hazards associated with medical conditions/medications. The FAA provides these resources for informational purposes only, to include:
- The FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners (AME Guide)
- The FAA Pharmaceuticals (Therapeutic Medications) Do Not Issue – Do Not Fly list
- Chapter 8 of the FAA’s Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM 8-1-1), which addresses medical facts for pilots.
Q41: Can my physician call an Aviation Medical Examiner for advice?
A: Yes, but the AME may only address questions as a private physician, not in any official capacity as a FAA designee. The AME may determine to what extent he or she may wish to offer information, advice, or an opinion, outside of their designated AME capacity.
Q42: I don’t have a doctor who is a M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) or D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathy). I do use a chiropractor physician and a naturopathic physician. Can I use them?
A: The FAA relies on the determination of each state (as well as each territory and possession of the United States) as to which persons it will license as physicians. If the person holds a license as a Physician issued by any state, territory, or possession, then they meet the requirement as a state-licensed Physician. However, the FAA recommends that you check with the medical licensing board or authority in your state for clarification as to whether other classes of “state-licensed physicians” are felt to have the privileges, training and experience to conduct all portions of the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC).
Q43: I just received a 3rd class medical certificate. Can I use my medical certificate to meet the requirements for a comprehensive medical examination?
A: No. Section 2307 of FESSA did not allow for an exam associated with an FAA-issued medical certificate to substitute for a comprehensive medical examination. An AME is not prohibited from conducting a comprehensive medical examination concurrently with an examination for an FAA issued medical certificate.
Q44: My state-licensed physician who conducted my medical examination refused to sign the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC). What can I do?
A: You should check with your physician to see what the medical reasons were behind his or her decision not to sign the CMEC. You may not operate under BasicMed without a completed CMEC, and the FAA strongly recommends addressing those medical issues before flying under any circumstances.
Q45: Can’t I just go to another physician if my state-licensed physician refused to sign the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist (CMEC)?
A: As stated in the previous question, you ought to know the reason(s) why your original physician refused to sign. What were the medical conditions and/or medications that affected the physician’s opinion about your ability to safely fly aircraft? It may be something as simple as managing your medical conditions better or changing medications. Or, there might be something more serious that, once addressed, would allow the physician to sign the CMEC.
Remember: Under 14 CFR 61.53, you must not fly if you know (or have reason to know) of a medical condition that would make you unsafe to fly. Self-certifying under BasicMed relies on your honesty and integrity.
Q46: Can a physician extender (such as a nurse practitioner or physician assistant) conduct the medical exam?
A: A physician extender is a health care provider who is not a physician but who performs medical activities typically performed by a physician, on behalf of the physician. Physician extenders are generally nurse practitioners or physician assistants. Registered nurses, medical technicians, and medical support personnel may assist certain elements of an examination but are not considered physician extenders. Section 2307 of FESSA requires that the examination must be performed by a state-licensed physician, but the language of the statute did not specifically exclude participation of a physician extender. As long as the physician is the signatory for the medical checklist and actually performs the physical exam, a physician extender may participate with the process.
Q47: Can a physician place restrictions or conditions on the airman in conjunction with the sign-off of the comprehensive medical exam? Can a physician later rescind his sign-off?
A: No. The physician declaration is simply yes-or-no. Section 2307 of FESSA provided no provision for the physician to allow conditional approval of an airman in BasicMed or to later withdraw approval. The physician may only declare 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. If a physician has reservations regarding an airman’s current or future health status, he or she should discuss the concerns with the airman and use clinical judgment to determine whether he or she should sign the declaration.
Aviation Medical Examiners
Q48: Does my Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) designation allow me to do a medical examination under BasicMed?
A: No. Your AME designation only allows you to perform examinations for purposes of airman medical certification under 14 CFR Part 67. BasicMed is completely separate.
Q48: Can I still do BasicMed medical examinations outside of my AME designation?
A: Yes. The decision of an AME to participate in BasicMed is an individual choice. This work would be outside of the AME designation, and instead would be part of the physician’s non-AME practice. AMEs should check with their insurance carriers prior to performing BasicMed examinations.
Q50: What should I do if I get a call from a local physician doing a BasicMed examination? The physician is looking for advice and called me with questions because I am an AME.
A: Though you are trained and designated as an AME, that training and designation only applies to FAA medical examinations conducted for airman medical certification under 14 CFR part 67. Any advice that you give would be under the scope of your non-AME medical practice, and would be fully at your discretion. AMEs should check with their insurance carriers prior to providing any advice or guidance on BasicMed examinations.
Q51: Why did the FAA use an old 8500-8 as the basis for the BasicMed Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist, and not the current MedXPress version?
A: Congress specified in the legislation that the 3-99 version of the 8500-8 be used as the basis for the medical history questions.
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