The FAA this week issued a final rule (BasicMed) that allows GA pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate, as long as they meet certain requirements.
Until now, the FAA has required private, recreational, and student pilots, as well as flight instructors, to meet the requirements of and hold a third class medical certificate. They are required to complete an online application and undergo a physical examination with an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner.
Starting May 1, pilots may take advantage of the regulatory relief in the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course, undergo a medical examination every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. For example, pilots using BasicMed cannot operate an aircraft with more than six people onboard, and the aircraft must not weigh more than 6,000 pounds. See the FAA’s BasicMed web page and AC 68-1 for more information.