Basicmed - Do you Qualify?

Basicmed - Do you Qualify? Hero Image

BasicMed (sometimes referred to as Basic Med) allows over 50,000 pilots to visit their personal physician instead of an Aviation Medical Examiner. BasicMedic makes it easier for existing general aviation enthusiasts to stay in the air, saving them time and money.

Getting started with BasicMed is easy for most, and staying current even easier - pilots flying under BasicMed only need to visit their doctor once every four years. Read below and explore our additional resources to find out if the BasicMed program fits your aviation mission.

What is BasicMed?

BasicMed is an additional qualification you can use to fly in lieu of holding a current FAA Medical Certificate. It reduces the burden on general aviation pilots by making it easier to meet the FAA’s medical regulatory requirements. The rule allows pilots meeting the BesicMed list criteria and requirements to fly under the program without a current FAA Medical Certificate.

For many this reduces the need to visit an Aviation Medical Examiner for an updated third-class sign off every 2-5 years. This is particularly true for those over the age of 40 who would otherwise be required to visit their Aviation Medical Examiner for a sign-off every two years.

BasicMed improves aviation accessibility and saves time. While the program is making medical currency easier for the general aviation community, it does however carry limitations. Pilots operating under BasicMed have passenger, airspeed, altitude, and aircraft weight limitations.

As you may expect with such limitations, BasicMed primarily benefits the general aviation community. Airline and other commercial pilots won’t benefit from the relaxed regulations, as it is illegal to operate as pilot in command using BasicMed while flying for compensation or hire.

Do I Need a Medical Certificate to Fly Using BasicMed?

BasicMed doesn’t completely remove a new pilot’s need for a FAA Medical Certificate. To use BasicMed, pilots need to have a FAA Medical Certificate. It is okay if the medical is out of date, but it can only be used with the BasicMed program if it was issued after July 14th, 2006.

Aviators in good free of disqualifying conditions with a FAA Medical Certificate issued after July 14th, 2016 may be able to avoid their Aviation Medical Examiner all together. That's right - you can fly under BasicMed indefinitely as long as no disqualifying conditions, situations, or special issues arise.

The BasicMed rule doesn't entirely remove the need for an FAA Medical Certificate. The FAA still requires those who have never held a Medical Certificate to pass a medical evaluation by an FAA designated Aviation Medical Examiner. Any new student pilots embarking on their aviation journey to become a pilot will need to hold at least a third class FAA Medical Certificate. Pilots with an expired medical or one issued prior to July 14th, 2006, will also have to take a trip to their AME for a new medical.

What happens when I get a Medical Certificate?

Assuming all goes well, no disqualifying conditions are discovered, and no special issuances are required, the Aviation Medical Examiner will issue the pilot a first, second, or third class FAA Medical Certificate. In the future, this pilot will be eligible for the BasicMed program. While BasicMed doesn’t remove a student pilot’s initial medical examination requirements, it does make it easier for general aviation pilots to satisfy FAA regulations as their aviation journey progresses.

BasicMed Requirements Summary

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BasicMed is great for many pilots, but others will still need to maintain Medical Certificate currency. Consider BasicMed's core requirements to determine if you qualify for the program. Also pay attention to BasicMed's aircraft and operating limitations to ensure the program fits your aviation mission.

What do I need to do to fly under BasicMed?

  • Do you possess a valid U.S. drivers license?
  • Have you held FAA Medical Certificate after July 14th, 2006?
  • Can you get a physical exam with a state-licensed physician?
  • Can you complete a free, online BasicMed medical education course?

If you answered "yes" to the above questions, there is a good chance you meet BasicMed's fundamental requirements. Now, determine if BasicMed fits your mission, as the regulations require adherence to the following aircraft and operational rules:

What are the aircraft requirements to fly under BasicMed?

  • The aircraft can not be rated to carry more than six occupants
  • The aircraft must have a maximum certified weight of less than 6,000 pounds

What are the operational requirements to fly under BasicMed?

Pilots are only able to fly under BasicMed if the following operational requirements are met:

  • Pilot carries 5 or less passengers
  • Pilot flies at an altitude below 18,000 feet MSL
  • Pilot flies at an airspeed below 250 knots
  • Pilot flies under VFR or IFR
  • Pilot does not fly for compensation or hire

How do I get started flying with BasicMed?

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The process to begin flying with BasicMed is less complicated than it may seen. Keep in mind you won't need to visit an Aviation Medical Examiner unless you develop (or suspect) a disqualifying condition. Follow the steps below to get started:

  1. Complete the FAA’s Comprehensive Medical Examination List
  2. Schedule an examination with your state-licensed physician
  3. Arrive at your appointment with your completed Comprehensive Medical Examination List
  4. Complete an online medical education course through the Mayo Clinic or AOPA
  5. Print out the online education course’s certification of completion
  6. Store the completed Medical Examination List and course completion certificate in your physical or electronic logbook
  7. Ensure you meet all other FAA requirements to safely act as pilot and command
  8. Go fly! Be sure to grab your driver’s license and pilot certificate

How to Renew BasicMed?

The process to renew BasicMed is straightforward, but has a few requirements. As an aviator, it is something you have to keep up with. If you're the forgetful type, considering adding BasicMed reminders to your phone's calendar.

Every 24 Months..

You must take an online medical education course once every 24 months. Both the Mayo Clinic or AOPA provide an online course satisfying this requirement.

Every 48 Months..

Receive an examination from a state licensed physician to affirm you are free from any medical condition that could reduce your ability to safely operate an aircraft.

Can I lose my BasicMed privileges?

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The FAA requires individuals with certain medical histories or diagnosis to receive a special issuance from an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) before flying under BasicMed. Further, pilots that develop certain conditions may be required to visit an AME before resuming operations using BasicMed.

Some of the conditions that may disqualify you from BasicMed, or require a special issuances from a Aviation Medical Examiner before using BasicMed, include:

  • A mental health disorder, limited to an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of:
    • A personality disorder that is severe enough to have repeatedly manifested itself by overt acts
    • A psychosis, defined as a case in which an individual:
      • Has manifested delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of psychosis or
      • May reasonably be expected to manifest delusions, hallucinations, grossly bizarre or disorganized behavior, or other commonly accepted symptoms of psychosis
    • A bipolar disorder or
    • A substance dependence within the previous 2 years
  • A neurological disorder, limited to an established medical history or clinical diagnosis of any of the following:
    • Epilepsy
    • Disturbance of consciousness without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause or
    • A transient loss of control of nervous system functions without satisfactory medical explanation of the cause.
  • A cardiovascular condition, limited to a one-time special issuance for each diagnosis of the following:
    • Myocardial infarction
    • Coronary heart disease that has required treatment
    • Cardiac valve or heart replacement

If you have or have been diagnosed with a cardiovascular, neurological, mental health condition, or other health issue we, encourage you to review the FAA’s BasicMed Advisory Circular for more reading on special issuances and disqualifying situations. As the safety of yourself and the public is paramount, visting an Aviation Medical Examiner may be your course of action before flying again.

What does the BasicMed Medical Exam Cover?

Similar to first, second, and third class FAA medical exams performed by an Aviation Medical Examiner, the physician performing your BasicMed medical evaluation will use their discretion affirm you are fit for flight. In “BASICMED SECTION 3: MEDICAL EXAMINATION” of the Comprehensive Medical Examination List you’ll find,

  • Anus
  • Blood pressure and pulse
  • Heart precordial activity, rhythm, sounds, and murmurs
  • Lungs and chest (not including breast examination)
  • Hearing
  • Vision
  • Head, face, neck and scalp
  • Nose, sinuses, mouth, and throat
  • Ears (internal and external canals and eardrums)
  • Eyes, ophthalmoscopic, pupils, ocular motility
  • Vascular system
  • Abdomen and viscera
  • Skin
  • G-U system (not including pelvic examination)
  • Upper and Lower extremities (strength and range of motion)
  • Spine and other musculoskeletal
  • Identifying body marks, scars, and tattoos
  • Lymphatics
  • Neurologic (tendon reflexes, equilibrium, senses, cranial nerves, coordination)
  • Psychiatric (appearance, mood, behavior, communication, and memory)
  • General systemic

Check out the FAA’s Comprehensive Medical Examination List for a complete overview of the list items required to satisfy the BasicMed medical exam requirements.

Where can I find additional BasicMed resources?

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The FAA is a critical resource in understanding our federal aviation regulations. As a definitive source of truth, we urge you to check out the FAA’s BasicMed website and Advisory Circular.

BasicMed Online Medical Course Offerings