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FAA Policy Extends Certain Medical Certificates in Response to COVID-19

March 27, 2020 - On Thursday, March 26, the FAA released a policy statement that allows any pilot who holds a first-, second-, or third-class medical certificate that is valid on March 31, 2020, to continue operating under the privileges of that certificate until June 30, 2020. The unprecedented policy is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing certificate holders to continue flying during a period when the nation's health care system is coming under strain and routine appointments such as AME visits are being deprioritized.

Given the urgent circumstances, the FAA implemented the policy by simply attesting that they will not bring enforcement action against any pilot or flight engineer with an expired medical certificate (under the criteria specified) during the three-month period. Eligible medicals under this policy include those issued under special issuances. This suspension of enforcement does not apply to those who lack a valid medical, nor does it apply to those flying with a known medical deficiency, in violation of 14 CFR 61.53(a). The policy also does not address the Comprehensive Medical Evaluation required on a four-year basis by BasicMed.

"We are pleased to see the FAA quickly clearing roadblocks to safe flight operation in this time of national emergency," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "We are especially glad that the professional airmen who keep us healthy and safe, such as medevac, agricultural, cargo, and law enforcement pilots, can continue to do their jobs without the burden of renewing their medicals at this time."

EAA continues to work with other industry groups to support similar emergency actions concerning flight reviews and other currency requirements, and expects other extensions regarding these requirements to come from the agency soon. EAA reminds members to adhere to state and local emergency orders, check NOTAMS, and maintain best practices for limiting the spread of COVID-19 before choosing to fly during the pandemic.

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