January 19, 2017 - One week after the release of the third-class medical reform law by the FAA, overall reaction has been very positive. As with any change or new procedure, the questions are inevitable. EAA’s staff has received numerous questions about what the new law means or what may happen when it becomes effective on May 1.
PILOT’S OPINION: BasicMed is a great accomplishment
Some of those questions include:
My medical expires soon; what should I do until May 1? Our initial advice to those members who might find themselves in that situation is to wait until May 1 to act as pilot in command, if you wish to use the BasicMed process. A pilot is always able to visit an AME and renew a medical certificate as another option. Jack Pelton will further address this question in the February issue of Sport Aviation.
Does my last medical count for the four-year physical? No, according to our last discussion with the FAA on this specific matter. A pilot whose medical has expired or will expire before May will need the BasicMed physical with doctor sign-off before they fly under BasicMed. The online medical education course will also need to be completed. This is not a perfect solution, but one where EAA will continue to work with FAA.
What is going to be done about the doctor signature block? EAA is working with our Aeromedical and Legal Councils for possible solutions. Additionally, at this time EAA’s Aeromedical Council – a group of EAA-member AMEs who advise us on medical policy – is happy to be a resource for individual doctors who may have questions or concerns about this signature block. They can provide information on an individual, peer-to-peer basis. As with any medical form, individual doctors are not required to sign it if they are not comfortable with it.
It’s important to remember that BasicMed is both a huge milestone after more than 25 years and numerous attempts to reform medical certification, and a stepping stone toward further evolution. EAA will work to ensure that BasicMed will be a breakthrough for thousands of pilots and a baseline for moving forward in the future.