Are you still fit to fly?
To ensure uninterrupted compliance with BasicMed, pilots must complete the required comprehensive medical examination and online medical education course within the required and differently calculated time periods. For an airman to act as PIC under BasicMed rules, within the previous 48 months he or she must have received a physical examination by a state-licensed physician who followed and completed the FAA’s comprehensive medical examination checklist, while the airman must have completed the online course within the previous 24 calendar months.
When the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (FESSA) which contained BasicMed was signed into law, the FAA incorporated the requirements of FESSA into the Federal Aviation Regulations. This involved changes to Part 61, including § 61.23(c)(3)(i)(C) and 61.23(c)(3)(i)(D), as well as the inclusion of the new Part 68. Additional FAA guidance on the new regulations is available in Advisory Circular 68-1A. The takeaway is that careful attention must be paid to when the different components of BasicMed lapse and must be completed again.
For example, an airman completing the BasicMed checklist and physical exam on May 10, 2017, and the online course on May 20, 2017, would be able to operate under BasicMed through May 31, 2019 (24 calendar months after the online course was completed). If the airman then completes the online course again on May 31, 2019, then he or she would be able to continue operating under BasicMed until May 10, 2021 (NOT May 31, 2021) because 48 months have passed since the physical exam.
Completing a new checklist and exam on May 11, 2021 would allow the pilot to operate under BasicMed until May 31, 2021, at which time another online course would be required. It would be advisable to set smartphone or other calendar reminders to keep the applicable expiration days straight.
For more on BasicMed, see AOPA’s Fit to Fly pilot resources.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions on BasicMed are available here.