The FAA enacted BasicMed exactly as Congress prescribed. As such, there are a few things worth noting.
Dates. Note that the comprehensive medical exam must be completed in the preceding 48 months. That is exactly 1,461 days prior to the day of the flight. On the other hand, the online medical course must be completed 24 calendar months prior to acting as PIC under BasicMed. Calendar months means that if your course was completed on May 10, 2017, you have until May 31, 2019, before you must take it again in order to continuously act as PIC under BasicMed.
Safety Pilots. You may not act as a safety pilot under BasicMed unless you also agree to act as the PIC. A safety pilot, by virtue of being a required crewmember, is required to hold a medical certificate. Because BasicMed only applies to pilots acting as PIC, a safety pilot who is not PIC must hold a valid medical certificate, and may not operate under BasicMed. This also applies to flight instructors if they are providing instrument instruction to a pilot who has agreed to act as PIC. The moment the pilot receiving instruction puts on a view-limiting device, the flight instructor has become the safety pilot, and must hold a valid medical certificate unless the flight instructor agrees to act as PIC.
Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs). Congress did not extend the relief provided by BasicMed to DPEs, so in accordance with section 61.23(a)(3)(iv), DPEs must hold at least a third-class medical certificate in order to perform the duties of an examiner.
Aircraft Certificated to carry more than six occupants. Certain aircraft, such as variants of the Piper PA-32 and PA-34, and other makes/models do not qualify under BasicMed because they are certificated to carry more than six occupants, even if they only have six seats installed. In order to determine the number of occupants your aircraft is certificated to carry, refer to your aircraft’s type certificate data sheet, found on the FAA public website.
The FAA expects the regulatory relief offered with the BasicMed rule to be a major success for the GA community. In fact, as of this writing, more than 5,000 pilots have already completed the online course and submitted their BasicMed medical exam records. The new rule is also consistent with the FAA’s shift towards risk-based regulation and decision making, shifting responsibility from the agency to the airman, and his or her physician, to collaboratively assess fitness for flight. This helps provide a winning combination for general aviation: keeping pilots safe and flying affordable.
If you have any questions or comments about the FAA’s BasicMed rule, please contact us at 9-AWA-AFS-BasicMed@faa.gov. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions at go.usa.gov/xNkPs.