General aviation pilots in the United States will be permitted to fly without a medical certificate issued by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), as long as they meet other requirements.
The “BasicMed rule,” which is scheduled to take effect May 1, will allow general aviation pilots either to continue to use their FAA medical certificates or to “complete a medical education course, undergo a medical examination every four years and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions.” Pilots who choose the BasicMed option also will be required to hold a valid driver’s license.
The rule says that pilots flying under the BasicMed rule also “must have held a medical certificate at any time after July 15, 2006; have not had the most recently held medical certificate revoked, suspended or withdrawn; [and] have not had the most recent application for airman medical certification completed and denied.”
BasicMed pilots will be barred from operating any aircraft with more than six people on board and any aircraft that weighs more than 6,000 lb (2,722 kg).
The rules changes were required in legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2016.