It’s unusual for pilots to be happy with a rule change from the FAA. But the new BasicMed rule change that went into effect on May 1, 2017 has many of them celebrating. And some are also a bit confused. The contradiction can be summed up in two quotes.
“Much of the general aviation community is ecstatic about BasicMed,” AOPA President Mark Baker said of the new alternative to medical certification.
“I read about the other things that I had to do to fly under BasicMed and I had the overwhelming feeling that if I were doing this for real I would just go get an FAA medical because that would be less trouble.” Said Richard Collins in the Air Facts Journal.
On the plus side, BasicMed allows many pilots to skip some expensive checkups by specially licensed doctors. The BasicMed physical must be completed only every 48 months, and the doctor conducing the physical does not have to be an FAA Aviation Medical Examiner (AME.) Any licensed physician may sign off on the physical. BasicMed also requires pilots to complete an online course every 24 months. Under BasicMed guidelines, any pilots who have been sidelined by a borderline medical condition can now return to the air.
“In a nutshell, any pilot who has held a valid medical of any kind after July 15, 2006, is eligible for BasicMed, which essentially replaces a Third-Class medical. Under BasicMed, a pilot can fly any aircraft up to 6000 pounds carrying not more than five passengers and operating VFR or IFR at under 18,000 feet. Aircraft operating speeds are limited to 250 knots.”
– Aviation Consumer, BasicMed: Mixed Views from Pilots
On the minus side, BasicMed requires pilots to understand the complex new requirements. To Collins’ point, many people who can easily get a 3rd class medical may not be benefit from the new regulation. Pilots wanting to qualify for BasicMed must complete an online aeromedical course, find a physician that is willing and able to sign the required documentation, and keep track of two independently moving expiration dates. (One based on a calendar year, the other based on a specific date.)
The Pilot Partner app supports FAA 1st, 2nd and 3rd Class medical requirements. It includes relevant checklists, visual currency indicators, alerts and document storage. And now, the app includes support for BasicMed in its FAA Medical Wizard questionnaire.
“BasicMed is complicated and time consuming for a busy pilot to keep track of, I was relieved to find out Pilot Partner keeps track of the dates for me and alerts me when the next action is due to stay current.” Said private pilot and John Culp. Culp is currently using a BasicMed qualification to fly.
It’s important to note that the regulations require pilots to keep the Aeromedical Course Certification and Medical Exam Checklist attached to the logbook. Pilot Partner solves this by providing the means for pilots to take photographs of these documents and attach them to the eLogbook in a way that it can be easily produced on request.
“Keeping track of complex data is where the app really shines,” said developer Ken VeArd. “Pilot Partner is already set up to help pilots track endorsements and currency, and to make all of their data easy to find and use. So medical requirements are a natural fit. We just want to reduce the burden of recordkeeping and make it easier for pilots to focus their attention where it needs to be. ”
Pilot Partner will automatically shift your qualification status from a Class 1, to a Class 2, to a Class 3 based on entries, and conveniently reverts to BasicMed based on the pilot’s qualifications and how they comply with the FAA regulations and rules. All the math and complexity is handled automatically.
BasicMed details are included in this explainer from the FAA.
Pilot Partner is available at https://pilotpartner.net. A 60 Day Free Trial is available. Records are available for download even after the trial expires.
About Pilot Partner
The original Pilot Partner electronic logging software was developed in 1997, when founder and CEO Ken VeArd was still in flight school. After writing all his flights into his logbook, he thought, “there has to be a better way.” Now, almost 20 years later, there are still no electronic logbooks that fully satisfy his needs. The new PilotPartner.net has been redesigned to support the needs of today’s general aviation pilot.
Additionally, Pilot Partner has released the new CFI Dashboard. The dashboard facilitates CFIs to electronically sign students’ logbooks, post endorsements, and write detailed notes. The dashboard provides pilots and their students the means to track progress, even when they in different locations.
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Interviews and high-resolution photos are available on request.