FAA Stops Medical Enforcement Until June 30


Any pilot whose medical expires after March 30 can continue to fly until June 30 without renewing in light of the novel coronavirus crisis. The FAA announced on Friday it will not be enforcing medical expirations during that period so that medical personnel can focus on dealing with the pandemic. “The Notice states that from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020, the FAA will not take legal enforcement action against any person serving as a required pilot flight crew member or flight engineer who holds a medical certificate that expires within this time period,” AOPA quoted an email from FAA staff as reporting. 

The announcement came after AOPA and other aviation groups called on the FAA to relax deadline-sensitive pilot qualifications, which in addition to medicals include checkrides and knowledge tests. “The FAA is meeting the moment by finding the quickest and most effective path to address an urgent need and we deeply appreciate the creative thinking and recognition that keeping general aviation operational serves a greater good,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. National Air Transportation Association Senior Vice President Ryan Waguespack also commended the action, saying it was necessary to keep Part 135 carriers operational. “NATA is grateful the FAA is continuing to listen to our requests to support the 135 industry during this critical time,” he said.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. So when will the following (2nd class) medical be due? I am due in April. If I wait until June, will the following medical be due in 12 months, or 9 months (June or April)?

  2. Per the verbiage quoted, the new medical will be “due” NLT June 30th. So if you are able to renew in June, the new time period starts that month.

  3. This FAA enforcement policy for expired medical certificates (the non-enforcement policy between March 31 , 2020 and June 30, 2020) leaves a big open question about pilot insurance policies. The FAA did not extend the effective date of medical certificates expiring during this time period, the FAA just said it won’t bring enforcement actions.

    The typical aviation insurance policy contains a requirement that the PIC “must have a current and proper medical certificate”. Since the FAA did not extend the effective date of a medical certificate expiring between March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, a pilot flying during that period with a medical that expires during that period will not have a “current and proper” medical certificate, and therefore will not have insurance coverage in effect.

    The aviation insurance companies need to come forward and state that a pilot who qualifies for enforcement relief under the FAA temporary policy will also be treated as having a “current and proper” medical certificate for purposes of the insurance policies.

  4. Read it carefully about medical extension. The way I read it, it only benefits those pilots that are employed as essential crew members in a commercial operation.
    Read that way it will not apply to the thousands of us that have 3rd class medicals for our private flying and are not employed as an essential crew member.
    No relief for the majority of pilots.

    • I think you may be getting misled by the “required crewmember” language. It doesn’t say or imply only commercial operations. If there’s a plane being operated and you’re the pilot, you’re a required crewmember. Or that’s how I understand it anyway.

      Insurance is a different matter, and I don’t know what to think about that.

      Then there’s flight reviews. I would think a lot of us just want to go touch and goes and get up there to stay proficient (I know I do) and if you’re doing it alone there’s just about zero risk re. Covid-19. Especially if you’re already topped off and can be flown for a while without having to visit the fuel pump.

  5. Amazing how the FAA can take a simple issue and turn it into a complicated mess. And the aviation groups actually think this is the greatest thing since sliced bread! Remember this from an administrator who everyone was supporting when he was appointed. Glad I got mine renewed early to avoid this issue for 6 months.