BasicMed Pilot Ranks Growing Fast
Over 15,000 pilots now have medical certification to fly through the FAA’s new BasicMed rule, which went into effect on May 1 of this year. The FAA estimates that at the end of 2016 there were roughly 162,000 active private pilots. Data isn’t yet available to assess the breakdown between pilots who have received BasicMed certification because they believed themselves unable to receive Third Class medical certification and pilots who sought BasicMed certification out of convenience, but the program is undeniably popular, winning over a significant portion of the pilot population in only three months.
To qualify under BasicMed pilots must complete an online medical course, get a medical exam from any doctor following the FAA BasicMed checklist, possess a valid U.S. driver’s license and have received a medical certificate that was valid after July 15, 2006. Pilots flying under BasicMed may fly aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of 6,000 pounds or less and are authorized to carry no more than six occupants, including the pilot. They may not fly above 18,000 feet MSL, and are limited to speeds not exceeding 250 knots. They also cannot fly for compensation or hire—except as flight instructors. The education course must be passed every two years, and the medical exam must be completed every four years.