|11 Jan 2017|
IMPORTANT: FAA Issues Final Rule - BasicMed
Good afternoon Commanders, Staff and Pilots. As many of you are aware, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced via news release earlier today that the FAA has issued a final rule(PDF) that allows general aviation pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate as long as they meet certain requirements outlined in Congressional legislation. Beginning on May 1st, 2017, the FAA is allowing pilots to take advantage of the regulatory relief in the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate. The FAA will require pilots flying under the BasicMed rule to:
- possess a valid driver's license;
- 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- have not had the most recently held medical certificate revoked, suspended, or withdrawn;
- have not had the most recent application for airman medical certification completed and denied;
- have taken a medical education course within the past 24 calendar months;
- have completed a comprehensive medical examination with a physician within the past 48 months;
- be under the care of a physician for certain medical conditions;
- have been found eligible for special issuance of a medical certificate for certain specified mental health, neurological, or cardiovascular conditions, when applicable;
- consent to a National Driver Register check;
- fly only certain small aircraft, at a limited altitude and speed, and only within the United States; and
- not fly for compensation or hire.
Though we anticipate many of you will want to take advantage of this rule, before CAP pilots are allowed to do so, several things must happen:
- CAP NHQ must now confirm with its insurance carrier that there will be no changes in coverage should we choose to implement this rule on or after the 1st of May, and also evaluate any cost changes if we do.
- We will also need to determine if the Air Force will allow CAP pilots flying AFAMs to operate under the new rule, or will still require a Class III Medical at a minimum.
- Finally, we will need to review the new rule closely and, based on the answers to the above issues, seek clarification to our existing FAA exemptions that we fly most of our missions under, and possibly request new exemptions depending on the answers provided by the FAA.
- Assuming we are allowed to operate under this new FAA rule and the CAP leadership chooses to do so, we will have to make changes to Ops Quals, WMIRS, and other systems that may rely on this data prior to implementation.
There are also limitations that come with this new rule. For example, pilots using BasicMed cannot operate an aircraft with more than six people onboard and the aircraft must not weigh more than 6,000 pounds, which would limit those that could fly our GA8s. As we review the rules closer we may see more, and will need to build those limitations into our processes and systems.
Bottom line: To be clear, until further notice, nothing has changed in terms of CAP procedures or requirements. FAA Medicals are still required for all CAP pilots, and will be for the foreseeable future. Once we have answers, we will make a recommendation to the leadership for implementation or not. Staffing this kind of change could take a long time, likely well after the 1 May FAA implementation date, so please advise your pilots to plan to get traditional medicals until advised otherwise. Thank you for your attention to this matter, and expect more to follow on this issue in the coming months ahead.