To fly a plane, pilots must hold an FAA medical certificate.
In 2016, an act was passed by the FAA known as the Extension, Safety, and Security Act. This introduced Basic Med as an alternative to the third-class medical certification required to fly.
To use Basic Med, the pilot in question must hold a valid United States driver’s license. They must also have an FAA medical certificate valid from any point after July 14, 2006.
If you have recently applied for a medical certificate, it cannot have been denied. The pilot’s last medical certificate cannot have been withdrawn, suspended, or revoked.
If the student pilot has met all of these requirements, there are just 2 more things they must do. They must have a physical examination conducted by a state licensed physician.
You will need to complete a form known as the CMEC (comprehensive medical examination checklist) from the FAA website. This form has the reference number 8700-2 and you should complete the airman portion prior to your physical examination. You must complete at least one of these medical exams every 48 months.
The other Basic Med requirement is that you take the online course which can be found here. This is free to complete, but must be done at least once every 24 months.
If you are a student pilot who has never had an FAA medical certificate, you can still apply under the Basic Med program. You must contact the FAA prior to this through a third class medical exam and application.
You must have a valid medical certificate issued before you try to complete any of the other requirements necessary.
Following the issuance of your first medical certificate, student pilots can fly under Basic Med forever, provided they stay in line with the Basic Med specifications.
What medical class is for a student pilot?
Student pilots will receive a third class medical certificate. This is also used by recreational pilots and private pilots who fly for personal business or pleasure. This medical certificate is valid for 24 months if the pilot is over 40 years of age, and 60 months for pilots under this age.
Second class certificates are issued to commercial pilots and last for a period of 12 months. First class certificates are primarily for pilots who fly scheduled airliners, but some employers may require this higher certification to employ you. This certificate lasts for 6 months if the pilot is 40+ or 12 months for pilots aged under 40.
Can a CFI use Basic Med?
A CFI is a certified flight instructor. They are allowed to train students to pilot planes, but only in aircrafts with singular engines. The caveat to this, is that if you take your checkride in a twin engine plane, then you can instruct in those and only those aircraft.
The regulations surrounding CFIs and Basic Med are complex. In simple terms, provided you are acting as a PIC (pilot in command) in an aircraft covered under Basic Med, you can use it while flying.
The regulations surrounding Basic Med aircraft are as follows. The aircraft must be authorized under federal law to carry a maximum of 6 people - i.e. 5 passengers and the CFI. The certified takeoff weight must not exceed 6,000 pounds, and the flight cannot be used for hire or compensation.
The aircraft must also operate under VFR (visual flight rules) or IFR (instrument flight rules) within the United States. The aircraft must not leave the United States when being flown under Basic Med. The aircraft cannot exceed heights of 18,000 feet and must travel at a maximum speed of 250 knots.
Is aircraft insurance required?
There are no specific requirements at a state or federal level that dictate you need to insure your aircraft. That being said, many FBOs (fixed base operators) will ask for proof that your aircraft is insured before you can use their facilities.
There are many types of aircraft insurance that cover various potential issues. You can get in-flight insurance, public liability insurance, passenger liability insurance, combined single limit insurance, aircraft hull insurance, and crew coverage.
Many insurance companies will require the pilot to have some kind of FAA medical certification. Some companies specify that this can be a Basic Med qualification but this varies between insurance brokers.
We would always recommend reaching out to your specific insurance provider for further details. They will be able to advise you further on whether Basic Med certifications fit with your insurance policy.
Generally speaking, Basic Med will be accepted by most insurance providers. The caveat to this is that if you are an older pilot (70 or over) you are likely to still need to provide your insurance broker with an FAA medical certificate. Another instance where you may need more than Basic Med is if you are flying a high performance aircraft.