When does your medical run out?

It’s a question that even AMEs have a hard time deciding: Exactly when does a medical run out?

Here’s the scenario: You’re a 43-year-old private pilot who needs to renew your Third Class medical. You received your last medical June 15, 2003, and it expires at midnight on June 30, 2005. You go see your FAA doctor on June 10, 2005. During that visit, you tell him your family physician put you on an antihypertensive medicine for high blood pressure in February 2005. You find out you were suppose to have notified the FAA when you were put on the medicine. Your FAA doctor now needs information from your family physician, such as a history, physical, blood test and an EKG — none of which you knew to bring with you. When you call your family doctor, you are told it will take at least a week to get all the information together.

So, when do you think your medical runs out?

The docs in Oklahoma City recently received clarification on this confusing issue from Dr. Jon Jordan, the Federal Air Surgeon.

Originally, it was thought that your medical runs out at the start of your new medical with your FAA doctor. However, that’s not the case. Your medical is still good until the end of the month, which is the normal expiration date. So, even though you started your new medical earlier in the month and there is going to be a delay, your old medical will carry you through to the end of the month. You can still fly!

Remember, however, that your FAA doctor can only hold your new medical for 14 days once it is started. He or she then has to send in your medical, regardless of whether it’s finished. So, it’s imperative that you get all your required information to your FAA doctor as soon as possible so your medical is sent in complete. Otherwise, the process becomes more difficult.

In addition, we want to impress upon you how important it is that you be honest when filling out your medical. If you are ever confused about any questions while filling it out, it’s best to leave it blank and discuss it with your FAA doctor first.

Dr. Guy Baldwin is a family physician and Senior Aviation Medical Examiner in Tulsa, Okla. A member of the EAA Aeromedical Council, he has more than 4,000 hours. He owns a Harvard T-6, a Cessna 210 and an Extra 300, in which he flies in airshows and aerobatic contests. He can be reached at 918-437-4993.

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