Following the FAA’s announcement of the final rule for third class medical reform, GA’s advocacy groups responded, with the president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association saying this is the best thing to happen to GA in decades.
Teams of AOPA experts are now examining the regulations, which at first look appear to closely mirror the legislation signed into law on July 15, 2016.
Pilots should note that the reforms, known as BasicMed, will not be effective until May 1, so they cannot fly under the rule until then.
“BasicMed is the best thing to happen to general aviation in decades,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. “By putting medical decisions in the hands of pilots and their doctors, instead of the FAA, these reforms will improve safety while reducing burdensome and ineffective bureaucracy that has thwarted participation in general aviation.”
In the near future, AOPA will offer a free online medical course to let pilots comply with the rules of BasicMed.
The course is just one part of a suite of resources for pilots and physicians that AOPA is launching to help people take full advantage of BasicMed, according to association officials.
The “Fit to Fly” resources include an interactive tool that helps you determine if you qualify for BasicMed, as well as FAQs and other important information for pilots and doctors.
“AOPA’s Fit to Fly resources will help ensure pilots can fly under the reforms we fought so hard to pass,” Baker said.
Because it is final, the rule will not go out for a typical public comment period. The FAA also said it would publish an advisory circular describing the implementation of the rule later this week.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, as the provisions of aeromedical reform become something that pilots can now use,” said Jack J. Pelton, Experimental Aircraft Association CEO/chairman. “EAA and AOPA worked to make this a reality through legislation in July, and since then the most common question from our members has been, ‘When will the rule come out?’ We now have the text and will work to educate members, pilots, and physicians about the specifics in the regulation.”
The law guaranteed that pilots holding a valid third-class medical certificate issued in the 10 years before the reform was enacted will be eligible to fly under the new rules. New pilots and pilots whose most recent medical expired more than 10 years prior to July 2016 will be required to get a one-time third-class exam from an FAA-designated AME.
The FAA was required to implement the law within 180 days of its signing. Since AirVenture 2016, FAA senior leadership has been assuring EAA that the 180-day deadline would be met.
Despite the release of the regulations as a final rule, EAA officials added they will be reviewing the language carefully to ensure it fully reflects the language and intent of the law.
EAA has updated its Q&A and will continue to update them to provide the latest information. EAA is also working with its aeromedical and legal advisory councils to provide resources that will help members and their personal doctors understand the provisions of the new regulations.