Two common BasicMed questions regarding CFI and Safety Pilot

We've had these two questions coming up more and more frequently as BasicMed continues to grow in popularity.  

The first question, “Can you get paid as a CFI while flying under BasicMed?” is a simple and resounding “YES!" despite what some of your friends at the local FBO have led you to believe.  The reasoning behind that being when you are performing CFI duties you are being compensated for teaching, not flying. 

The second question, “Can you operate as a Safety Pilot while flying under BasicMed?” is not so cut and dry.  The direct verbiage from the FAA Q&A is below…  

“Only if you’re acting as PIC while performing the duties of safety pilot. The statutory language prescribing   BasicMed said it only applies to people acting as PIC. BasicMed cannot be exercised by safety pilots who   are not acting as PIC but are required crewmembers.”

So, the answer is both yes, and no, depending on the circumstances.  Clear as mud.

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Acting as PIC in the “safety pilot with Basic Med” situation means being fully PIC-qualified for the flight.  Items to consider:

  • Must have a current flight review or equivalent
  • Must have 61.57 takeoff/landing currency since you have a passenger (the pilot for whom you are acting as safety pilot.
  • Must have any applicable 61.31 additional training endorsements (complex, etc.)
  • If operating IFR, must be 61.579(c) IFR-current.


In addition to those FAA issues, if want the aircraft owner's insurance protection to be in force, you must meet the that policy's requirements under the open pilot waiver clause.  This could include significant total time and time-in-type, and for some aircraft, a type-specific checkout.  And, of course, unless you're an “additional insured” under that policy (which probably requires explicit written approval from the insurer based on submission of a full pilot experience sheet), you'll need your own non-owned ("renter's") policy for your own insurance protection.

The good news is that the FAA is working on an NPRM to change the Basic Med regulation from “act as PIC” to “act as a required pilot crewmember”, which would fix this problem.  The bad news is that this NPRM is moving at the speed of government, and it will be months or more before it becomes effective.

FAA Proposes Allowing BasicMed for Safety Pilots (

AOPA supports proposed expansion of BasicMed for safety pilots - AOPA