3rd Class expiring, can I wait two more years to see a doctor?
Votes
Answered By AOPA
My third class medical is expiring this summer.  If I decide to switch to BasicMed I realize I need to take the online course.  However, do I need to see a doctor right away?  Or can I wait 2 more years.  Does the 48 month time start on the day of my 3rd class or the day I start BasicMed?  I am not clear on that.

Frankly I am in good health and so just getting another 3rd class just seems easier unless I can skip it for a couple more years.

 
6 Replies
Votes
AOPA Staff Answer
In order to operate under Basic Med, FAA requires you to receive a comprehensive medical examination from a State-licensed physician within the previous 48 months.  Your current third class exam does not qualify you to meet this standard.  The airman must complete the Comprehensive Medical Exam Checklist and provide it to the physician performing the exam. The physical exam is valid for 48 months from the date of the examination.  While the Health Assessment course is valid for 2 years from the end of the month in which you completed the exam. 
Votes
No, you cannot wait.  A Third Class medical does not repeat not count as a completed Basic Med Checklist.  The 48-month clock for the Basic Med Checklist starts the day the physician signs the certification.  The 24-month clock on the Basic Med Education Course starts the day you complete it.  Both the Checklist and the Course must be current to fly under Basic Med.

​I suspect that the reason a Third Class doesn't count for the Basic Med Checklist is that when an AME signs the Third Class, s/he is certifying only that you meet a prescribed list of specific medical stanards on that day.  OTOH, when a physician signs the Basic Med Checklist, s/he is certifying not only that your condition on that day is as described, but also that s/he knows of no reason you can't safely fly as a PIC for the next four years -- a rather more expansive certification.  Or it may simply be because that's the way Congress wrote the law which the FAA was required to put in the regulations verbatim.

​Either way, you cannot start flying under basic med without both the Basic Med Checklist signed by a physician and completion of the Basic Med Education Couse.
Votes
No, you cannot mix the two types of physicals.  An AME can only issue FAA Medical Certificates, and BasicMed is not an FAA certificate.  You cannot convert an FAA Medical "Certificate" to BasicMed.  Only state-licensed physicians can issue BasicMed.  Since almost all AMEs are state-licensed physicians, they can take off their "AME" hat and put on their "State-licensed physician" hat...and issue the BasicMed.  However, many AMEs do not even participate in the BasicMed program...some do, some do not.  And to confuse the issue a little more, you can hold both a current 3rd class medical certificate and a BasicMed at the same time.
Votes

Ronald Levy:
when a physician signs the Basic Med Checklist, s/he is certifying not only that your condition on that day is as described, but also that s/he knows of no reason you can't safely fly as a PIC for the next four years

I don't see that. The signoff just says "I certify that I am not aware of any medical condition that, as presently treated, could interfere with the individual's ability to safely operate an aircraft". No mention there of any specific timeframe.

Votes

Gary Drescher:

Ronald Levy:
when a physician signs the Basic Med Checklist, s/he is certifying not only that your condition on that day is as described, but also that s/he knows of no reason you can't safely fly as a PIC for the next four years

I don't see that. The signoff just says "I certify that I am not aware of any medical condition that, as presently treated, could interfere with the individual's ability to safely operate an aircraft". No mention there of any specific timeframe.

Either way, it's a signifcantly broader certifiction than an AME's on the 8500-8, and thus more fraught with potential legal peril, at least, apparently, in the minds of .many doctors and their insurers.

 
Votes
Also, to just add that you should see your doctor first. Then complete the course.
basicmedicalcourse.aopa.org


Step 1: Get the Form

Review if you're eligible for BasicMed and download the FAA Medical Exam Checklist. Complete the self-assessment portion of the form.


Step 2: See Your Doctor

Take your FAA Medical Exam Checklist (from Step 1) and get a BasicMed specific exam. Have your doctor fill out the rest of the checklist.


Step 3: Take Course

Once you have completed your FAA Medical Exam Checklist, take this course, pass the quiz, and earn your BasicMed completion certificate.


Step 4: File Documents

Print out the course completion certificate and keep it with your exam checklist in your logbook. Make sure you have a valid flight review and you are ready to fly!