FAA Releases BasicMed Alternative to Third Class Medical

FAA has released the final rule (PDF here) that allows many pilots operating under 14 CFR Part 91 to act as pilot in command without a third class medical. The full docket for the rulemaking is at the Federal Register, here.

Most of the practical details about these new regulations, which FAA has labeled BasicMed, are also available in a new advisory circular, AC 68-1 Alternative Medical Qualifications.

This advisory circular (AC) describes how pilots can exercise student, recreational, and private pilot privileges in certain small aircraft without holding a current medical certificate. It outlines the required medical education course, medical requirements, and aircraft and operating restrictions that pilots must meet to act as pilot in command (PIC) for most Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91 operations. This AC is intended to be used as a resource for pilots exercising the privileges described in section 2307 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. It is also intended to be a resource for state-licensed physicians who will be providing the required medical examination to those pilots.

AOPA also has many details and resources for pilots at its website, starting here.

The new rules are FAA’s response to The FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (PL 114-190) (FESSA), enacted on July 15, 2016. Section 2307 of FESSA, Medical Certification of Certain Small Aircraft Pilots, directed the FAA to “issue or revise regulations to ensure that an individual may operate as pilot in command of a covered aircraft” without having to undergo the medical certification process under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 67 if the pilot and aircraft meet certain prescribed conditions as outlined in FESSA.


The new rule:

  • Revises 14 CFR § 61.23(c)(1) and adds new § 61.23(c)(3)
  • Adds a paragraph to § 61.113 Private pilot privileges and limitations: Pilot in command

Pilots choosing to operate under these rules may:

  • Fly aircraft with up to six seats that weigh up to 6000 pounds. There are no limitations on number of engines or engine horsepower or type of landing gear.
  • Carry up to five passengers
  • Fly day or night under VFR or IFR
  • Operate up to, but not including 18,000 feet msl
  • Operate at speeds up to 250 KIAS
  • Operate only within the U.S.
  • Not operate for compensation or hire