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Medical Certificate vs BasicMed.

You've probably heard of the terms Medical Certificate and BasicMed, but what exactly are they and how are they different?



Medical Certificate:


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a medical certificate as "acceptable evidence of physical fitness on a form prescribed by the Administrator". These medical certificates can be obtained from an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME), and must be kept with you at all times when you are flying. The certificate aims to protect the individuals in the pilots seat as well as the general public.


Medical certificates are divided into three categories, first, second, and third class. Each class comes with its own privileges, limitations and a set of medical requirements that must be met in order to be issued.

--> A first class medical is required for pilots who are actively working as an airline transport pilot (ATP) or any part 121 operation.


--> A second class medical is required for pilots who are commercial operators. This includes anyone who flies corporate or are part of any charter/on-demand operations.


--> A third class medical is required for private pilots, recreational pilots, and student pilots.


Each medical certificate expires after a certain period of time and will have to be re-issued. For more information on privileges, limitations and duration for each certificate, see 14 CFR §61.23.


BasicMed - “Fit to Fly”:


A few years back, the FAA implemented a new medical certification reform called BasicMed. This program provides relief for general aviation pilots who have had difficulty acquiring or renewing a third class medical certificate. This allows them to operate certain aircraft as long as they meet the following requirements:


In order for a pilot to qualify or get BasicMed they must:


--> Have a valid US drivers licence

--> Have held a medical certificate that was valid after July 15th, 2006 (could be issued before)

--> Complete an online medical education course

--> Fill out a Comprehensive Medical Exam Checklist (CMEC)

--> Consent to a National Driver Register Check


A pilot operating under a BasicMed may not:


--> Carry more than 5 passengers (6 total in the aircraft)

--> Operate an aircraft authorized to carry more than 6 people

--> Must fly an aircraft lighter than 6000 lbs, slower than 250kts, and under 18,000’MSL


If you're wondering if BasicMed is right for you or want additional information, click here!




Wondering how and where to get a medical? Check out our other blog post for more information: How to Get a Medical.




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