The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has welcomed a ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that will allow private pilots, in certain instances, to use a driver’s license along with medical exams instead of an FAA-issued medical certificate. The ruling is part of an updated series of requirements for third-class medical certification, which the agency is called ‘BasicMed’.
Under the legislation, which was first presented to the US Senate and the House of Representatives in 2015 and given final approval at the end of last year, pilots who make non-commercial flights under visual or instrument flight rules in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 lb, with no more than six seats, would be exempt from the third-class medical certification requirement. Pilots would be limited to carrying a maximum of five passengers, flying at altitudes below 18,000ft mean sea level (MSL), and take a free online course every two years.
Also, pilots with a valid medical certificate issued at any point in the 10 years before July 15, 2016, may not need to take another FAA medical exam. Pilots who have never held a certificate will need to undertake the process once. Candidates will then need to visit a state-licensed doctor at least once every four years, and take a free online course every two.
Ed Bolen, NBAA president and CEO, said, “We commend the FAA for moving ahead in a timely fashion on the development of a final rule for third-class medical reforms. The implementation of the rule will allow the FAA to put scarce agency resources to higher-risk oversight activities, while remaining focused on the safety of flight.”