Third-class medical

BasicMed: Requirements and Limitations

One crucial aspect of aviation safety is the medical fitness of pilots. For decades, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated that pilots hold a valid medical certificate to fly. However, in 2017, a new alternative emerged – BasicMed. Since its inception, nearly 80,000 pilots have been qualified to fly safely under BasicMed. BasicMed privileges are authorized by the following countries: United States, Mexico, The Bahamas, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Here is how you can join them.

Understanding BasicMed

FAA logo BasicMedBasicMed is an alternative pathway for pilots to demonstrate their medical fitness to fly aircraft. It was introduced as a result of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016. The aim was to reduce the regulatory burden on pilots while maintaining safety standards.


To qualify for BasicMed, pilots must meet certain criteria:

  1. Pilot Qualifications: Pilots must hold a valid U.S. driver’s license and have held a medical certificate issued by the FAA at any point after July 14, 2006.
  2. Medical Examination: Pilots must undergo a medical examination conducted by a state-licensed physician every 48 months. During the examination, the physician will assess the pilot’s overall health and determine their fitness to fly.
  3. Online Course: An FAA-approved online medical education course is required to be completed by pilots every 24 calendar months. This course covers various topics such as aeromedical factors, medications, and health maintenance for pilots.
  4. Documentation Submission: After completing the medical examination and online course, pilots must retain the required documentation for their records. This includes the Comprehensive Medical Examination Checklist and the Course Completion Certificate from the online course.
  5. Pilot Self-Assessment: Pilots must conduct a self-assessment of their fitness to fly before each flight. This assessment involves evaluating factors such as recent illnesses, medications, and overall physical condition.


You may conduct any operation that you would otherwise be able to conduct with a pilot certificate and a third-class medical with certain limitations.

  1. Aircraft Eligibility: Pilots operating under BasicMed can fly aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of up to 6,000 pounds.
  2. Passengers: Carrying no more than five passengers.
  3. Non-Commercial Operations: BasicMed privileges do not allow to fly for compensation or hire.
  4. Visual Flight Rules (VFR) & Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Operations: BasicMed allows pilots to fly VFR & IFR, subject to appropriate ratings and currency requirements, within the United States, at or below 18,000ft MSL, and not exceeding 250knots.

Comprehensive Medical Examination

You must have a comprehensive medical checklist that shows your most recent physical examination was within the past 48 months. The chart below overviews what is examined during your visit with your medical provider and is a brief outline of FAA form 8700.

Medical Examination Checklist

1.      Head, face, neck and scalp
2.      Nose, sinuses, mouth, and throat
3.      Ears, general: (Internal and external (canals) and eardrums (perforation)
4.      Eyes (general), ophthalmoscopic, pupils, (equality and reaction), and ocular motility (associated parallel movement, nystagmus)
5.      Lungs and chest: (Not including breast examination)
6.      Heart: (precordial activity, rhythm, sounds, and murmurs
7.      Vascular system: (pulse, amplitude, and character and arms, legs, and others)
8.      Abdomen and viscera: (including hernia)
9.      Anus: (not including digital examination)
10.  Skin
11.  G-U system: (not including pelvic examination)
12.  Upper and lower extremities: (strength and range of motion)
13.  Spine and other musculoskeletal
14.  Identifying body marks, scars, and tattoos (size and location)
15.  Lymphatics
16.  Neurologic: (tendon reflexes, equilibrium, senses, cranial nerves, coordination, etc.)
17.  Psychiatric: (appearance, behavior, mood, communication, and memory)
18.  General systemic
19.  Hearing
20.  Vision: (distant, near, and intermediate vision, field of vision, color vision, and ocular alignment)
21.  Blood pressure and pulse
22.  Anything else the physician, in his or her medical judgment, considers necessary


        All medical conditions that may affect the safety of flight must be explained on said form. When they occurred, the severity, how it was treated, and if you are currently taking any medication or having treatment for the condition or have to see a physician.

Medical History

A.      Frequent or severe headaches
B.      Dizziness or fainting spell
C.     Unconsciousness for any reason
D.     Eye or vision trouble (except for glasses)
E.      Hay fever or allergy
F.      Asthma or lung disease
G.      Heart or vascular trouble
H.     High or low blood pressure
I.        Stomach, liver, or intestinal trouble
J.        Kidney stone or blood in urine
K.      Diabetes
L.      Neurological disorders (epilepsy, seizures, stroke, paralysis, etc.)


FAA-Approved Online Medical Education Course

Once you have completed your medical examination with your physician you will need to register for the free online education course. There are two different courses available to you. Once you have completed all the modules you will need to take a short quiz, print the completion certificate, and place it with the completed physical examination checklist in your logbook.



Pilot flying with BasicMed

BasicMed has provided a welcome alternative for pilots seeking to maintain their medical certification without the traditional FAA medical examination. By adhering to the requirements outlined by BasicMed, pilots can continue to pursue their passion for flying while ensuring the safety of themselves and others. However, pilots need to stay informed about any updates or changes to BasicMed regulations to remain compliant and uphold the highest standards of aviation safety.

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