Years of effort by EAA and AOPA culminated on Tuesday morning as the FAA announced regulations that will implement the aeromedical reform law passed last July. The regulations will be published Wednesday as a final rule, to take effect May 1, 2017. According to the FAA, no changes have been made to the language in the law.
Because it is final, the rule – named “BasicMed” by the FAA – will not go out for a typical public comment period. The FAA also said it would publish an advisory circular describing the implementation of the rule later this week.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, as the provisions of aeromedical reform become something that pilots can now use,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO/chairman. “EAA and AOPA worked to make this a reality through legislation in July, and since then the most common question from our members has been, ‘When will the rule come out?’ We now have the text and will work to educate members, pilots, and physicians about the specifics in the regulation.”
Tuesday’s announcement finalized the highly anticipated measure that was signed into law last July as part of an FAA funding bill. That was the ultimate success of a long effort by EAA and AOPA to bring significant aeromedical reform to pilots flying recreationally and eliminate the time and expense burdens on those holding third-class medical certificates.
The law guaranteed that pilots holding a valid third-class medical certificate issued in the 10 years before the reform was enacted will be eligible to fly under the new rules. New pilots and pilots whose most recent medical expired more than 10 years prior to July 2016 will be required to get a one-time third-class exam from an FAA-designated AME.
The FAA was required to implement the law within 180 days of its signing, or this Thursday (January 12). Since AirVenture 2016, FAA senior leadership has been assuring EAA that the 180-day deadline would be met. Despite the release of the regulations as a final rule, EAA will be reviewing the language carefully to ensure it fully reflects the language and intent of the law.
EAA has updated its Q&A and will continue to update them to provide the latest information. EAA is also working with its aeromedical and legal advisory councils to provide resources that will help members and their personal doctors understand the provisions of the new regulations.