If it’s been more than three years since you’ve flown, you’re probably not familiar with BasicMed. BasicMed is the result of third-class medical reform. Almost 50,000 pilots are now flying under BasicMed.
By completing four simple steps, eligible pilots can fly under FAA's BasicMed rules. Review AOPA's BasicMed Pilot and Physician Guide (PDF 651 KB) and BasicMed FAQs (PDF 284 KB) to see if you're eligible to take advantage of BasicMed. If you held a regular or special-issuance medical anytime on or after July 15, 2006, you are likely eligible to fly under BasicMed.
See if you qualify to fly under BasicMed and check the aircraft you are able to fly under the new rule here.
If you decide to pursue the traditional medical certificate or if it’s been too long since you have held a valid medical certificate, you will need to complete a medical application online through the FAA’s MedExpress website before visiting an Aviation Medical Examiner. AOPA has a tremendous amount of resources to help you through this process including a review of your medical conditions and records before you visit the AME (for AOPA Pilot Protection Services members). AOPA members can locate an Aviation Medical Examiner by using the online AME searchable database.
In July 2008, the durations of both first and third class medical certificates were extended for pilots under age 40. Under the new regulation, third class medicals issued to pilots under age 40 became valid for a maximum of 60 months, up from 36 months. Additional changes can be reviewed online.
If you have questions concerning your medical, or the medical certification process, contact the Pilot Information Center at 800/USA-AOPA (800/872-2672) and speak to one of AOPA’s Medical Certification experts. A medical certificate may not be required if you plan to limit your privileges to that of a Sport Pilot Certificate.