Coming Due–Already Due–Past Due: what do I do?
Renewing your FAA Medical during the COVID-19 shut down.
Much of our everyday lives have been disrupted due to COVID-19. Schedules are different and time has little meaning. It is hard to know what day it is or even what month. Then one day you wake up and realize that your FAA medical is either due, coming due or past due; what do you do?
According to the FAA; a person may serve as a required pilot/flight crewmember of a civil aircraft only if that person holds the appropriate unexpired medical certificate issued under 14 CFR part 67. Further more, “all medical certificates expire at the end of the last day of the month of expiration”.
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic created a national emergency response leading to the suspension of all non-emergency medical services. In response, on March 26th the FAA suspended the enforcement of airman medical certificate expirations. Accordingly; the notice states, “from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020 the FAA will not take legal enforcement action against any person serving as a required pilot/flight crewmember or flight engineer who holds a medical certificate that expires within this time period”. This means that if your certificate expired during March, April, May or June you are still good to June 30, 2020. Know that this policy could be modified or superseded at any time in the future.
There are a few caveats to this “get out of jail free card”. This policy of extension applies only to holders of an FAA issued medical certificate serving as pilots and crew within the United States. The policy also includes those that are on Authorization for Special Issuance (ASI) Letters for disqualifying conditions that have been “waivered”. Unless specifically addressed in a current ASI, it does not extend to requirements regarding prohibition of flight operations for medical deficiencies or new conditions of significance that do not meet FAA standards or of a disqualifying medication; FAA 14 CFR 61.53. Also, it does not cover aviators in the HIMS program and they should maintain currency with protocol and contact their AME. If you have a history of exposure/treatment for COVID-19 you will need to make note of such treatment when you see your AME.
Around June 30th there is going to be a gaggle of pilots looking to renew their medical certificates. Now is the time to make an appointment with your AME and discuss any questions via phone and gather up any required medical information of significance since your last medical. If you have not been flying; get your head back in the game and study your manuals, check lists and procedures.
AvDoc 51’s Senior FAA Medical examiner, Dr. William Busch, has been available to help with FAA medical exams and questions during this shutdown period. He can also help you with your Special Issuance or HIMS program requirements via phone consultation at 407-846-0854. AvDoc 51 is a division of Stallion 51 Flight Operations and is based at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Central Florida.